Claims League Award on Back-to-Back Mondays
Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Jake Ryczek has been named the CCM Defenseman of the Week for the second time in as many weeks, the United States Hockey League announced Monday.
Following a strong month of January, February opened in equally impressive fashion. Facing the Tri-City Storm on both Friday and Saturday, Ryczek helped the Black Hawks to 7-4 and 5-1 victories, taking a hand in five of Waterloo’s 12 goals. In the opener, the teams battled back-and-forth for the better part of two periods, and Ryczek contributed to the first three Waterloo tallies of the night. During the opening period, he set up a tying score, then put Waterloo ahead for the first time with a goal of his own eight minutes later. The Chicago Blackhawks draft pick added two more assists as the home team pulled away in the second period. During Saturday’s rematch, the 18-year-old contributed one more assist.
When Ryczek had been named the CCM Defenseman of the Week seven days prior, the recognition came after another five-point weekend (five assists in three games).
A ten point surge over a five-game span has lifted the Ludlow, Massachusetts, native to 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) for the season. His point total ranks fourth among Black Hawks players and ties for fourth on a scale with defensemen league wide. Ryczek’s six goals tie for the lead among USHL blue liners. Meanwhile, his +24 plus/minus differential is the best among all league skaters at any position. Ryczek has completed 12 of his last 14 appearances with either an even or positive mark.
Chicago selected Ryczek during the seventh round of the 2016 NHL Draft. He is committed to Providence College. Ryczek joins Nick Swaney and Robbie Beydoun as Black Hawks who have won multiple USHL Player of the Week titles in 2016/17. In total, Waterloo has claimed eight such awards.
Ryczek and the Hawks take to the road on Friday to visit the Lincoln Stars. Back home Saturday, Waterloo hosts the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in Dupaco Cowbell Cup action. Tickets for the season’s last home meeting with Cedar Rapids – and all other Black Hawks home games – are available by calling the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680 or online at waterlooblackhawks.com.