Lancers, Black Hawks Prepare for Western Conference SemifinalsApril 19, 2012 - United States Hockey League (USHL) Omaha Lancers
The best-of-five series begins tomorrow night with Game 1 at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. But before the puck drops at 7:05 PM tomorrow evening, here's a look at both sides looking to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
- Omaha is making its 23rd consecutive appearance in the Clark Cup Playoffs. Meanwhile, Waterloo is appearing in the USHL postseason for the sixth straight year and 22nd time overall.
- The Lancers and Black Hawks are meeting in the postseason for the first time since the two teams collided in the 2008 Clark Cup Finals. Omaha captured its seventh Clark Cup Championship that year earning a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 5 en route to a 3-2 series win.
- Waterloo's opening round series victory over Tri-City was the club's first postseason series win in the last four years (2008, 3-0 sweep over Chicago Steel). The two victories also snapped an eight-game playoff losing skid for the Black Hawks who hadn't earned a postseason victory since a 3-1 win over Omaha in the 2008 Clark Cup Finals.
- Omaha and Waterloo met a total of four times during the 2011-2012 regular season with the Black Hawks claiming the regular season series three games to one. The first two meetings came in the opening three weeks of the season and Omaha and Waterloo faced off only once in the season's second half. The Black Hawks outscored the Lancers 13-10 in four regular season meetings.
- All three of the Lancers losses to Waterloo came by just two goals with Omaha claiming the only game with a larger margin of victory earning a 5-2 win in Waterloo on December 3rd.
- The Lancers were 0-2 against the Black Hawks at the Civic Auditorium this season and posted a 1-1 record in games played at the Young Arena in Waterloo.
- Waterloo's Taylor Cammarata led all scorers in the regular season series with six points (goal, five assists) while Waterloo's Ryan Papa and Omaha's Jimmy Murray ranked second with four points each.
- Both Omaha and Waterloo closed the regular season on three-game winning streaks. The Black Hawks won seven of their last eight games and 11 of 13 overall to close out the regular year. Meanwhile, the Lancers won eight of their last 11 games and 12 of their last 16 overall.
- The Lancers paced the Western Conference with 20 road wins during the 2011-2012 regular season. Omaha's 20-8-2 road record was the USHL's second-best road record during the regular year. Meanwhile, Waterloo led all Western Conference clubs with 21 home victories. The Black Hawks were tied for second among all USHL teams with 21 home wins this season.
- Omaha was led offensively this season by veteran forwards Jimmy Murray and Casey Bailey who finished seventh and ninth respectively among all USHL scorers. Murray finished the year with a team-best 68 points, including the second most assists (48) of any USHL skater. Meanwhile, Bailey finished the season with 60 points, including a team-high 27 goals.
- Waterloo was paced offensively during the regular season by first-year forward Taylor Cammarata who ended the year as the USHL's sixth leading scorer with 69 points (27 goals, 42 assists).
- The Lancers featured six 40-point producers during the regular season (Murray, Bailey, Greg Gozzo, Tanner Lane, Max Vallis, Nolan Zajac) while the Black Hawks had four (Cammarata, Vince Hinostroza, Tony Cameranesi, Mark Naclerio).
- Omaha was guided in goal for much of this season by Alex Lyon who finished the year as the winningest goaltender in the Western Conference (28 wins). Lyon closed the year with a 28-15-3 overall record while producing four shutouts, a 2.76 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. Meanwhile, Stephon Williams started eight of Waterloo's final 11 regular season games and produced a 10-6-2 record in 19 appearances with the Black Hawks after being acquired at the trade deadline from the Sioux Falls Stampede. Williams finished the year with an overall record of 16-15-4, two shutouts, a 2.74 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage.
- Omaha's power play finished the regular season sixth overall at 18.3% while Waterloo's power play finished seventh at 18.2%. The Black Hawks power play was 2-for-20 (10%) in four meetings with the Lancers while Omaha's man-advantage went 1-for-11 (9.1%) in the season series.
- Omaha's penalty kill finished the regular season second overall at 86.3% while Waterloo's penalty kill finished 12th overall at 80.9%.
- The winner of the best-of-five series between #2 Omaha and #3 Waterloo will face the winner of the other best-of-five Western Conference Semifinals match-up between #1 Lincoln and #4 Fargo.
Tickets for Games 1 and 2 are currently on sale and can be purchased at the CenturyLink Center Box Office Monday - Friday, 10 AM - 6 PM, at the Omaha Civic Auditorium Box Office on Friday and Saturday only beginning at 10 AM or through www.ticketmaster.com .
United States Hockey League Stories from April 19, 2012
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