Black Hawks Preview (Dec 31)
The Waterloo Black Hawks prepare for three games this week. Two games will be inside Young Arena including the traditional New Year’s Eve game.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (and First and Fourth)
The Black Hawks will get together with the Lincoln Stars for the third time this year on Tuesday. This season, Waterloo and Lincoln have met for two previous games – both at the Ice Box – which the Hawks claimed 5-1 on October 11th and 3-0 on November 23rd. Friday, Waterloo faces one of the four teams they have not yet met this season, hosting a rematch of last April’s playoff series against the Fargo Force. The Black Hawks have not collided with any opponent four times this year, but that will change on Saturday with a road game against the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Waterloo has a mark of 1-1-1 versus Dubuque this year.
A Memorable Year
When 2013 ends at midnight on Tuesday, it will close a remarkable calendar year for the Black Hawks. Since January 1st, Waterloo is 40-16-5 in regular season play. That includes the club’s best start while being led by P.K. O’Handley, as well as O’Handley’s 500th coaching victory during the closing weeks of the 2012/13 campaign. The Hawks also had a record NHL Draft over the summer, as Ian McCoshen, Zach Sanford, Eamon McAdam, Taylor Cammarata, Stephon Williams, and Cal Petersen were all selected. Two former Waterloo defensemen – Chad Billins and Patrick Wey – also made their NHL debuts in 2013.
Defenseman Derek Pratt became the 24th different player to record a point for the Black Hawks this season when he notched two assists on Saturday night. The first-year blue-liner helped create Patrick Russell’s second goal, which tied the game, and then set up John Wiitala’s score which proved to be the game-winner. The stay-at-home defenseman was on the ice for four of Waterloo’s goals during the 6-2 win versus the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, finishing the game +3.
100 on the Board
When Peter Krieger scored midway through the third period on Saturday in Cedar Rapids, it was the 100th goal recorded by the Black Hawks this season. Eighteen different players contributed to that mark for Waterloo, and no individual had more than Patrick Russell’s 15. Although the Black Hawks’ roster includes three of the USHL’s eight-highest scoring defensemen, 80 of Waterloo’s first 100 goals were recorded by forwards.
Drew Melanson notched a goal and an assist Friday when the Black Hawks returned from Christmas break for a 2-1 home victory versus the Chicago Steel. The decision gave Waterloo a sweep in the two-game season set versus the Steel. The Hawks followed up that effort with a 6-2 road win against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Peter Krieger and Patrick Russell each scored twice. It was Waterloo’s 20th “W” of 2013/14.
For complete box scores from previous Black Hawks games, visit ushl.com.