Waterloo Black Hawks Weekly Preview - December 4
I'll Be Home Before Christmas
The Black Hawks play their remaining pre-Christmas home games this Friday and Saturday versus the Madison Capitols and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders respectively. Both contests begin at 7:05 p.m. The weekend will conclude a sting of six consecutive games versus opponents from the United States Hockey League's Eastern Conference. During the stretch, the Hawks are 2-2-0 so far, including a win and a loss versus the RoughRiders. Overall, Waterloo has a 7-3-2 mark when meeting Eastern teams, compared with 5-3-2 against the Western Conference. In 2018/19, 29 of 62 Black Hawks games are scheduled across conference lines, with Waterloo facing Cedar Rapids for seven of those and the Caps for three.
Just for Starters
So far this season, the Hawks have scored a total of 20 first period goals, while allowing 19. Waterloo's opponents this weekend are on divergent ends of the spectrum. In aggregate, the Capitols have been outscored 22-4 in the opening frame; the -18 differential is the lowest in the league. The RoughRiders have outscored their foes 21-11 in the opening 20 minutes, ranking second in the USHL only to the Muskegon Lumberjacks (+25). In the last meeting, Cedar Rapids staked out a 2-0 first period lead on the Hawks, before winning 6-2.
Koopman's Strength = Even Strength
Subtracting power play points, forward Matt Koopman is tied for the Black Hawks' team lead in scoring. Koopman and Matej Blumel each have 16 even strength or shorthanded points. Adding in power play numbers, Blumel has 31 to Koopman's 20. Koopman's productivity at even strength has helped him generate a team-best +9 plus/minus differential. He notched his first shorthanded goal of the season last Friday.
Notes from November
The Black Hawks were 6-4-0 during the month of November, including three wins on home ice and three on the road (Waterloo's schedule included four home and six road games). Matej Blumel was the Hawks' leading scorer in November with 16 points (four goals, 12 assists). Emil Ohrvall and Vladislav Firstov each recorded seven goals. The Hawks had 14 November power play goals on 46 attempts.
Waterloo used a three-goal first period to launch themselves to a 5-3 win Friday versus the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-17s. Matt Koopman scored twice during the matchup, and Matej Blumel contributed three points. Saturday versus the Under-18s, Waterloo fell behind 3-0 before the NTDP claimed a 3-1 win. All of the U-18 goals came in the second period. Joe Cassetti scored for the Black Hawks on the power play, after also recording a goal on Friday.
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