Waterloo Black Hawks Weekly Preview
Checking the Leaderboard
The Waterloo Black Hawks and Dubuque Fighting Saints will enter next weekend as the United States Hockey League's two best teams. The Saints are the overall leaders and the top team in the Eastern Conference with 33 points. Waterloo and Dubuque will meet eight times in Cowbell Cup action, games which may also put one team or the other in charge of the race for the Anderson Cup. Then Saturday, the Hawks host the Chicago Steel. Currently fourth in the Eastern Conference, Chicago is looking for its first playoff appearance since 2008.
Last Saturday, Taylor Cammarata tied Bobby Hayes for 22nd in Waterloo junior-era career scoring when the second-year forward notched his 100th point. He becomes the first Hawk since Brock Montpetit and J.T. Brown in the 2009/10 season to reach that threshold. Cammarata is ranked even higher on Waterloo's all-time assist list, currently 15th with 62. His next assist will equal him with Joe Pavelski. Tom Bissett is the franchise leader in assists with 95. His teammate Rod Taylor is the Hawks' all-time point leader at 189.
Favorable First Period
The Black Hawks carried a 3-0 lead to the first intermission Saturday in Cedar Rapids. A three-goal advantage equals the largest margin Waterloo has enjoyed through 20 minutes this season; the Hawks were also ahead 3-0 through the same span versus Team USA on October 21st. It's the third time Waterloo has notched three goals in the first period, the lowest-scoring frame for the Hawks so far this season. Although they've had more goals in the second and third, Waterloo players have still edged opponents by an aggregate 24-15 score in the first.
The line of Justin Kloos, Zach Stepan, and Taylor Cammarata have the USHL's longest current scoring streaks. Stepan has a point in nine consecutive appearances, while Kloos and Cammarata have been on the scoresheet in seven straight. Stepan also owns the longest assist streak of any player throughout the season at eight games. Cammarata and Kloos are right behind him at seven consecutive.
Waterloo opened on the road last week with a 6-5 loss to the Des Moines Buccaneers Wednesday. Both teams had the lead at different points before the Bucs broke a late 5-5 tie with Willem Nong-Lambert's winning goal. The next evening, the Hawks were on the upside of a one-goal differential, edging the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 4-3. Zach Stepan led the way with a hat trick. Then in a rematch at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena Saturday, Waterloo enjoyed a fast start and overcame a RoughRiders rally in the second period for a 7-3 decision. Six players had multiple points, and Cal Petersen made 31 saves in net.
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