NAHL Weekend Preview
November 7, 2014
It is a jam-packed weekend in the NAHL as all 24 teams are in action. Things could also be not much tighter in the standings as two divisions see the division lead at just one point, while one is at three points.
Nine out of the 12 series this weekend are within the divisions, including all-divisional match-ups in the North and the South. Believe it or not the season is almost a quarter of the way over, so the race for the Robertson Cup is already starting to enter team’s minds.
Fans can watch all the action this weekend live on FASTHockey
Bismarck vs. Brookings (home and home) – For the second weekend in a row, Bismarck and Brookings will again play a home-and-home series. Two of the hottest goalies in October will go head-to-head as Alex Bitsakis and Eric Hancock will be put to the test. Brookings won last Friday by a 2-1 margin, while Bismarck took Saturday’s contest 7-3, which snapped a four-game losing streak. The two teams are separated by just one point in the standings.
Kenai River @ Fairbanks – The battle of Alaska resumes this weekend as Kenai River pays a visit to Fairbanks. The Ice Dogs are one of the hottest teams in the league, winners of their last seven games and 10 out of the last 11 games. The two teams met back in early September in Kenai River with the series being split. Fairbanks forward Chandler Madry leads the NAHL in scoring with 24 points.
Springfield @ Soo – The two clubs face off in a three-game weekend set with the first game being played on Thursday. Springfield came away with a 4-1 win thanks another great performance from goaltender Niko Dellamaggorie, who made 29 saves in the win. With the loss, the Eagles have lost two of their last three and are under .500 at home. Springfield has won three in a row.
Michigan @ Johnstown – Michigan will travel to Johnstown for a three-game set this weekend. The two teams have played four times to date (all in Flint), with each club winning twice. The Warriors have lost their last four games, scoring just six goals in that time frame. Johnstown Tomahawks forward Zach Zech has six points in his last five games. The two teams are separated by just one point in the standings.
Janesville @ Keystone – The red-hot Jets have won five of their last six games and continue to lead the North Division. The Ice Miners have won just two of their last seven games, but sit in 3rd place in the North Division. This is the first meeting of the year between the two clubs, but they will also see each other again in two weeks in a series in Janesville. Janesville defenseman Alex Smith leads the club with six points in the last five games.
Odessa @ Corpus Christi – It is Pink in the Rink weekend in Corpus Christi as the IceRays, who are in a tie for 2nd place, host the Jackalopes. Odessa snapped a long losing streak last weekend, taking three of four points in their series against Rio Grande Valley. The IceRays split their home series with Wichita Falls last weekend. The match-up shapes up to have plenty of offense as three of the top six scorers in the league will be on the ice in Odessa forwards Kenny Hausinger and Derek Brown and IceRays forward Wes Michaud.
Amarillo @ Wichita Falls – The Wildcats are in a tie for 2nd place, while the Bulls are in a tie for 6th place in the South. The Bulls are coming off being swept at home by Topeka, where they have up 13 goals in two games. Despite winning three of their last four, the Wildcats have given up 13 goals in their last three games. Wildcats forward Evan Okeley has eight points in his last five games.
Rio Grande Valley @ Wenatchee – The team that once was the Wenatchee Wild pays a visit to the current Wenatchee Wild as the Killer Bees make their only trip of the season to Wenatchee. The Wild have lost four of their last five games and their four wins ranks last in the NAHL. The Killer Bees have also lost four of their last five games, but three of those losses have been in overtime or a shootout.
Topeka @ Lone Star – Offense figures to be on display in North Richland Hills as the Brahmas host the red-hot RoadRunners. At 15-2-1, Topeka has the best record in the league and a 13-point lead in the South Division. However, the RoadRunners will have to contend with a Brahmas squad that is also on a roll, having won their last three games and six of their last seven. They have forward Sebastian Vidmar, who leads the NAHL in goals with 13.
Out of Division
Austin vs. Coulee Region (home and home) – Austin and Coulee Region also renew their series from a week ago when they faced one another in a home and home series. The Chill ended up sweeping last weekend, shutting out the Bruins in Austin and picking up a shootout win at home. Chill goalie Adam Carlson has started nine of the last 10 games. The Bruins sit atop of the Central Division, one point ahead of Minot, while the Chill are tied for 4th place in the Midwest.
MN Wilderness @ Aberdeen – The Wings are back home after getting back on track last weekend with a weekend sweep in Minot. Meanwhile, the Wilderness have struggled as of late, losing their last four in a row and six of their last eight. Forward Niklas Lehtimaki has been a bright spot, registering seven points in his last five games. Wings goalie Andrew Shortridge ranks 2nd in NAHL goaltending statistics.
Minot @ MN Magicians – The Magicians are playing very well and find themselves in 2nd place in the Midwest Division, just three points out of 1st place. Minnesota has won four of their last five games, including a 4-3 win on Wednesday over the Wilderness. Defenseman Sam Becker leads all NAHL defenseman in scoring with 17 points. Minot defenseman Jon Lizotte leads his club with five points in his last five games.