Waterloo Black Hawks Preview is presented by Iowa Donor Network.
The Black Hawks play their final games versus USHL Western Conference opponents this week, wrapping up series against three different clubs. In Des Moines Tuesday, Waterloo tries to clinch a four-game set against the Buccaneers. To do so, they will have to claim the first road point for either side head-to-head. In Lincoln against the Stars Friday, the Hawks try for a split. Lincoln has won two of the first three contests, but all three games have been decided by one-goal margins. The weekend concludes on home ice Saturday versus the Sioux City Musketeers, one of the Hawks’ most prolific recent opponents. The game between the league’s two oldest rivals will be the fourth since Valentine’s Day.
Blue Line Lift
Jake Ryczek has provided a big offensive boost to the Black Hawks’ defensive corps. Last week, he contributed five assists in three games. The Providence College recruit is now up to 16 points since joining the Waterloo roster. To put that in perspective, the total ranks 10th on the team despite Ryczek appearing in just 13 Hawks games. With two assists last Tuesday versus the Chicago Steel and three Friday against the Sioux City Musketeers, Ryczek has five multipoint games in a Waterloo sweater.
Trying for Thirty
With wins in just two of five remaining 2015/16 contests, the Black Hawks would reach the 30-win threshold. During the team’s junior era, Waterloo has equaled or surpassed that mark ten times. P.K. O’Handley has been the head coach in nine of those seasons. O’Handley also has ten 30-win campaigns to his credit, having reached the milestone once during his tenure with the North Iowa Huskies.
Terao vs. Hirano
Entering the final two weeks of the season, Waterloo’s Yuri Terao and Yushiroh Hirano of the Youngstown Phantoms are dueling for bragging rights as the most successful Japanese player in modern USHL history. Hirano currently has 39 points, while Terao has 35. However, on a points-per-game basis, Terao has an edge, having appeared in just 40 games compared to Hirano’s 50.
The Hawks successfully used a game-in-hand while the rest of the league was idle last Tuesday, shutting out the Chicago Steel, 5-0, behind 26 saves by Cale Morris. Ronnie Hein scored twice during that game, then added two additional goals Friday in a 6-3 victory against the Sioux City Musketeers. Then Saturday, a back-and-forth game between Waterloo and Green Bay went to the Gamblers, despite goals from Yuri Terao and Kevin Charyszyn. The Hawks currently hold third place by one point ahead of the Fargo Force.
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The USHL’s oldest rivaly, between the Black Hawks and the Sioux City Musketeers, continues Saturday, presented by Fox Ridge Golf Course. Pick up a Subway Family Four Pack, with four tickets, four Subway 6″ combo coupons, four chuck-a-pucks, and two One-Timer game programs for just $49.