Waterloo Black Hawks Ready For Games 3 & 4 [Preview]
The Waterloo Black Hawks' quest for the USHL Clark Cup takes the team to Fargo this weekend.
North to Fargo:
The Black Hawks’ chase for the Clark Cup returns to the road on Friday and Saturday (both 7:05 p.m.) for Game Three and Game Four of the USHL Western Conference Final series. So far, Waterloo and the Fargo Force are even at one win apiece through two low-scoring games at Young Arena. During both meetings, the first goal of the night was not recorded until past the midpoint of regulation. In Game One, the Hawks opened the scoring with 4:20 remaining in regulation. The next night, Fargo broke the scoreless deadlock with 13.1 seconds left in the second period. Coincidentally, the Force and Hawks had each scored the first goal of every prior 2018 postseason game they had played before this series.
Home and Road:
To date during the 2018 Clark Cup Playoffs, no team has been more successful on home ice than the Force. Fargo owns a perfect 4-0 record at Scheels Arena after games against the Tri-City Storm and Omaha Lancers. Meanwhile, the Black Hawks won both road games played in the conference semifinal series against the Lincoln Stars. The last time Waterloo won three road games during one playoff year was in 2014, when the team reached the Clark Cup Championship round. The Black Hawks’ record for road playoff wins in one postseason is five during 2004.
Getting Shots Through:
At this stage of the playoffs, no player has put more shots on net during the 2018 playoffs than Ben Finkelstein. The USHL Defenseman of the Year has put 29 shots on net, or 4.8 per game. Finkelstein has four assists and is tied for the Hawks’ playoff point lead with Jack Drury (three goals, one assist). The Boston College recruit has a point in each of Waterloo’s last four games; no player has had a longer streak thus far in the 2018 playoffs.
Top Seeds on Special Teams:
Waterloo and the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-17s earned the #1 seeds in their respective conferences. Both had strong power play results during the regular season: the Hawks ranked second in the USHL at 23.6 percent, while the NTDP was third at 23.2 percent. Power play goals have been harder to generate during the playoffs; Waterloo has been turned away on 27 chances, while the U17s are 1-for-11. Both have generated shorthanded scores: the NTDP has three of those, while the Hawks have two.
Evan Dougherty pushed the Hawks ahead late Saturday in Game One. Joey Cassetti added an empty-netter and Waterloo prevailed 2-0, with 29 saves by Jared Moe. Cassetti scored again Sunday and the Hawks rallied from a 2-0 deficit, but fell 3-2 in overtime.