Waterloo Black Hawks Preview is presented by Iowa Donor Network.
Two in Fargo
The Black Hawks travel to North Dakota for a pair of games against the Fargo Force this Friday and Saturday. The matchups will complete the season series between the two team. Waterloo won in their only prior road game against the Force this season, 3-1 earlier this month. Since 2008/09, the Hawks have played back-to-back regular season games at Scheels Arena six times. Consecutive matchups on the 2013/14 schedule represent the only occasion when Waterloo has earned all four points possible from a two-game trip to Fargo. By turns, the Hawks have only returned empty-handed from a two-night North Dakota engagement once, in 2009/10.
After missing four consecutive games, Black Hawks forward Nick Swaney returned to the lineup Friday against the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18’s. Swaney finished the game by scoring the overtime game-winner to cap a three-point effort during Waterloo’s 4-3 decision. Now credited with 17 goals this season, the Minnesota-Duluth recruit leads the Hawks’ goal-scoring column. Only the Muskegon Lumberjacks’ Rem Pitlick and the Youngstown Phantoms’ Cameron Morrison have reached the 20-goal plateau at this stage of the season. Even with less than a goal-per-game, Swaney could attain that threshold before the end of January. Last season, Brock Boeser was the only Black Hawk to score 20 goals; he finished with 35.
Waterloo is the first USHL Western Conference team to score 100 goals this season, reaching the century mark during Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Team USA. Niko Hildenbrand bagged the Hawks’ 100th goal. He is one of 22 Hawks to have scored at least once this winter; only two Waterloo players – Nick Swaney and David Cotton – are currently in double-digits. The Hawks (+4), Tri-City Storm (+4), and Sioux City Musketeers (+3) are the only Western Conference teams with positive goal differentials relative to their opponents.
In the Rankings
One current and one former Black Hawks defensemen were slotted in the NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings released Tuesday. Veteran defenseman Sam Rossini placed 175th among eligible North American skaters. Ethan Spaxman – currently at Merrimack College after spending 2014/15 in Waterloo – was positioned 170th. Central Scouting will release a final ranking in April.
The Hawks claimed a dramatic 4-3 overtime home win against Team USA Friday, led by three-point efforts from Nick Swaney and Ronnie Hein. In Saturday’s rematch, Team USA prevailed, 5-1. After opening the weekend tied for sixth in the Western Conference, Waterloo now has sole possession of the slot.
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The Black Hawks return to Young Arena on January 29th to host the Sioux Falls Stampede during John Deere Weekend. For tickets or additional information, call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680.