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NAHL Weekend Preview

January 10, 2014
More points are on the line this weekend as divisional rivalries continue to stay in full swing in the NAHL this weekend.
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Central Division
Austin Bruins @ Minot Minotauros – Valuable points are on the line this weekend as Austin visits Minot. The Bruins are tied for 1st place with Bismarck, while the Minotauros are trying to fend off a hard-charging Brookings squad for the final playoff spot. Surprisingly, the two clubs have faced one another just twice this season, which came all the way back on September 27-28 in Minot, when they split a pair of games. Luke Dietsch has had the hot hand for Austin as he has nine points in his last five games. Minot’s Jake McCann has three goals in his last five outings.
Aberdeen Wings @ Bismarck Bobcats (Fri) – This series has been about as even as it gets, with each side winning four times during the eight past match-ups. Aberdeen came away with a 2-1 win less than two weeks ago in Bismarck on New Year’s Eve. Wings forward Bjorn Sigurdarson has been on fire as of late with three game-winning goals in the last four wins. Bismarck’s Aaron Nelson is tied for the league lead in wins with 20.
Brookings Blizzard @ Bismarck Bobcats (Sat) – It has been domination by the Bobcats this year over the Blizzard thus far.  Bismarck is 6-1 against Brookings in 2013-14, which included a weekend sweep of the Blizzard in Brookings last weekend. Brookings defenseman Brandon Parker was named NAHL Defenseman of the Month for December.
Midwest Division
Coulee Region Chill vs. Minnesota Wilderness (home and home) – The Chill and the Wilderness enter the weekend separated by a single point between 2nd and 3rd place in the Midwest Division. Even though the clubs are in the same division and separated by just four hours, this is their first ever meeting. The Wilderness have scored just seven goals in their last five games. Chill defenseman Dunk Abbott has four points in his last five games to lead Coulee Region.
Minnesota Magicians @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs – The Ice Dogs opened their three-game home series with the Magicians on Thursday night with a 4-1 win. NA3HL alum Johnny Mueller scored twice in the win. The Ice Dogs seven point lead in the Midwest Division is the largest of any NAHL club. The Magicians are just 1-4 in their last five games, scoring just four goals.
Wenatchee Wild @ Kenai River Brown Bears – The Brown Bears began their three-game home set on Thursday night with a 3-1 win over the Wild. Goalie Zach Quinn made a career-high 48 saves in the victory and Tyler Andrews had a goal and an assist. The Brown Bears are a perfect 4-0 against the Wild this season. Back on October 25-27, they swept a three-game series in Wenatchee. Wild forward Mike Coyne has six points in his last five games.
North Division
Janesville Jets @ Michigan Warriors – Despite being at .500, the Jets are in last place in the North Division, while the Warriors are in 3rd place. The Jets came away with a weekend home sweep the only other time the two teams faced one another back on October 4-5 in Janesville. The Warriors have just two wins in their last nine games, while the Jets had their five-game winning streak snapped last weekend as they were swept on the road by Port Huron.
Johnstown Tomahawks @ Springfield Jr. Blues – The Tomahawks, who have a decent grip on 2nd place in the North, make their first trip of the season to Springfield. All four previous match-ups between the two teams this season have been in Johnstown, with the Tomahawks coming away with all four wins. Despite a 2-2 record in his last four games, Tomahawks goalie Alex Okicki has a save percentage of 96.4%. The Jr. Blues have won three of their last five contests.
Port Huron Fighting Falcons @ Soo Eagles – Two clubs headed in the upward direction clash in Sault Ste. Marie this weekend. The Fighting Falcons own a 4-0-2 record against the Eagles this season and have yet to lose in regulation against their counterparts from the North. Each team won in a shootout the last time the clubs played one another back on December 20-21. Port Huron has just one regulation loss in their last six games, while the Eagles have won six of their last eight.
South Division
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees @ Amarillo Bulls – If the playoffs started today, this would be a South Semi-Finals match-up between the Killer Bees and the Bulls. Since losing seven in a row, the Bulls have rattled off five straight wins, while the Killer Bees have won three of their last four games. Amarillo holds a 4-2 series edge so far this season. The two clubs split a series the last time they played back in Amarillo on November 22-23. This weekend will be the final match-up of the regular season between the two clubs.
Corpus Christi IceRays @ Lone Star Brahmas – Two teams in desperate need of wins and points meet in North Richland Hills, Texas this weekend. The IceRays have had great success against  the Brahmas this season, posting a perfect 4-0 record against them to date, with all four wins coming in Corpus Christi by a combined 18-4 score. The Brahmas enter the weekend on a four-game losing streak, while the IceRays have lost five of their last seven. The IceRays are in 5th place in the South, but 13 points out of the 4th and final playoff spot with just 23 games to go.
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