Defenseman Recognized as Hawks Gain Ground
The Waterloo Black Hawks bounced from fifth to third place in the United States Hockey League Western Conference over the weekend, and recent acquisition Jake Ryczek was one of the players who made it happen.
Monday, the USHL honored the blue-liner as its CCM Defenseman of the Week.
Playing three games in three days, the Hawks earned five of six possible standings points. Ryczek keyed a Friday win against his former team, the Sioux City Musketeers, with two goals and an assist. Waterloo prevailed 6-1. The Hawks brought Ryczek to Waterloo in a trade with Sioux City less than two weeks ago.
Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Ryczek assisted on both Hawks scores during a 3-2 overtime loss to the RoughRiders, which still yielded a valuable standings point. Waterloo capped the weekend by defeating the Des Moines Buccaneers, 5-2 on Sunday. Ryczek ended the three-game span with a total of five points and a +2 plus/minus differential.
Committed to Providence College, Ryczek has seven points (two goals, five assists) in just five appearances since being traded to Waterloo. He had recorded 14 points in 29 games as a Musketeer this winter. Ryczek’s brief tenure with the Black Hawks has provided the opportunity to surge past the scoring total he achieved last season as a USHL rookie; in 2014/15, the now-soon-to-be-18-year-old had 18 points in 55 appearances. In January of this year, NHL Central Scouting listed Ryczek 116th among draft-eligible North American prospects for the 2016 NHL Draft.
Ryczek joins Nick Swaney, Ben Newhouse, and Cale Morris among Hawks players who have won a weekly league award this season. Swaney was the most recent previous honoree, claiming co-Forward of the Week laurels on February 1st.