Waterloo Black Hawks Preview is presented by Iowa Donor Network.
Same Rink, Different Place
The Youngstown Phantoms last visited Young Arena in late March of 2015. The Phantoms were in contention for the Anderson Cup (which they went on to win), while the Black Hawks were scrambling in an attempt to reach the playoffs (which they ultimately missed). The two-game set played with four weeks remaining on the schedule went a long way toward settling both issues; Youngstown prevailed 2-1 and 4-0. Early this season, both teams are near the top of their respective conferences. While Waterloo enters the weekend with first place in the Western Conference after back-to-back wins against the Dubuque Fighting Saints, Youngstown is currently third in the East, coming off victories against the National Team Development Program Under-18s and the previously unbeaten Chicago Steel.
Four of the United States Hockey League’s current top 12 scorers could contribute offense this weekend. With eight goals (tied for first) and 14 points (tied for second) in just 11 games, the Phantom’s Alex Esposito has been on a roll early in 2016/17. Meanwhile, multiple-point nights by Nick Swaney and Shane Bowers Saturday boosted both to a dozen this season, tied for first among Black Hawks players and sixth in the league. Youngstown forward Brett Murray also has 12 points.
Ending October in Style
The Black Hawks exit the first full months of the schedule with their best start to a season since 2012. Waterloo has won eight games so far in the current campaign. At the outset of 2012/13 – led by veterans like Ian McCoshen, Taylor Cammarata, Cal Petersen, and Eamon McAdam – the Hawks began the year 9-1-0. By coincidence, Waterloo played Youngstown twice in October of 2012, suffering their lone loss, 9-6, but also picking up their biggest win, 8-3, in those two games.
Ace Cowans found a timely moment for a scoring outburst. After recording one point during his first eight USHL games, the 20-year-old delivered a goal and an assist in the second period Saturday versus the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Cowans also converted the clinching shootout attempt during the 5-4 decision.
The Black Hawks and Fighting Saints played a pair of close games during their home-and-home series. Garrett Klee had a goal and an assist on Friday as part of a 3-2 Hawks’ effort. Saturday, Klee scored again, while Nick Swaney, Shane Bowers, and Ace Cowans each had multiple points, with the Hawks manufacturing a 5-4 shootout decision. Severi Isokangas was credited with the win each night, turning in 37 total saves.
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The Black Hawks’ host the Youngstown Phantoms Friday and Saturday during a College Weekend; seats are just $7 with a college ID when purchased in advance of $8 on game day. Tickets are available by calling the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680 or online by clicking here.