The Waterloo Black Hawks are preparing for a pair of United States Hockey League games that will take them to Fargo and Sioux Falls. The team's home opener is Saturday, October 8, 2016.

Opening on the Road
Friday and Saturday, the Waterloo Black Hawks continue a season-opening four-game road swing by visiting the Fargo Force and Sioux Falls Stampede. All four of the early season away games are against United States Hockey League Western Conference rivals, with whom Waterloo will vie for playoff position as 2016/17 continues. The Hawks will ultimately play 11 of their 16 scheduled Western Conference road games before Christmas. In 2015/16, Waterloo was 22-12-0 during in-conference games. The Hawks posted a 4-2-0 mark against Fargo and went 3-3-0 versus Sioux Falls.

Arriving at the Outset
Ethan Johnson was acquired from the Lincoln Stars last week, just prior to Waterloo’s first 2016/17 game. The University of Nebraska-Omaha recruit did not play against the Des Moines Buccaneers but could make his Black Hawks debut this weekend. Johnson skated for Thief River Falls High School last winter. Helping the squad to a third-place finish in the Class A State Tournament, Johnson was named to the All-Tournament Team. Current Hawks teammate Jackson Cates was recognized on the Class AA All-Tournament Team.

Second Period Carryover
The Hawks’ lone goal during a 3-1 loss to the Des Moines Buccaneers last Saturday came in the second period. It is a fact reminiscent of the 2015/16 season, when Waterloo was the USHL’s highest-scoring second period team, with 72 goals. The season-opening effort also extended the trend of accumulating more chances during the middle 20 minutes: last winter the Hawks outshot their opponents in aggregate during the second period, 662-541. The advantage on Saturday was 16-6.

Hlinka Habit
Four members of the 2016/17 Waterloo Black Hawks have represented their countries during the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia and Czech Republic. This August, Mikey Anderson and Shane Bowers skated for the United States and Canada respectively. In 2015, Garrett Wait played for Team USA, while Severi Isokangas was in net for Finland. Anderson is the lone medalist among the group; the United States won silver during this year’s event.

Weekly Recap
Emil Ohrvall recorded a game-tying second period goal, but two Des Moines Buccaneers tallies during the third period were insurmountable during a 3-1 decision. The Hawks outshot Des Moines in every period and by a final count of 36-19. Win or lose, all 15 season-opening games during P.K. O’Handley’s tenure in Waterloo have been settled by two goals or fewer.