NAHL Weekend Preview
March 28, 2014
In a true testimony to the parity in the NAHL, we enter the final weekend of the regular season with playoff spots and seedings in all four divisions in doubt.
Watch all this weekend's action live on FASTHockey
Minot Minotauros @ Brookings Blizzard – With Minot already in the playoffs in the 4th spot in the Central, this weekend’s series against Brookings is mainly for pride. The Blizzard will be looking to build for next season. The two clubs played in Minot last weekend, with the series going to a split. Minot owns a 6-4 edge in the 10 games played to date. The Blizzard have lost six of their last seven games.
Austin Bruins @ Bismarck Bobcats – There is a lot on the line for the Bruins, while the Bobcats will be the #3 seed in the Central. Austin has a one point lead over Aberdeen for the top spot in the Central Division with two games to play. The Bruins control their own destiny, as if they win their final two games, they will win the division. The Bobcats have won five of the eight meetings to date, including a series split in Austin last weekend
Minnesota Wilderness @ Coulee Region (Fri) – It is must win time for the Chill, as they are two points out of the final playoff spot in the Midwest. The Wilderness are rolling having lost only once in regulation over the last 14 games. However, it is the Chill who has the series edge with six wins in the 11 games played to date. The Chill have lost their last five games, four of which have come against the Wilderness.
Minnesota Wilderness @ Minnesota Magicians (Sat) – The Wilderness complete their regular season against their in-state rivals. The Wilderness have the edge in the season series to date with seven wins in the 11 games.
Minnesota Magicians @ Coulee Region (Sun) – In what could be a make or break game for the Chill during the final regular season game on Sunday in the NAHL, it is likely that the Chill will need to win on Sunday to make the playoffs. The Magicians visited Coulee Region on Thursday, coming away with a 3-1 win thanks to 43 save from goalie Atte Tolvanen.
Kenai River Brown Bears @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs – If the playoffs started today, Kenai River and Fairbanks would face one another in the opening round. However, the Brown Bears will need at least three out of four points this weekend to assure themselves of a playoff spot. Anything less than that and they will have to rely on either Coulee Region and/or Wenatchee losing at least one game.
Michigan Warriors vs. Port Huron Fighting Falcons (home and home) – Michigan is on the cusp of securing the #2 seed, while Port Huron has secured the top spot in the North. Michigan has had some great success against Port Huron this season, winning seven of the 10 games played to date, which may bode well for down the road in the playoffs. The Warriors beat Port Huron 2-1 in overtime on Wednesday.
Springfield Jr. Blues @ Soo Eagles – The Jr. Blues find themselves having to win both games and hope for some help if they want to make the playoffs. Springfield is three points back of Johnstown with two games to play. Even though Soo and Springfield are in the same division together, this will only the second series played against one another all season long. Springfield swept the Eagles in the only other series to date, which was all the way back in October in Springfield.
Johnstown Tomahawks @ Janesville Jets –The Jets are in the playoffs and still have a small chance to secure the #2 seed if they are able to win out and hope for two regulation losses by the Warriors. Meanwhile the Tomahawks need just a point to secure a spot in the playoffs. Janesville swept the Tomahawks a few weeks ago in Johnstown in their only other series to date. The Jets have just one regulation loss in their last 10 games, while Johnstown has won just two of their last 10 games.
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees @ Corpus Christi IceRays – The IceRays look for some revenge after getting swept last weekend in the Rio Grande Valley. The Killer Bees meanwhile know they will be the #3 seed in the South and will face either Amarillo or Topeka in the first round. The Killer Bees own a 6-4 series edge over Corpus Christi. The Killer Bees have won 12 of their last 15 games.
Topeka RoadRunners @ Wichita Falls Wildcats – In order to win the South, Topeka has to win both games in Wichita Falls and hope for some help. The RoadRunners were swept at home a few weeks ago by the Wildcats. Meanwhile, the Wildcats know they will be the #4 seed in the South, but have lost three of their last four games. Topeka owns four wins in the six games played to date against the Wildcats.
Amarillo Bulls @ Odessa Jackalopes – The Bulls are close to winning their third straight South Division title and two wins away from 40 wins on the season. The Bulls are 5-1 against Odessa this season, but the two clubs haven’t played one another since January. If the Bulls manage to win the South, they would face Wichita Falls in the opening round of the playoffs.
Aberdeen Wings @ Wenatchee Wild – In one of the more intriguing match-ups of the weekend, Aberdeen travels to Wenatchee with both clubs wanting to win for different reasons. Aberdeen is just a point out of 1st place in the Central Division behind Austin. So, two wins and some help could net the Wings the Central title. Wenatchee is very close to a playoff spot. One win would get Wenatchee in the playoffs.