NAHL Weekend Preview
January 2, 2015
This weekend is the first full one of 2015 and the clock is now officially ticking for teams in the three month stretch fun for the playoffs. This weekend features some match-ups that we haven’t seen yet this season, while some others feature a battle between some of the top teams in the league.
As always, fans can watch all the action live on FASTHockey
Austin vs. Brookings (home and home) – Despite the fact the two teams are in the same Division, this is the first match-up of the year between Austin and Brookings. The Bruins are coming off a 4-1 loss on New Year’s Eve to Coulee Region. It was their first regulation loss since November 26th. Forward Luke Dietsch has 13 points in his last 10 games. The Blizzard have lost their last three in a row and four of their last five, which includes a 1-0 loss on New Year’s Eve to Aberdeen. Blizzard goalie Ryan Kubic has started six of the team’s last seven games.
Aberdeen @ Minot – The Minotauros have a three point lead atop of the division with a game in hand on 2nd place Austin. The Minotauros are rolling, having won their last five games and eight of their last nine. That included a 4-1 win on New Year’s at Bismarck. Minot has won three of the five meetings against the Wings this season. That includes a 3-2 overtime win back on November 26th, the last time the two teams played one another.
MN Wilderness @ MN Magicians (Sun) – Sunday will be the Magicians lone game of the weekend, while the Wilderness will tangle on Friday and Saturday with the Bismarck Bobcats. It has been almost two months since the Wilderness lost a game in regulation, a span of 14 games. That included a 5-1 win on New Year’s Eve over the Magicians. Brett Gravelle, who was more recently with the North Iowa Bulls in the NA3HL, had the game-winning goal. The Magicians have lost their last five straight games.
Soo @ Springfield – The Eagles and Jr. Blues have met five times so far this season, with the Jr. Blues having the edge to date, 3-2. Both teams need points badly. Although the Eagles are in 2nd place, they are 14 points behind division-leading Janesville and only four points ahead of 3rd place Keystone. The Jr. Blues are tied for last place with 30 points. Springfield has lost three of their last four and haven’t played a game since December 20th. Jr. Blues forward Grant Meyer has five points in his last five games.
Wichita Falls @ Amarillo – The suddenly hot Bulls get their second crack at the Wildcats this week, fresh off a 6-3 win on New Year’s Eve. The Bulls finished December 5-1-1 record and forward Will Harrison has six points in his last five games played. The Bulls are just three points out of 5th place in the South. The once hot Wildcats have cooled off with three straight losses. The Wildcats now sit in 3rd place, two points behind 2nd place Lone Star and 11 points behind division-leading Topeka. The Wildcats do have a 4-1 record against the Bulls so far this season.
Wenatchee @ Topeka – Topeka came away with a 3-2 shootout win on Thursday night in Topeka in the first of a three-game set this weekend. The RoadRunners have now won six in a row and nine of their last 10 games. Their last regulation loss was back on November 22nd. The RoadRunners are a perfect 4-0 against the Wild so far this season. The Wild have lost their last six and finished December with a 2-6 record. Goalie Zach Quinn has started four of the team’s last five games.
Odessa @ Lone Star – The two teams split a series in Odessa a week ago. Lone Star won the Friday tilt, 6-2, but Odessa came back with a Saturday 4-2 win. It was the first win for the Jackalopes this season against Lone Star as the Brahmas boast a 5-1 record to date against Odessa. Lone Star forward Sebastian Vidmar leads the league in goals and has six points in his last three games. Odessa forward Razmus Waxin-Engback had 10 points in the month of December.
Corpus Christi @ Rio Grande Valley (Fri) – The IceRays look to avenge Thursday night’s 3-1 loss at Rio Grande Valley to keep Corpus Christi winless on the road in 13 tries this year. Killes Bees goalie Nick Schmit had 25 saves in the win and Andrew Scofield, who played all season for Peoria in the NA3HL, had the game-winning goal for the Killer Bees. It was just the second win in the last nine games for the Killer Bees. In the six games played to date between the two clubs, each team has three wins.
Out of Division
Kenai River @ Johnstown – The Tomahawks picked up a big 3-1 win over Fairbanks on New Year’s Eve in front of over 3,200 fans and hope to carry that momentum in their series with Kenai River. Goalie Ryan Bednard has started 12 of the last 13 games. This is the first match-up of the season between the two clubs, who will also play later on this season in Kenai River. The Brown Bears have lost eight in a row and haven’t won since November 28th. They still find themselves just three points out of the final playoff spot in the Midwest Division.
Fairbanks @ Keystone – The Ice Dogs are going back and forth with the Wilderness with the Chill not far behind. Fairbanks posted just three wins in the month of December. Kevin Aldridge made his return to the goal on New Year’s Eve making 28 saves in a 3-1 loss to Johnstown. This is the first ever meeting between Fairbanks and Keystone, who will also play later in the season in Fairbanks. The Ice Miners have won their last three straight games and forward Brendan Jaquay has four goals in his last four games.
Coulee Region vs. Janesville (home and home) – In one of the better match-ups in the league this weekend, something has to give between two of the league’s hottest teams as the Jets and Chill do battle in a match-up of state rivals. The Chill and the Jets have both won their last nine straight games. Each team owns a pair of wins in the four games played against one another to date. Jets forward Evan Feno has eight points in his last five games played, while Chill forward Blake Kelley also has eight points in that same time span.
Bismarck @ MN Wilderness – The Bobcats are coming off a 4-1 loss on New Year’s Eve, while the Wilderness won their New Year’s Eve game, 5-1. Bismarck has lost three of their last four. It was just over a month ago when the Wilderness and Bobcats tangled in Bismarck, as both games were decided by a goal. The Wilderness won on Friday, while the Bobcats won in OT on Saturday back on November 28-29. Bismarck forward Cullen Willox has seven points in his last four games played, while Wilderness defenseman Ivan Chukarov has eight points in his last five games.