Waterloo Black Hawks Preview is presented by Iowa Donor Network.
The United States Hockey League has not had a North Division since 1997/98, but this weekend the league’s two northernmost teams visit Young Arena. The Green Bay Gamblers travel to Waterloo on Friday, followed by the Fargo Force the next night. Green Bay, Fargo, Waterloo, and the Muskegon Lumberjacks are tied for the USHL lead with six away wins apiece. The Hawks’ first road win of 2016/17 was recorded against Fargo on September 30th. Meanwhile, Waterloo had broad success protecting home ice prior to last Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Sioux City Musketeers, a defeat which ended a season-opening five-game streak in which the Hawks had earned at least one standings point from each home game (4-0-1).
Streak on Hold
The Black Hawks will not stray from home this weekend, which means forward Shane Bowers will have to wait for an opportunity to add to his string of consecutive road games with a goal. The veteran forward has put the puck into the net during five straight away contests, including Saturday’s 5-3 loss versus the Steel in Chicago. During nine road appearances in 2016/17, Bowers has 12 points (six goals, six assists).
Special Teams Leaders
Weekend visitors to Young Arena represent the best respective power play and penalty killing units in the league. Green Bay has scored 18 power play goals in 16 games, converting on 30% of their chances. Only one other team (the Tri-City Storm) is above 20%. Meanwhile, Fargo has surrendered just two power play goals all year, killing off 96.9% of opposing chances. The Hawks rank 14th in both categories. In two games last weekend, Waterloo finished 1/6 in power play situations and 6/7 on the penalty kill.
Blue Line Contribution
Hank Sorensen recorded a power play goal Saturday versus Chicago. It came in his fourth appearance of the season and the 10th career USHL game in which the Minnesota native has appeared. The blast from the blue line was the first power play goal recorded by a Hawks defenseman this season. In 2015/16, nine of Waterloo’s 37 power play goals (24%) came from the rearguard.
Facing the squads with the USHL’s top two team goals-against averages, the Black Hawks’ offense was slowed last weekend. Bailey Conger scored the lone Waterloo goal on 45 shots against Sioux City Friday during a 2-1defeat. It was Waterloo’s first stumble against a Western Conference foe since an opening night defeat in Des Moines versus the Buccaneers. Conger struck again Saturday, along with Hank Sorensen and Shane Bowers, but Chicago outdistanced the Hawks, 5-3.
Give someone a second chance at life by registering as an organ and tissue donor with the Iowa Donor Network. Anyone can register regardless of age, medical history, or the state you live in. Help take the waiting list in Iowa from nearly 600 down to zero. Visit www.iowadonornetwork.org. Every time the Black Hawks take the ice, there are fans who are able to enjoy the game only thanks to the gift of organ or tissue donation. Help provide a second chance…don’t wait, register today.
Collect the entire 2016/17 Black Hawks player trading card set, presented by Great Clips, by being among the first 1,000 fans in attendance Friday and Saturday. Early-arriving fans will claim half the set on Friday and half on Saturday. For tickets, call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680 or click here.