NAHL Weekend Preview
December 19, 2014
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) will officially reach its halfway point this weekend as teams compete in their final games before the Christmas holiday. This weekend features just Friday and Saturday games, with no games being played on Sunday. After that, teams will take a few days off, but resume with regular season games the day following Christmas.
The NAHL will have at least one regular season game on the schedule from December 26th all the way through January 4th so it will be a busy holiday season for most teams.
There is less than a month remaining to gain ground in the standings for positioning regarding the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. Each team’s number of selections and representatives depends on where they are in the standings right around mid-January.
As always, fans can watch all the games live on FASTHockey
Aberdeen @ Brookings (Fri) – A recent string of success has Brookings optimistic with their Friday home game against the Wings. The Wings hold just a three point lead over the Blizzard for the 4th and final playoff spot. In the six games played to date, each team has won three, but the Blizzard have won the last two meetings on December 6th and 13th.
Bismarck @ Minot (Fri) – Like Aberdeen and Brookings, Bismarck and Minot have also played one another two times in the past two weeks. Last week, it was Minot taking a 5-4 win in Bismarck, while the week before the Bobcats won 4-1 in Minot. Both Bobcats wins this season against the Minotauros have come in Minot. Minot is one point ahead of Austin for 1st place in the Central.
Bismarck @ Aberdeen (Sat) – The Bobcats have had some great success against the Wings this season, posting a 4-0-1 record in the five games played to date. That includes two wins in the last two weekends, including last Friday’s 5-4 win in Aberdeen. In just four games played against the Wings, Bismarck forward Cullen Willox has six points. The Wings have lost their seven straight games.
Brookings @ Minot (Sat) – The Minotauros have won five of their last six games, which includes wins over Brookings back on December 12th, 4th and November 29th. Minot goalie Atte Tolvanen in 4-0 in his last four starts and Christian Mohs leads the way with seven points in his last five games. Brookings goalie Ryan Kubic has started seven of the last eight games for the Blizzard.
Keystone vs. Johnstown (home and home) – The battle of Pennsylvania continues with valuable points on the line, as both teams sit outside of the North Division playoff race. Keystone holds a 2-1 edge in wins over the Tomahawks this season, but the two clubs haven’t face one another since late October. The Ice Miners have lost their last three straight games, while Johnstown has dropped four of their last five.
Michigan @ Janesville – The Jets are one of the NAHL’s hottest teams having won their last five straight games and hold a six-point lead in the North Division. The 3rd place Warriors only have one regulation loss in their last nine games, but their last three games have been losses by either a shootout or in overtime. This is the first meeting of the year between the two clubs.
Lone Star @ Amarillo – With 1st place Topeka off this weekend, the 2nd place Brahmas will try and gain ground in the standings as they ride a four-game winning streak into Amarillo. The Brahmas are 4-1 against the Bulls this season, which includes three wins against them back in November. Brahmas forward Sebastian Vidmar leads the league in goals with 18. The Bulls have dropped five of their last seven games, which have all been on the road.
Rio Grande Valley @ Odessa – With both teams in the bottom three in the South Division, points are at a premium for both clubs. The Killer Bees have lost their last four and 10 of their last 12. Neither team has an edge in the series to date, with each posting a 2-1-1 record in four games. Odessa has lost five straight and 13 of their last 14 games.
Wichita Falls @ Wenatchee – The Wildcats are one of the league’s hottest teams, having won four in a row and 11 of their last 12. The Wildcats .792 winning percentage is the best in the league. The Wild were swept in three road games last weekend in Topeka and this is the first meeting of the year between the two clubs. Wenatchee forward Colin Burston has four points in his last five games.
Out of Division
Springfield @ Coulee Region – If Janesville or Wichita Falls aren’t the league’s hottest teams, the Coulee Region Chill might be. Winners of their last six and seven of their last eight, the Chill have just one regulation loss since late October. The Chill are just two points out of 2nd place and five points away from 1st place in the Midwest. Springfield sits in the 4th and final playoff spot in the North and have won three of their last four games.
MN Magicians vs. Austin Bruins – The Magicians saw their brief win streak come to an end a week ago at the hands of the Bruins in Austin. Despite having lost 12 of their last 14 games, the Magicians still occupy the 4th and final playoff spot in the Midwest Division. The Bruins have taken 11 points in their last six games. The lone blemish was an overtime loss last weekend to Coulee Region, but the Bruins still remain just one point out of 1st place.
Soo @ MN Wilderness – The Wilderness have also been playing some very good hockey as of late. Minnesota hasn’t lost a game in regulation since November 8th, a span of 11 games. However, the last time that the Wilderness and the Soo met was back on October 10-11 with the Eagles coming away with a weekend home sweep, scoring 11 goals in the process. The Eagles are riding a three-game winning streak.