The Black Hawks have one matchup this weekend, visiting the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders on Saturday. This will be the first time Waterloo has a week with just one contest since a standalone opening night game against the Des Moines Buccaneers on September 24th.

The RoughRiders won the most recent affair against the Hawks, claiming a 3-0 tilt at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena on November 26th. The other meeting between the teams in 2016/17 was also a shutout; Waterloo prevailed 1-0 on home ice during the K-98.5 Teddy Bear Toss Night on Thanksgiving night. The Hawks enter the game leading the three-team Dupaco Cowbell Cup standings: Waterloo – 6, Dubuque – 5, Cedar Rapids – 2.

New on the Blue Line
Defenseman Grant Gabriele joined the Black Hawks last week. The Brighton, Michigan, native was a two-year member of the U.S. National Team Development Program, appearing in 76 games covering all competition during 2013/14 and 2014/15 for NTDP. His United States Hockey League experience includes time with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, Chicago Steel, and Omaha Lancers, as well as NTDP. All totaled, he has now played in 112 league games with 13 goals and 26 assists. Gabriele notched a goal during his home debut at Young Arena Saturday against the Madison Capitols.

December Digits:
December concluded with a 6-2 New Year’s Eve victory against the Madison Capitols. Waterloo has now won six consecutive December 31st matchups. The win lifted the Hawks to .500 for the month (5-5-0). Three of Waterloo’s victories were achieved in overtime, including a 3-2 result last Thursday versus the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Nick Swaney led a balanced offensive attack, which included goals from 15 different Waterloo skaters during the month. Although Swaney appeared in only five games, he recorded ten points (five goals, five assists). In net, Robbie Beydoun notched all five wins, stopping 90.8% of the shots he faced.

Penalty Shots
The Black Hawks were awarded their first penalty shot of the season on Saturday. Nick Swaney made the most of the opportunity just past the midpoint of the second period. His goal on the penalty shot made the score 3-1 as Waterloo went on to claim a 6-2 result. The Hawks had not had a penalty shot since Sam McCormick’s chance against the Sioux Falls Stampede on March 12th. The last prior successful conversion had been achieved by Liam Pecararo against the Tri-City Storm on January 9, 2016.

Weekly Recap
The Hawks won two games during a three day stretch, defeating the Muskegon Lumberjacks and Madison Capitols. Wedged in between, the Bloomington Thunder toppled Waterloo 8-2 on Friday.

Contributed By: Tim Harwood (Waterloo Black Hawks Media Relations)