Party Town comes alive this weekend with two games this weekend. The Waterloo Black Hawks host the Sioux City Musketeers and the Dubuque Fighting Saints inside Young Arena.

Cold Outside, Warm Inside:
As temperatures return toward what is seasonally normal for the Cedar Valley, the Black Hawks prepare to meet two of the hottest teams in the United States Hockey League. Since the beginning of November, the Sioux City Musketeers and Dubuque Fighting Saints have combined to post an 18-2-1 record. In that time, the Musketeers set a high-water mark for the longest USHL winning streak of the 2016/17 season at 11 games. Waterloo and Sioux City each have won by a 2-1 score in head-to-head tilts this year. Meanwhile, Dubuque now owns the USHL’s longest current winning streak at five games. Waterloo edged the Saints, 3-2 and 5-4 during games at the end of October.

Fifty Goal Company:
Nick Swaney became the 19th Black Hawks player to record 50 career regular season goals since the USHL’s conversion to an all-junior league in 1979. The group includes just four other skaters who have been on the roster since the league achieved Tier 1 status in 2002 (Joe Pavelski, Brock Montpetit, Vince Hinostroza, and Taylor Cammarata). Rod Taylor is the most prolific scorer of the Hawks’ junior era with 115 goals. Swaney’s 50th goal was notched in the third period of a 4-1 win against the Tri-City Storm on Friday.

Initiating the Offense:
The Black Hawks scored the first goal during each game last weekend against the Tri-City Storm. Tri-City upended Waterloo 5-2 on Saturday. It represented the first time this season that the Hawks have lost in regulation after recording the first goal. Waterloo is now 9-1-1 in those circumstances. Last season, the Hawks were 23-4-2 when scoring first; in recording 82.8 percent of the possible points during those games, Waterloo was second only to the Anderson Cup-winning Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (84.4 percent).

With the Leaders:
First-year defenseman Michael Ferrandino assisted on a Black Hawks power play goal Saturday in Kearney, Nebraska. Ferrandino now has eight points this season (all assists). That ties him for ninth among USHL rookies. With eight assists, he is tied for fifth in that category among first-year players. Three of Ferrandino’s assists have been recorded in power play situations.

Weekly Recap:
Three goals during the second period on Friday sent the Hawks on their way to a 4-1 win against the Tri-City Storm. Nick Swaney scored twice, and Emil Ohrvall had a goal and an assist. Swaney struck again on Saturday and Waterloo got a goal from Garrett Wait, but the Storm won the rematch, 5-2. Prior to Saturday’s result, the Hawks had won six consecutive road games when facing Western Conference foes.