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The Road Ahead: January 11, 2022

By WBH, 01/11/22, 4:45PM CST

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Presented by Minnesota Coaches

West to Des Moines, East to Dubuque

For the second time in three weeks, the Black Hawks will face strictly Iowa opponents.  During the week of December 27th, Waterloo met Sioux City, Dubuque, and Des Moines; this week, the Hawks collide with the Des Moines Buccaneers (9-15-3) Friday and the Dubuque Fighting Saints (17-8-4) Saturday.  Waterloo will travel for both games.  The opening faceoffs are slated for 7 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. respectively.  Des Moines and Dubuque each seek their first wins of calendar 2022 after absorbing home losses last weekend.  Coincidentally, the Hawks will square off with Dubuque and Des Moines again during one weekend next month when the Saints and Bucs come to Young Arena on February 25th and 26th.

Mathematical Midpoint

This Saturday’s contest in Dubuque will be the Hawks’ 31st game out of 62 on the calendar.  Excluding 2020/21 - when the USHL slate was reduced to 54 games because of the coronavirus - league teams have been scheduled for either 60 or 62 games each season since 2013/14.  In that span, Waterloo’s highest midseason win total was 24 (in 2013/14 and 2019/20), while the lowest was nine in 2014/15.

Always on the Ice

As Waterloo prepares to officially conclude the first half of this year’s schedule, six players have appeared in every game to date.  The group includes a pair of veterans and a quartet of rookies.  Defenseman Cooper Wylie missed just one game last season, but John Waldron spent stints on the Hawks’ injured list during each of his first two years.  Meanwhile, the 29 appearances so far by Gavin O’Connell, Owen Baker, James Hong, and Adam Cardona tie them for seventh among rookies leaguewide.

Back in the Lineup

Forwards Jacob Jeannette, Cam VanSickle, and Conner Schneider all returned to the Waterloo lineup last Friday against the Sioux Falls Stampede.  Jeannette had not played since October 30th, spending much of that time on the Hawks’ injured reserve list.  VanSickle and Schneider were each scratched during the three games after Christmas due to illness. 

Recent Games

The Black Hawks were on both ends of a 4-1 result last weekend.  During Friday’s game, John Waldron recorded a goal and two assists as Waterloo defeated the Sioux Falls Stampede on the road.  Jack Williams made 19 saves for his second victory in three tries against Sioux Falls.  Then at home Saturday, Patrick Geary scored first, but the Tri-City Storm notched four unanswered goals in the second and third periods.  The loss keeps the Hawks winless against Tri-City this season over four meetings.

Friday, January 7 BLACK HAWKS 4, Sioux Falls 1  Recap
Saturday, January 8 TRI-CITY 4, Black Hawks 1  Recap

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The Black Hawks will wear this season's Military Appreciation jerseys on January 22nd during a tilt with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.  The sweaters will be auctioned after the game to benefit Americans for Independent Living, which provided transitional housing and other assistance to veterans in the Cedar Valley.  For tickets, visit tickets.waterlooblackhawks.com.