When the Black Hawks took the ice in a key penalty-killing situation last season, Mikey Anderson could be anticipated to take one or more important shifts. Flipping the circumstances, 15 of his 34 points were recorded during Waterloo power plays. For that matter, Anderson played quite a bit at even-strength, too.
The United States Hockey League does not officially track ice time, but the future UMD Bulldog would almost certainly have been Waterloo’s leader in 2016/17. Anderson was also on the ice regularly at just age 16 in 2015/16.
With all of those minutes, there were many memorable moments over the last two seasons; as Anderson prepares for a day to remember at the NHL Draft this weekend, here are five impressive performances from his time in the USHL.
#5 – March 3, 2017
NTDP U18s 4, Black Hawks 3
Perhaps more than any other game during the 2016/17 regular season, this might be the game the Black Hawks and Waterloo fans want to forget. Doing so would be a disservice to Anderson. NTDP did rally from a 3-0 deficit and score a heartbreaking goal with less than ten seconds to go. However, Waterloo’s veteran defenseman proved every bit as good as his leading American peers and fellow draft prospects. Anderson scored on a high, hard shot which flew through traffic and made the score 2-0 10:32 into the second period. He finished the game +1.
#4 – January 7, 2017
Cedar Rapids 5, Black Hawks 4 (SO)
Another painful ending overshadowed an otherwise strong game by Anderson. It was a night which illustrated that Anderson’s playmaking capabilities. Less than five minutes into the game, his point shot helped to create a power play goal by Bailey Conger. In the second, defensemate Jake Ryczek scored as Anderson helped to serve up the opportunity. Then late in the third, Ryczek’s second goal looked likely to be the winner. Anderson assisted with less than two minutes to go. However, the RoughRiders rallied and won in a shootout despite Anderson’s career-best three assists.
#3 – October 30, 2015
Black Hawks 4, Tri-City 1
Good things happened for the visitors when Anderson was on the ice. Playing in just his tenth USHL game, the rookie assisted on an ice-breaking goal by Georgs Golovkovs 14:27 into the action. During the second period, Anderson’s shifts included goals by Marshall Moise and Ronnie Hein. He finished the night at +3 and went on to complete his rookie season at +6. In 2016/17, Anderson’s plus/minus ballooned to +29. That mark tied with teammates Ryczek and Swaney for second-highest in the USHL.
#2 – April 24, 2016
Black Hawks 4, Lincoln 3 (2OT)
The lasting image of Hein dashing along the end glass after scoring a series-clinching, double overtime, breakaway goal in the first round of the playoffs graced the cover of Waterloo’s 2016/17 schedule. The game might have never made it to overtime without Anderson’s strong play. When the contest was scoreless, Anderson and Ryan Lohin combined to set up Yuri Terao’s opening score. Tied again in the second, Anderson’s lunging effort to put back his own rebound in a delayed penalty situation provided another temporary go-ahead goal. During the four-game series versus Lincoln, Anderson had three points.
#1 – October 6, 2016
Black Hawks 5, Lincoln 2
Perhaps no performance better illustrates Anderson as a three-phase player. Nine minutes into the first period, his shot from inside the blue line nudged the Hawks ahead. Just before intermission, he helped Waterloo strike again, this time during a power play. First denying a clearing attempt, Anderson then triggered a cross-ice passing sequence which ended when Kevin Charyszyn punched the puck into the net. When Charyszyn struck again late in the third while the Hawks were shorthanded, Anderson helped to create that opportunity. He finished the night +3 in addition to his three points.
Anderson was listed 51st among North American prospects eligible to be drafted this summer when NHL Central Scouting issued its final ranking in April. The 2017 NHL Draft will be conducted in Chicago this Friday and Saturday.