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NAHL Weekend Preview

October 3, 2014
It is another busy weekend in the NAHL as the calendar turns to October. Teams were reduced to a 23-man roster on October 1st, which they will play with for the remainder of the season. Some teams are still having their home openers this weekend, while others have traveled long distances to take on their opponents.  This weekend also features some out-of-division play.
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Central Division
Aberdeen @ Austin – The Bruins open up their home schedule with a visit from the Wings. It is a battle of 1st and 2nd place teams. Ronnie Hein and Kyle Haak lead the Wings, while Brian Backnak and Trevor Boyd are pacing the Bruins. The Bruins are tied for the league lead in goals with 30 in just six games and they have the top-ranked offense in the league.
Midwest Division
MN Magicians @ MN Wilderness (Sat) – In the lone division game in the Midwest, the Magicians visit the Wilderness on Saturday. The Magicians offense in ranked in the top 5, while the Wilderness have another tough defense to content with as they are tied for the league lead in goals against average. The Wilderness, who are in 1st place, are two points ahead of the Magicians, who are in 2nd place.
North Division
Soo @ Springfield – The Eagles are off to a 4-4 start, but were swept last weekend at home by Keystone. The Jr. Blues open up their home season after posting a 1-5 record in their opening six games. Soo has three short-handed goals to date, which ranks 2nd in the NAHL. Four players are tied for the Jr. Blues scoring lead at four points, while Bruno Birzitis is pacing the Eagles with 11 points
Michigan @ Keystone – The Ice Miners are in 1st place in the North thanks to their three wins last weekend, which included a victory on Sunday in Flint over the Warriors. Michigan is in last place in the North and looking for offense, as they have scored just 11 goals in their first seven games. Keystone goalie Alex Blankenburg made 46 saves in the win over Michigan on Sunday.
Off: Janesville, Johnstown
South Division
Wenatchee @ Corpus Christi – The Wild start a two week trip to South Texas, which begins against the IceRays this weekend. Jake Ahlgren is leading the offense for Wenatchee with seven points in his first six games, while three players are tied for the IceRays scoring lead, including defenseman Anthony Cortese. The IceRays shutout the Wild 2-0 back on September 19th at the NAHL Showcase.
Amarillo @ Topeka – Two old rivals meet once again as the Bulls travel to Topeka for a weekend series.  Both teams were swept last weekend and will be looking to get back on track. The RoadRunners defeated the Bulls 3 games to 2 in the South Division Finals last season. Topeka leads the South Division with a 6-2 record and 12 points, while Amarillo is off to a 2-2-2 start.
Lone Star @ Wichita Falls – The Wildcats are riding high off their sweep of Topeka last weekend and are going to try and ride the wave of momentum created by such players as Austin Beaulieu and Austin Shaw. The Brahmas are in last place in the South and are coming off a 2-1 loss last weekend in Corpus Christi. Cody Wickline and Caleb Thompson share the early scoring lead for Lone Star.
Odessa @ Rio Grande Valley – The Jackalopes took it to the Killer Bees on Thursday night, winning 7-3. Seven different players scored for Odessa as they spoiled Rio Grande Valley’s home opener. Odessa forwards Kenny Hausinger and Derek Brown are tied for the NAHL scoring lead with 13 points. Dan Kucerovy is pacing the Killer Bees with seven points, including six goals.
Coulee Region @ Brookings – After a weekend off, the Chill return to the ice with two games in Brookings. The Blizzard have lost two straight, including a home loss last weekend to Aberdeen. That hasn’t stopped forward Beau Michaud from scoring as the Blizzard forward has 10 points in his first five games. The Chill have not played a game since the final day of the Showcase on September 20th.
Bismarck @ Fairbanks – The Ice Dogs will raise their 2014 Robertson Cup banner at their home opener this weekend in front of a sold out crowd and they will look forward to the home ice advantage as they have started out just 2-5-1 and are in last place in the Midwest. The Bobcats are off to a 3-3 start and are led by Cullen Willox who has eight points in the first six games.
Minot @ Kenai River – The Minotauros are 3-2 and are fresh off a 4-0 shutout last weekend of 1st place Austin. Kenai River is still trying to find their defensive game as they are allowing close to four goals a game, although they do lead the NAHL in shorthanded goals with four. Christian Mohs is leading the Minotauros with seven points, while NAHL defenseman of the month Tyler Andrew leads Kenai River with nine points.
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