Lincoln Stars coach Cody Chupp knew Waterloo was going to be ready for Sunday's game. The Stars, who have played six games in eight days, were not.
Waterloo scored a goal in each of the three periods as Black Hawks goaltender Jared Moe made 20 saves to shut out the Stars 3-0 in Waterloo, Iowa.
Garrett Klee, brother of Stars defenseman Mason Klee, opened the scoring for the Black Hawks in the first period after poking the puck past Lincoln's defense and into the offensive zone. He then beat Derek Schaedig on the backhand.
"We looked like a tired group," Chupp said. "This last week has caught up with us a little bit. I thought that not even as much in our legs as in our decision making and our passing. Those are the things that kind of go first. We were a step or a second off in everything we did.
"A lot of that is a product of the travel and the games we've played last week. We aren't going to make excuses. We needed to be better and we needed to be locked in."
A bright spot for the Stars was the penalty kill, keeping Waterloo's power-play units off the board. They shut down eight attempts.
After Lincoln's penalty kill unit struggled against Sioux Falls in the first round, the Stars have responded by shutting down all 11 of Waterloo's power-play attempts through the first two games in the series.
Following the loss, Lincoln is now guaranteed to play two games at home. The team will surely be excited to be back at the Ice Box — Lincoln has played five consecutive games on the road in the Clark Cup Playoffs.
Of the six games played in eight days dating back to the end of the regular season, Lincoln has won four of them.
"If you looked at it from a regular-season standpoint, to play six games in eight days is, first of all, crazy. The opponents that we have faced, we'd take it. We'd be very happy with the results of this stretch, but it's playoff time and you have to find a way to get up for it."
Lincoln will have two days to rest before returning home for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Thursday in the best-of-five series. Both games are slated for 7 p.m. at the Ice Box.
"The rest is going to be huge for us, getting back in front of home crowd and we can use the crowd to our advantage. I expect the Ice Box to rocking Wednesday night and we will be ready for it."