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Austin Bruins @ Aberdeen Wings – As it stands right now, Austin is one point ahead of Aberdeen, who is one point ahead of Bismarck. Needless to say, points are a premium this weekend in Aberdeen, where the Wings look to get their home record back into form. The two teams split a series in Aberdeen back on October 18-19. After this weekend’s series, there are two series remaining between the two clubs, both in Austin.
Bismarck Bobcats @ Brookings Blizzard – A much-improved Blizzard team looks to keep climbing the standings as they host the Bobcats for a weekend series. Bismarck is 4-1 against the Blizzard this season, which included a home-and-home sweep of the Blizzard the last time these two teams played back on December 6-7. The Bobcats are just two points out of 1st place in the Central Division, while Brookings is only four points back of idle Minot for the 4th and final playoff spot.
Off: Minot Minotauros
Kenai River Brown Bears @ Coulee Region Chill – Two teams separated by just a point square off in a key Midwest match-up as the Chill host the Brown Bears. The last time these two teams met was back on October 4-5 in Kenai River when the Brown Bears came away with two 3-2 wins. It will be the last regular season meeting between the two clubs. Chill forward Eddie Matsushima has five points in this last five games, while Brown Bears forward Jack Gessert has the same totals.
Fairbanks Ice Dogs @ Wenatchee Wild – An old rivalry is renewed this weekend as Fairbanks travels to Wenatchee to take on the Wild in the final stage of their road trip. The Wild have the advantage of having swept the Ice Dogs back on November 1-2 in their only series to date. Both Wenatchee wins were by a goal. The Ice Dogs division lead of five points is the largest of any of the four division leaders. With 33 points, Wenatchee is in 5th place and four points out of the 4th and final playoff spot current held by Kenai River.
Minnesota Magicians @ Minnesota Wilderness – Despite trailing the Wilderness in the standings by nine points, the Magicians actually have a leg up so far is the season series between the two clubs, owning a 3-2 record thus far against the Wilderness. Both goaltenders Atte Tolvanen for the Magicians and Kasimir Kaskisuo for the Wilderness have been outstanding in the series thus far. The two clubs, who are separated by just two hours, have met just once since October, which was a 3-1 win by the Magicians in Cloquet back on December 11th.
Janesville Jets @ Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Port Huron’s lead in the North is down to just three points and a resurgent Jets team makes their first visit of the season to Port Huron. The two clubs met back in Janesville back on November 15-16 with the Fighting Falcons coming away with wins of 2-1 and 10-4. Matt Seidel had a six-point game in the 10-4 win. The Jets have won eight of their last nine games, including the last five in a row, while the Fighting Falcons have won just three of their last nine contests.
Springfield Jr. Blues @ Michigan Warriors – For now, the Warriors have a pretty firm hold on 3rd place in the North, but Springfield is just four points back in 4th place. The clubs have played four times this season, which each winning a pair. However, the Michigan losses came in a shootout and overtime. The last time the two clubs met was back on November 1-2 in Springfield. Three of the four match-ups to date have been decided by a goal. The Warriors have just one win in their last seven games, while the Jr. Blues have won two of their last three.
Johnstown Tomahawks @ Soo Eagles – The Eagles, who have been on fire as of late, are just two points out of the 4th and final playoff spot despite being in last place. Soo holds a slight series edge with a 3-2-1 record to date, but the two clubs have not played one another since a three-game set in Johnstown back on October 24-26. The Eagles have just one regulation loss in their last eight games, while the Tomahawks have won four of their last five games.
Corpus Christi IceRays @ Amarillo Bulls – It has been a few months since Amarillo and Corpus Christi have squared off. The Bulls maintain a one point lead atop of the South Division, while the IceRays are in 5th, but nine points out of the 4th and final playoff spot. The last time the two teams played was back on November 8 and 10 in Corpus Christi with the Bulls coming away with two wins. In four games against the IceRays this season, Amarillo forward Tyler Gernhofer has 10 points. IceRays goalie Forbes Ploszaj is the reigning South Division Star of the Week.
Wichita Falls Wildcats @ Topeka RoadRunners – Two teams separated by just three points face-off in Topeka this weekend as the Wildcats look to continue their quest for 1st place against the RoadRunners. Even through Wichita Falls is the closest South Division opponent for the RoadRunners, the two teams have yet to face one another this season. The Wildcats haven’t played a game since December 21st, but are riding a six-game winning streak. The RoadRunners are also playing some of their best hockey of the season, losing just once in regulation in their last seven games.
Lone Star Brahmas @ Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – It is Guns N’ Hoses weekend in Hidalgo as the Killer Bees host the Brahmas. These teams know each other well having played eight times already this season. The Killer Bees own a 5-0-3 record against Lone Star this season and have yet to lose in regulation to the Brahmas. However, it has been a very close series with five of the eight games being decided in overtime or a shootout and two goals being the largest margin of victory in any of the eight games.
Off: Odessa Jackalopes