NAHL Weekend Preview
October 24, 2014
As October enters its final stages, this weekend poses another opportunity for NAHL clubs to try and climb the standings. There are several intriguing match-ups including 10 games on Friday, 11 on Saturday and one on Sunday.
This is also is the final opportunity for players to make their push for monthly honors in October. All four divisions feature at least one series between divisional rivals and there are three out-of-division series.
You can watch each NAHL game this weekend live on FASTHockey
Bismarck @ Austin – All eyes will be in Austin this weekend as the Bobcats make their only appearance at Riverside Arena this weekend. The Bruins, who are in 1st place, sit four points ahead of the Bobcats in the Central Division. Bismarck goalie Alex Bitsakis is 3-0 in his last three starts and has allowed just two goals in that span. While Austin’s penalty kill is ranked 2nd best in the NAHL at over 91%, their power play is ranked last at just under 8%.
Brookings @ Minot – The Blizzard will try and slow down a Minot team that has crept to within one point of 1st place Austin. The Minotauros have done it with team defense as they are tied for 3rd in the NAHL allowing just 2.36 goals per game. Minot has won their last three games, while the Blizzard have taken at least a point in four of the last five games. Brookings forward Beau Michaud is tied for 6th in NAHL scoring with 16 points
MN Wilderness @ Kenai River – Just one division series highlights the Midwest Division with the Wilderness visiting the Brown Bears. The Wilderness have struggling on the road this season, posting a 1-3-0 record away from home, while they are a perfect 6-0-0 at home. Both teams should be fresh for this match-up as the Wilderness haven’t played a game in 8 days, while Kenai River had last weekend off. Interesting stat: Each team is led by a defenseman in scoring.
Soo @ Michigan – The North Division is a logjam right now, which makes the series between the Eagles and Warriors very important. Michigan begins the weekend just two points behind the Eagles. The Warriors have been rolling as of late, winning five of their last six games including a weekend sweep of Springfield last weekend. The Eagles will be looking to rebound after being swept by Janesville last weekend, where they gave up 13 goals in the two losses.
Keystone @ Johnstown (home and home) – The newly formed battle of Pennsylvania resumes this weekend as Keystone and Johnstown square off in a home and home series. The Tomahawks will finally have their home opener on Saturday and the War Memorial is sure to be rocking. The Tomahawks have played just nine games to date, which is the least amount of any NAHL club. Each team has had almost two weeks off since their last games, so the pace should be fast a furious. The Ice Miners enter the weekend just two points out of 1st place in the North Division. Johnstown defenseman Alex Jaeckle leads his team in scoring with eight points.
Corpus Christi @ Amarillo – After a 2-1-1 start, the Bulls have list six of their last seven games. The one win in that stretch came last weekend in a home series split with Lone Star. The Bulls have allowed 17 goals in their last three games. With a 6-4-3 record, the IceRays find themselves alone in 3rd place in the South. Although they have lost three of their last four games, the IceRays did split with 1st place Topeka last weekend. Defenseman Anthony Cortese is tied for the team scoring lead with 12 points.
Odessa @ Lone Star – The long roadtrip continues for the Jackalopes as they run up against a hot Brahmas squad. The Brahmas sit alone in 4th place in the South with 13 points, just three points out of 2nd place. The Brahmas have won four of their last five games, while the Jackalopes have lost four in a row. The series will feature two of the NAHL’s goal-scoring leaders in Lone Star’s Sebastian Vidmar, who has nine goals and Odessa’s Kenny Hausinger, who has seven goals.
Topeka @ Rio Grande Valley – It is Pink in the Rink weekend in the Rio Grande Valley as the Killer Bees host the 1st place RoadRunners. This is Topeka’s only trip to the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, TX this season and one of only four games against the Killer Bees this season. With an 11-2-1 record and 23 points, Topeka has the best record in the NAHL and holds a seven-point lead in the South Division. At 5-4-1 the Killer Bees are a game over .500 and sit in 5th place in the South with 11 points. Topeka forward Daniel Rzavsky is the reigning the South Division Player of the Week.
Idle: Wichita Falls
Aberdeen @ MN Magicians – Although they are in different divisions, the Wings and the Magicians enter their series against one another with the exact same record at 7-5-0. The Wings have dropped three of their last four games, which included two, one-goal losses last weekend at home. The Magicians took three of four points in their series last weekend against Brookings. Defenseman Sam Becker is the reigning Midwest Division player of the week, while Wings goalie Andrew Shortridge in 4th in the NAHL goaltending statistics.
Fairbanks @ Wenatchee – An old rivalry is renewed this weekend as the Ice Dogs visit the Wild. Back when the teams played in the same division, the two clubs met quite often in the playoffs, including last season when Fairbanks defeated Wenatchee in overtime of the 5th and final game of their Division Finals series. The Ice Dogs, who are in 1st place in the Midwest, have played more games (15) than anyone else in the league. At 3-5-2, the Wild are tied for 6th place in the South with eight points.
Janesville @ Coulee Region – The Battle for the Old Milk Can resumes as Janesville takes a trip West across Wisconsin to battle their in-state rival in a pair of weekend games. The two clubs faced one another in Janesville two weeks ago with the Chill posting a weekend sweep thanks to wins of 2-0 and 4-3 (SO). The Jets are coming off a big sweep of the Eagles in the Soo, scoring 13 goals in the two wins. The Chill were swept by the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in three games last weekend, as they salvaged just one point in an overtime loss.