Waterloo Black Hawks Preview is presented by Party Town’s Coors Light Cold Zone.
The final two Waterloo Black Hawks games during February will both be at Young Arena this weekend. The Hawks face the sixth place teams from both the Eastern and Western Conferences. Friday’s opponent, the Bloomington Thunder, topped Waterloo 8-2 in the only head-to-head meeting of the season, played on December 30th in Bloomington. The Hawks have twice outdistanced the Omaha Lancers, 2-1 on the road in overtime on January 13th and 6-2 at home on January 27th. The games will conclude the season series with each opponent. Waterloo is 6-0-1 so far during February.
Climbing Power Play
Early this season, the Black Hawks’ power play struggled on home ice. Prior to Christmas, Waterloo scored twice at Young Arena during 40 power play opportunities (5.0%). Since then, the Hawks have scored a dozen power play goals at home in 42 tries (28.6%). The rate during February has been even higher (6-for-17, 35.3%). Those strengthening special teams numbers in front of the home crowd have lifted Waterloo to fourth overall on the power play in the USHL at 17.9%. Waterloo’s power play effectiveness could have a substantial impact on games this weekend; when the Thunder and Lancers are on the road, they have each allowed opponents to score on more than 20% of power play chances in 2016/17.
Three Black Hawks are among the top six players in the USHL for plus/minus differential. Jake Ryczek leads the league at +27. Nick Swaney (+21) and Mikey Anderson (+20) also each come in near the top. Deeper down the list, Kevin Charyszyn and Alex Limoges currently stand at +12. That puts five Hawks in the top 29, league-wide. Plus/minus is calculated with a “plus” for skaters on the ice when their team records an even strength or shorthanded goal and an equivalent “minus” for their opponents. Power play goals do not factor into the statistic.
A Shutout to Savor
Peter Thome made 22 saves during Waterloo’s 6-0 shutout of the Lincoln Stars on Sunday. It is the netminder’s first shutout in USHL competition and the Hawks’ first clean sheet since Thanksgiving. As a team, Waterloo’s five shutouts in 2016/17 tie with the Des Moines Buccaneers for fifth-most in the league.
Kevin Charyszyn scored a goal in each period on Friday to move the Black Hawks past the Sioux Falls Stampede, 5-2 on Friday. Charyszyn added two more goals and Nick Swaney also contributed two scores Sunday during a 6-0 follow up versus the Lincoln Stars. Alex Limoges had a four-point effort in the capper.
Enjoy Black Hawks hockey from the Coors Light Cold Zone. The next Black Hawks home games are Friday and Saturday against the Bloomington Thunder and Omaha Lancers, both at 7:05 p.m. To order tickets, call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680 or click here.