Let’s Go Black Hawks, It’s Playoff Hockey Time in Young Arena
The Waterloo Black Hawks are tied 1-1 in the USHL Western Conference semifinals with the Lincoln Stars. Two wins this weekend would put Waterloo into the conference championship round.
Two big games this weekend for the Waterloo Black Hawks. If they win both games, Waterloo will win the best-of-five series and move onto the United States Hockey League Western Conference finals. On Saturday, the game starts at 7:05 PM. Sunday's start time is set for 5:05 PM.
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Game five (if needed) is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26 in Lincoln, NE.
Playoff Hockey on Home Ice:
Games Three and Four of the best-of-five playoff series between the Black Hawks and Lincoln Stars will be played at Young Arena Saturday and Sunday. The first round set comes to Waterloo with the teams tied at one win apiece. During the first two postseason matchups, the Hawks and Stars combined to accumulate just 99 shots on goal, the lowest total in any of the United States Hockey League’s four opening round series. During the regular season, Waterloo was 17-10-3 on home ice, while Lincoln posted a 14-13-3 mark during road games. In two 2015/16 head-to-head contests at Young Arena, each team came away with one victory.
McCormick Adds Spice:
Forward Sam McCormick opened the postseason with a goal and an assist in Game One Friday. His second period power play tally was the difference in a 2-1 result. The Ohio State recruit finished the regular season with 57 points, combining his time with the Hawks and Madison Capitols prior to a late February trade to Waterloo. McCormick’s 14 regular season appearances for the Hawks included three multipoint games; he delivered 13 of them over the course of 61 nights in either the Waterloo or Madison lineup.
Power Play, Home and Away:
The Black Hawks recorded two goals on 12 power play chances Friday and Saturday in Lincoln. The conversion rate (16.7%) was better than Waterloo’s regular season road percentage (10.2%), which ranked 17th in the USHL and represented 13 conversions in 30 away games. With the change of venues, the Hawks have a higher threshold to clear in order to outpace their regular season mark. Waterloo converted 22.4% of home power plays in 2015/16, which stood at 4th-best in the league.
Prior to the 2011/12 season, the Black Hawks were a member of the league’s Eastern Conference. A westward shift has suited Waterloo. This season, the Hawks posted a 22-12-0 record during in-conference games. Waterloo’s points percentage has been above .500 and the Hawks have at least 15 wins during all five years since the move. Success has extended into the postseason as well; since the beginning of the 2012 Clark Cup Playoffs, the Hawks are 17-7 against Western Conference opponents.
Mikey Anderson and Sam McCormick goals temporarily tilted the Waterloo-Lincoln playoff series into the Hawks’ favor following a 2-1 Game One win. All three goals during the game were on the power play. In Game Two, Trevor Hamilton scored twice as the Stars triumphed, 5-0. Lincoln scored in all phases: even-strength, on the power play, and shorthanded.