The Waterloo Black Hawks are preparing for Game 3 of the USHL Clark Cup Western Division Semifinals.  Thursday the Black Hawks will travel to Sioux Falls to take on the Stampede.  Waterloo leads the best-of-series, 2-0.

Warm Up the Bus
The Black Hawks earned the best road record in the United States Hockey League during 2013/14, claiming 46 standings points during 30 regular season away contests.  Waterloo’s first road effort during the playoffs will be Game Three against the Sioux Falls Stampede on Thursday.  The Hawks and Stampede have never met at Sioux Falls Arena during the postseason, and this trip will be the only time Waterloo will ever skate in the building for a playoff tilt; next season, the Stampede move to the new Sanford Premier Center.  From 2008 through the beginning of the 2012 postseason, Waterloo was defeated in nine consecutive playoff road games.  However, the Black Hawks have one road win during each of their last four consecutive postseason series.  A Stampede victory during Game Three of the best-of-five set would precipitate a rematch in Sioux Falls on Friday.


Points for Participation
As was the case during the regular season, the Black Hawks’ early playoff games have included offense from all directions.  Of the 19 forwards and defensemen who appeared in Game One or Game Two, 15 skaters recorded at least one point.  Waterloo’s 13 goals came from eight different players.  Blake Winiecki and Drew Melanson were the only Black Hawks to score in both Game One and Game Two.


Friedman Continues to Contribute
Defenseman Mark Friedman notched an assist during each of Waterloo’s wins against the Sioux Falls Stampede to open the Clark Cup quarterfinals.  Dating back to last season, the Toronto native now has seven points in seven career USHL playoff games.  He also averaged a point-per-game in the postseason with his prior club, the North York Rangers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, for whom he had a goal and three assists in four 2012 postseason matchups.  The Bowling Green recruit notched 75 points in 115 USHL regular season games.


It’s Not How You Start…
During eight regular season and playoff games between the Black Hawks and Sioux Falls Stampede, Waterloo has generally played well at the end.  Last weekend, the Hawks outscored their opponents 6-2 in the third period.  During a half dozen regular season meetings, the margin was 11-6 during the final 20 minutes.  In the playoff games, Waterloo limited Sioux Falls to 15 shots during the third, while putting 33 on the opposing net.


Weekly Recap
Brandon Montour led Waterloo into the postseason with a hat trick during a 7-4 home victory against the Sioux Fall Stampede Friday.  Blake Winiecki also contributed two goals during the affair, then delivered a four-point (one goal, three assists) performance during Saturday’s 6-3 decision in Game Two.  Cal Petersen was in the Hawks’ crease for both contests, turning in 25 saves per night.