Friday, January 2, 2009

Report Card: Waterloo Black Hawks

Team Record: 17-7-1

Total Points: 35

Goal Leader: Craig Smith - 15

Assist Leader: Craig Smith - 17

Points Leader: Craig Smith - 32

PIM Leader: Nick Larson - 61

+/- Leader: Chris Student - +20

Wins Leader: Joe Howe - 12

When it comes to Waterloo, you know you're going to get a top notch team on the ice every year with P.K. O'Handley behind the bench. Waterloo had some early struggles, but they have roared back and currently sit in 2nd place in the East. Joe Howe emerged as a very capable goalie last year, splitting time with Matt DiGirolamo. When this season rolled around, you knew Waterloo would be a force just due to them having a top notch goalie. They brought in Parker Milner before the Fall Classic, and he's stuck. He has only played in 8 games, but he boasts a 5-2-0 record for the Hawks. Milner has been solid in the couple of games I've been able to see him, so Waterloo has a very capable goaltending duo to keep them in games.

As far as the defense goes, Waterloo is generally one of the best overall defensive teams year in and year out. They clog up the neutral zone and teams find it hard to break out and get into Waterloo's zone. Lee Moffie is someone who has really stood out to me. When the pre-season rolled around, it sounded like Moffie was just there to get looked at and didn't have much of a shot to make the squad. He showed the coaching staff he was worthy, and he has been pretty impressive for such a young kid at this level. He is tied for the team lead in points by a defenseman with 14 and is a +5 on the year. Another guy I really like on this team is Dan Sova. He attended a futures camp a couple years back, and I thought he was one of the best players out there. He had size and was very mobile for how big he was. Waterloo snatched him up, and he has been a nice addition to their blue line. He's chipped in offensively, and is also good on the defensive side. He's also not afraid to drop the gloves and stand up for his teammates.

The offense has been led by team captain Craig Smith and Jordan Samuels-Thomas. Smith, in his third year, has developed into one of the league's best. He's one of those kids you just can't help but root for. Came in his rookie season and had a decent point output, but he just kept working hard. He is one of the hardest workers on the ice I've seen over the last few years, and this year it is paying off big time. Jordan Samuels-Thomas is another guy that has developed nicely. After posting just 11 points last season, he is on the verge of doubling that before the halfway mark. Derek Arnold has been a nice surprise as well. He's come in and has netted 14 red-lighters, second most on the team so far this season.

Team Grade: A

No comments: