The Waterloo Black Hawks kick off their best-of-five playoff series this weekend against the Lincoln Stars Friday night.

A Playoff Meeting:
The Waterloo Black Hawks and Lincoln Stars collide for their second-ever best-of-five series during the USHL Clark Cup Playoffs. The clubs previously squared off during the Western Conference Finals in 2012, with Waterloo advancing, three-games-to-one. The Stars had home ice in that set, as they will in this one, which begins with Games One and Two at the Ice Box on Friday and Saturday. Lincoln enters the postseason as the second seed in the Western Conference, but no conference team had more wins during the regular season. The Stars won 33 games, five more than the conference champion Tri-City Storm, who were boosted to the top spot by points from overtime and shootout losses.

Postseason Trio:
Three Black Hawks have previously appeared in the Clark Cup Playoffs. Liam Pecararo is the only one who has skated during the postseason in a Waterloo sweater. The forward has 13 career USHL playoff games to his credit, including all 12 during the Hawks’ run to the 2014 Finals. Pecararo has four goals and 10 assists, leaving him two points shy of being among Waterloo’s top-ten career postseason scorers. Defensemen Michael Davies and Jake Ryczek dressed last spring for the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Sioux City Musketeers respectively. Davies appeared in four games and was +2, while Ryczek skated in five contests.

No More Shootouts:
Postseason hockey includes no shootouts. Overtime games are played with 20-minute extra periods, until a sudden-death goal is scored. The Hawks finished the regular season 2-3 in games settled by shootouts, converting three of 23 chances. Waterloo goalies denied 20 of 24 opposing tries. The Lincoln Stars participated in just three shootouts, going 2-1 and scoring on four of 15 shootout attempts.

Big Additions:
The Black Hawks’ and Stars’ rosters include players who finished among the USHL’s top-ten scorers but started the season with other teams. Lincoln’s Tanner Laczynski had 63 points, ranking 4th in the league, with 40 of them recorded while he was a member of the Chicago Steel. Waterloo’s Sam McCormick and Ryan Lohin added a boost to the Black Hawks roster after both having strong starts with the Madison Capitols. With 57 points apiece, Lohin and McCormick tied for eighth in the league race.

Weekly Recap:
The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and Dubuque Fighting Saints topped Waterloo during the final weekend of the regular season, 3-2 and 6-2 respectively. Liam Pecararo and Mikey Anderson each had a point in both games as the Hawks went a combined two-for-six on the power play.