The Waterloo Black Hawks prepare for two games this weekend.

Fighting for Five:
The Black Hawks and three other United States Hockey League teams enter action on Friday seeking their fifth wins of the season. The Des Moines Buccaneers, Chicago Steel, and Muskegon Lumberjacks are all vying to be the first across that threshold. Through the first three weeks of the season, the circuit has been subject to remarkable parity: no team has more than four victories, but only two teams (the Bloomington Thunder and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) have fewer than two wins. With respective road games on Friday and Saturday against the Sioux City Musketeers and Sioux Falls Stampede, the Hawks will complete a string of seven consecutive tilts against Western Conference foes. Six of the first seven this season will have been on the road.

Nothing “Short” of Amazing:
With three shorthanded goals last weekend, the Hawks have now recorded four during the first five 2016/17 contests. The feat comes after notching just two “numbers down” scores during the entire 2015/16 regular season. Currently, Waterloo actually has more shorthanded goals than power play tallies (three). Friday’s opponent is the only other USHL club playing under similar circumstances at this time (one shorthanded goal, no power play goals). Special teams played a significant part during the 2015/16 series between the Hawks and Musketeers; each team scored a shorthanded goal against the other while converting an identical 27.8% of their respective power plays.

More Than a Fair Start:
Michael Ferrandino has three assists in his first five games as a Black Hawk. That puts the 16-year-old into a tie for the second-highest scoring total among rookie defensemen. Compared to all league rookies and all league defensemen overall, he stands tied for eighth and tied for tenth respectively. Last season, Mikey Anderson led Waterloo rookie defensemen with 16 points.

Taste of Home: 
Before resuming a heavy road schedule this Friday, the Black Hawks played their home opener last Saturday versus the Lincoln Stars. The 2-0 win represented Waterloo’s first home debut victory since topping the Sioux Falls Stampede, 8-4, to begin the 2012/13 home slate. The crowd of 2,359 was the largest for an initial home appearance at Young Arena since Waterloo hosted Cedar Rapids at the outset of 2011/12.

Weekly Recap:
Kevin Charyszyn scored shorthanded goals on Thursday and Saturday to help the Black Hawks to 5-2 and 2-0 wins against the Lincoln Stars. Mikey Anderson (goal, three assists) and Garrett Wait (four assists) each contributed four points to the pair of victories.