Black Hawks Road Trip Continues
The Waterloo Black Hawks continue their monster road trip this weekend. This go-round, it's a double-header weekend (January 16-17) in Sioux Falls against the Stampede.
Sioux Falls, Sioux Good:
The Waterloo Black Hawks complete their longest road trip of the season on Friday and Saturday evening against the Sioux Falls Stampede. The Hawks are 1-1-0 versus the Stampede in 2014/15; the road team has won each of the two prior meetings. Sioux Falls has been one of the league’s hottest clubs recently. A five-game winning streak for “the Herd” ended on Saturday with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Omaha Lancers. Still, the Stampede are 9-2-1 since the beginning of December, including eight wins by goaltender Stefanos Lekkas, who has stopped 91.8% of the shots he has faced in that time.
Forward Tom Novak is on his best roll during his time with the Black Hawks. The University of Minnesota recruit has scored a goal in three consecutive games, while recording a point in five straight. Since Christmas, Novak has accumulated three goals and nine assists in seven games. His 27 total points rank third on the club and just outside the top 25 across the United States Hockey League.
Power Play Total:
Last weekend, the Black Hawks scored on three of nine power play opportunities. Waterloo still ranks second behind the Tri-City Storm in power play conversion percentage, 25.7% to 26.9%. However, the weekend effort boosted the Hawks into a tie with the Youngstown Phantoms for the most power play scoring, 37 total goals. Waterloo has led the USHL in total power play goals each of the past two seasons.
Back Where it Began:
Defenseman Hayden Shaw scored his first goal of 2014/15 on Friday against the Storm. Notching an assist on Saturday, Shaw has maintained his point-per-game pace, with a goal and 15 assists during 16 appearances. Despite skating in only half of Waterloo’s games, Shaw ranks third among league defensemen in assists and 11th in points. Shaw’s very first USHL goal was also scored at Viaero Event Center in the second game of his rookie season on October 12, 2013.
The Black Hawks scored early goals against the Tri-City Storm Friday and Saturday, but could not extend the lead past 1-0 in either contest. Tri-City finished the first affair on top in a 5-3 decision, then claimed the rematch, 3-2. Waterloo forwards Tom Novak and Henrik Rommel each recorded three points over the weekend. Friday’s game also marked the return of defenseman Sam Rossini, who had not appeared in a game since November 15th. The Hawks dressed only five defensemen for four consecutive games until Saturday, when Ethan Spaxman completed a one-game suspension.