Black Hawks Preview (Dec 13-14)
The Lancers You Know, The Team USA You Don’t
When the Black Hawks take the ice against the USHL Western Conference-leading Omaha Lancers Friday, it will be the third meeting between the teams. Waterloo won both earlier matchups at Young Arena, 4-2 on October 17th then 3-2 on November 16th. Meanwhile, although the Hawks faced Team USA in late November, the National Team Development Program will send a completely different squad to Waterloo Saturday. The Hawks will meet the Under-17 portion of the roster after a wild, 8-6 loss to the Under-18’s last month. Team USA’s U-17’s are 5-10-0 versus USHL competition.
Defensive Scoring Leaders Summit
Friday’s contest between the Black Hawks and Lancers will feature five of the current top ten highest-scoring defensemen in the USHL. Mark Friedman leads all blue-liners with 19 points, while Omaha’s Tucker Poolman is second at 17. The group also includes Hayden Shaw and Brandon Montour from Waterloo, as well as the Lancer’s Steven Johnson. Friedman, who has not missed a game since joining the Hawks at the beginning of last year, is +18 in 2013/14 after recording a +22 plus/minus in his rookie season.
No Fear Here
Some Hawks fans might be concerned about the team taking the ice against Omaha on Friday the 13th. However, the generally ominous calendar block has been good for Waterloo. The Hawks are 9-0-0 under P.K. O’Handley in games played on Friday the 13th. The last time Waterloo played under such superstitious conditions, they topped the Tri-City Storm 3-1 on April 13, 2012.
Melanson Makes Impact
Drew Melanson had a career-best three points during Waterloo’s 6-5 shootout loss in Dubuque on Saturday. He recorded the goal and two assists in a span of just six minutes and three seconds during the third period, sparking a rally after the Hawks entered the period trailing by three. Since being traded to Waterloo by the Omaha Lancers, Melanson has five goals and eight assists in 19 games. He will make his return to Ralston Arena for the first game there since the trade on Friday. In two appearances against the Lancers, the New Jersey native recorded two assists and was +3.
Three second period goals sent Waterloo past the Tri-City Storm 4-1 on Thursday. Mathias Israelsson made 24 saves, carrying a shutout into the final five minutes before Tri-City scored on a power play. Saturday, Drew Melanson and Tyler Sheehy each had three points, and the Hawks put up a fight before falling to the Dubuque Fighting Saints 6-5 in a shootout.
For complete box scores from previous Black Hawks games, visit ushl.com.