Waterloo Black Hawks Preview is presented by Iowa Donor Network.
The Black Hawks embark on their longest road trip of the season – four games – Saturday evening in Green Bay. Both the Hawks and Gamblers seek to return to the postseason after being out of the playoffs for the first time in years last spring; Waterloo had played beyond the regular season every year since 2006 and Green Bay annually since 2008. In that time, the Hawks and Gamblers met for three postseason series: 2009 (first round), 2010 (first round), and 2012 (Clark Cup Championship round). It will almost be playoff time when the two teams meet again after Saturday; the only other scheduled matchup will be at Young Arena on March 26th. Last year the clubs split their two tilts, with the road team winning each time.
Nose for the Net
At the outset of his United States Hockey League career, Nick Swaney has scored goals with remarkable consistency. The Minnesota-Duluth-committed forward appeared in his 22nd USHL regular season game Saturday against the Fargo Force. When Swaney recorded the opening goal of the game 4:40 into the first period, it was already his 12th as a junior player. Swaney made his debut as a Black Hawks affiliate in March, 2014. He was held without a goal during his first three appearances, which represents the longest dry spell of his brief career.
Waterloo’s offense has been broadly parceled during the first two weekends of the season. Of the 21 players who have taken the ice, 16 have at least one goal or assist. At this point, the U.S. National Team Development Program is the only club with more variation. No Black Hawk currently has more than three points.
Defenseman Tony Stillwell might have his own cheering section on Saturday. The Green Bay native will make his first hometown appearance as a Black Hawk during the matchup with the Gamblers. Stillwell is the only Black Hawk with a point in all three games this season. He is one of just 11 league defensemen to be credited with three points thus far in 2015/16.
The Hawks dashed to a three-goal first period lead Saturday and pressed on to a 5-1 victory against the Fargo Force. Nick Swaney, Yuri Terao, and Cameron Orchard were responsible for the early offense. Marshall Moise and Ryley Risling scored in the second and third respectively. Goaltender Cale Morris made 27 saves, carrying a shutout through the first 46 minutes of action. The contest was the only game during the first four on the Hawks’ 2015/16 schedule to be played against a USHL Western Conference foe.
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The next Black Hawks home game is on Saturday, October 24th against the Omaha Lancers. For tickets, click here or call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680.