Waterloo Black Hawks Weekly Preview
The Tri-City Storm bring a USHL-high 48 standings points to Young Arena when they visit the Black Hawks Friday and Saturday night (both games begin at 7:05 p.m.). The five top teams in the Western Conference are currently separated by four points; the Hawks are tied for third with the Sioux Falls Stampede and Fargo Force. Waterloo and Tri-City met twice in early November, and each team earned a 1-0 win. The Hawks' Jackson Cates and the Storm's Tyler Ward were the only players to record goals.
Jack Drury and Jackson Cates currently lead the Black Hawks with 34 points each. That count also ties them for fifth in the USHL. If either player is still among the league's leading ten point producers at the end of the season, this will be the seventh consecutive year Waterloo has finished with a top-ten scorer. Last winter, Alex Limoges*, Nick Swaney, and Shane Bowers were each in the top ten. (*Limoges, like both Ryan Lohin and Sam McCormick in 2015/16, completed the season with the Hawks after starting the year with another team. In each of those cases, their respective scoring totals include stats from games played with other clubs).
Four of the USHL's current top ten goaltenders (as measured by goals-against average) will be at the same rink this weekend. Filip Larsson (1.38, 1st) and Jake Barczewski (2.25, 6th) mind the net for Tri-City, while Jared Moe (2.11, 4th) and Matej Tomek (2.47, 10th) patrol the crease for Waterloo. Larsson and Moe each played in both games when the Hawks visited Kearney, Nebraska in November. Besides GAA, Larsson also paces USHL goalies in shutouts (six), wins (tied, 16) and save percentage (94.9%).
During nine January games, the Black Hawks outscored their opponents by an aggregate total of 34-25. Waterloo's 3.78 goals per game for the month compares favorably with an average of 2.62 during the first 26 games from October through December. Jackson Cates led the team with six goals during January, while Jack Drury had 13 points (five goals, eight assists). Thirteen different Hawks scored a goal in that span. Garrett Klee had the team's best plus/minus margin at +5.
The Hawks equaled their highest-scoring performance of the season during a 7-3 Saturday win against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Jackson Cates completed a hat trick amidst a five-point night; Ben Finkelstein tallied a goal and five assists. Sunday Joey Cassetti and Garrett Wait scored for Waterloo, but the Sioux Falls Stampede rallied for a 3-2 overtime win.
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