Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's playoff time: Ice vs. Waterloo

USHL Eastern Conference 1st round (best-of-3)
Waterloo Black Hawks (24-29-7, 6th USHL East)
Indiana Ice (37-19-4, 3rd USHL East)
7 p.m. Thursday, April 14 at Pepsi Coliseum
7 p.m. Friday, April 15 at Pepsi Coliseum
3 p.m. Sunday, April 17 at Pepsi Coliseum (if necessary)

Head to head (Ice 3, Black Hawks 1).
Jan. 2: Ice 6, Black Hawks 2 (at Waterloo). Brian Ferlin hat trick, Daniil Tarasov G, 3A. Jon Gillies 27 saves.
Jan. 12: Black Hawks 2, Ice 0 (at Pepsi Coliseum). Max Edison, Jon Siemer goals for Waterloo, Jay Williams 36sv/shutout. Casey DeSmith 34 saves for Ice.
Jan. 21: Ice 6, Black Hawks 5, OT (at Pepsi Coliseum). Peter Schneider GTG in 3rd, GWG in OT. Nick Mattson 2A, Adam Erne/Daniil Tarasov G, A for Ice.
Feb. 18: Ice 2, Black Hawks 1 (at Waterloo). Tim Smith G, A, Brian Ferlin GWG for Ice. Casey DeSmith 29 saves.

Tale of the Tape
GF: 237 (1st) / GA: 166 (6th) 
PP: 21.7% (1st) / PK: 85.8% (7th) / PIM: 897 (4th) 
Home record: 19-9-2 
Last 5: 2-3-0 Last 10: 7-3-0
Leading scorers: Blake Coleman (34-58*-92*), Daniil Tarasov (37*-38-75), Brian Ferlin (25-48-73) 
Leading goaltender: Casey DeSmith (22-13-2, 2.54), Jon Gillies (15-6-2, 2.82) 
Leading +/-: Blake Coleman (+52)*
Leading PIM: Will Aide (142)

Tale of the Tape
Black Hawks
GF: 164 (14th) / GA: 164 (5th)
PP: 18.1% (3rd) / PK: 88.4% (4th) / PIM: 1186 (12th)
Road record: 10-15-5
Last 5: 4-1-0 Last 10: 6-4-0
Leading scorers: Tyler Zepeda (15-16-31), Jacob McDonald (8-22-30), Luke Hannon (10-19-29)
Leading goaltender: C.J. Motte (15-7-5, 2.44), Jay Williams (7-10-2, 3.49)
Leading +/-: Justin Klooth (+1), Gunnar Hughes/James Hansen (E, >20GP). 
Leading PIM: Andrew Panzarella (175)
*-leads league

The Ice open the playoffs with a best-of-3 series against Waterloo. It appears to be strength-on-strength, as the Ice are the USHL's most powerful offensive team, while Waterloo is one of the top defensive teams. Coached by veteran P.K. O'Handley, the Black Hawks do possess a strong power play, and they have scored nearly 1/3 of their goals with the man advantage. Waterloo's leading goal scorer tallied 15 goals. Meanwhile, the Ice had five 20-goal scorers and three 30-goal scorers, and the top line in the USHL in Blake Coleman-Brian Ferlin-Daniil Tarasov. Two of the four regular-season games have been high-scoring, two have been close-to-the-vest. Expect to see goaltender C.J. Motte in the postseason. He was 9th in the USHL in goals against average. Both he and Ice goaltender Casey DeSmith tied for fifth in the league with a .920 save percentage. The Ice have won their opening-round series in each of the past two years, and in three of the last four. Last season, they rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to beat Cedar Rapids in five games on Anthony Bitetto's OT goal in Game 5. They've met Waterloo only in one game in the playoffs -- in the unique 2007 format in which the Ice beat Waterloo in their meeting of a three-team round-robin second round and advanced to the USHL semifinals. Should the Ice win, they'll have a postseason rematch with the Green Bay Gamblers in the second round. Green Bay drew a bye by virtue of finishing second in the USHL East Division.

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