Black Hawks Preview (Dec 27-31)
Details about Petersen now second on Wins List, Hawks staying out of the box, O’Handley third overall, & more in this week’s Black Hawks Preview.
During the next week, the Black Hawks will welcome two opponents to Young Arena whom they have only met on the road so far in 2013/14. Waterloo defeated the Chicago Steel 3-2 during a trip to the Windy City on September 21st. The Hawks upended the Lincoln Stars 5-1 and 3-0 in Lincoln on October 11th and November 23rd respectively. Between Friday’s tilt with the Steel and Tuesday’s duel with the Stars, Waterloo will make the short trip to Cedar Rapids to face the RoughRiders on Saturday.
Petersen Now Second
During the 35 seasons in which the Hawks have played at the junior level, only one goaltender has earned more victories than Cal Petersen. Taking the ice in relief during the December 14th contest against Team USA, Petersen made 21 saves in just over 35 minutes for his 13th win of the 2013/14 campaign and his 37th during USHL regular season play. The effort pushed Petersen past C.J. Motte, who won 36 games from 2009 through 2011. Matt DiGirolamo was the victor in 47 contests from 2006 to 2008. Petersen is currently tied with Omaha’s Cole Bruns for second in league wins this year. Sioux City’s Kyle Hayton leads the USHL with 15.
Penalty Minute Minimum
Waterloo will return from the break as the USHL’s least penalized team, having accumulated just 14.2 minutes per contest in the first 24 games of the campaign. At 30 penalty minutes, Patrick Russell has the most on the squad, but is tied for 79th on the circuit. Every other club in the league has a player with a higher total, and except for the Indiana Ice, all of the USHL’s clubs have multiple skaters with more than 30 PIMs. Waterloo has been within the league’s bottom four clubs in penalty minutes during each of the last two seasons.
O’Handley Closing on Siciliano
P.K. O’Handley has earned 521 regular season victories during his 19 years in the USHL. He currently ranks third in league history, just one favorable decision behind Dave Siciliano. The former Thunder Bay Flyers and Sioux City Musketeers head coach currently serves the league as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations after leaving the bench in 2008.
The Black Hawks hope to come out of the holiday break as well as they went into it. Over their final eight games before Christmas, Waterloo earned 15 of 16 possible standings points. The effort included a 5-3 road win against the Omaha Lancers and a 6-4 decision versus Team USA in the final weekend before the holiday. Tyler Sheehy was the most prolific goal scorer in those final contests, hitting the net twice in each. His linemates, Zach Sanford and Drew Melanson, tallied five and four assists respectively.