NAHL Weekend Preview
February 14, 2014
It is the final weekend in the NAHL before the Top Prospects Tournament in Troy, Michigan on Monday and Tuesday. Teams play on Friday and Saturday night before traveling to Michigan on Sunday.
This weekend features four out-of-division series along with two series in the North Division, three in the South and two different match-ups in the Central. Bismarck and Austin were the first two teams in the NAHL to clinch a playoff berth and this weekend could see a few more depending on what happens.
Watch all the games live this weekend on FASTHockey
Brookings @ Aberdeen (Fri.) – With only 13 games left, the Blizzard are eight points out of a playoff spot and they need as many wins as possible. Meanwhile, the Wings are just a couple wins away from punching their ticket to the post-season. The Wings are 6-1 against the Blizzard this season and the two teams faced one another last weekend in a home-and-home series with Aberdeen taking both games by a goal.
Minot @ Aberdeen (Sat.) - In what has been a very even series this year, Aberdeen hosts Minot on Saturday. It is the final meeting of the year between the two clubs. Aberdeen has six wins in the series, while Minot has five. The two teams played last week in Aberdeen, with Minot jumping out to a 3-0 lead, only to see the Wings strike back with six unanswered goals to win 6-3.
Springfield @ Port Huron – It is a very important series for both teams for a variety of reasons. The Fighting Falcons lead in the North Division is now down to just two points as Port Huron has won just two of their last eight games. Meanwhile, the Jr. Blues are just one point out of the fourth and final playoff spot in the North. In the four games played against one another to date, each team has won twice.
Michigan @ Johnstown – The Warriors are the NAHL’s hottest team and are just two points out of 1st place in the North Division thanks to eight straight wins. Meanwhile, the Tomahawks, who have won just once in their last five games, have slipped to 3rd place in the North. The series between the Warriors and the Tomahawks has been an even one so far, with each club winning four games in the eight games to date.
Lone Star @ Amarillo – The Bulls return to action chasing another South Division title, but the Brahmas have had some success against Amarillo this season. In eight games this season, the Brahmas have three wins against the Bulls, which included a 2-0 shutout the last times the two teams face one another in Amarillo back on February 1st. The Bulls are 12-2-1 in their last 15 games, while the Brahmas have won their last three.
Topeka @ Wichita Falls – The RoadRunners are challenging for 1st place in the South thanks to a run that includes just one regulation loss in the last 14 games. Surprisingly, the RoadRunners and Wildcats have faced one another just twice, which was back in early January when the RoadRunners swept a weekend series at home. Although seven points ahead of 5th place Corpus Christi, the Wildcats have fallen to 4th place in the South and have just two wins in their last nine games.
Corpus Christi @ Rio Grande Valley – The Killer Bees are hot on the heels of Topeka for 2nd place in the South thanks to a 4-1 record in their last five games. However, it is the IceRays who hold the series edge thus far through five games with three wins. The two teams split a home and home series back in late January. The IceRays have just one regulation loss in their last seven games, which has allowed them to get to within seven points of the 4th and final playoff spot.
Out of Division
Coulee Region vs. Janesville (home and home) – Both teams are headed in the upward direction as the Chill have won their last three games, while the Jets have won three of their last four. Although the two teams split a series in Janesville two weeks ago, the Jets have had the upper hand in the season series, winning seven out of the 11 games played to date. The Chill’s Mac Jansen has five points in his last five games, while Janesville defenseman Alex Smith is coming off being named North Division player of the week.
Bismarck @ Minnesota Wilderness – The Bobcats, who took over 1st place in the Central Division last weekend, put their five game winning streak on the line this weekend in Cloquet against the Wilderness. The Wilderness, who posted their league-leading 13th shutout in a 1-0 win over the Magicians on Wednesday, are the league’s top defensive team allowing just 1.91 goals per contest. This weekend is the first of two series the team’s will play against one another with the other coming in Bismarck in early March.
Soo @ Wenatchee – Soo visits Wenatchee with both teams playing for their playoff lives. Soo is just a point ahead of Springfield for 4th place in the North, while the Wild are two points back of 4th place Kenai River in the Midwest. In the only other match-up between the two teams this season, the Eagles won two, one-goal games over the Wild back on October 18-19. Wenatchee’s Alex Rauter has four points in his last five games, while the Soo’s Denver Pierce has three goals in this last five games.
Austin @ Fairbanks – The Bruins continue the tough swing through Alaska this weekend with a two-game series in Fairbanks against the red-hot Ice Dogs, who have won four straight and eight of their last nine games. At 35-13, Fairbanks has the top record in the NAHL and is closing in on another division title. The Ice Dogs are one of only two teams this season who have yet to have a loss in overtime or a shootout. The Bruins, who are now in 2nd place in the Central Division, have dropped four of their last five games.