NAHL Weekend Preview
January 16, 2015
It is a busy weekend in the NAHL as all 24 teams take to the ice both Friday and Saturday night. There are no games on Sunday, which is the official cutoff date for Top Prospects team breakdown.
Following the games played on Saturday, the standings will be frozen and teams will be seeded within their division based on win percentage. For more information on the Top Prospects Tournament, click here.
Fans can watch all the games this weekend live on FASTHockey
Here is a look at the match-ups on Friday and Saturday:
Minot @ Aberdeen – The Minotauros saw their three-winning winning streak snapped on Thursday night in a 5-2 home loss to Bismarck. Minot and Aberdeen faced one another just two weeks ago in Minot with each club earning a shutout win in the process. Minot holds a slim 4-3 edge in the seven games played to date between the two clubs. Aberdeen goalie Chad Catt is 3-1 with a 94.5% save percentage in his last four starts.
Brookings vs. Bismarck (home and home)– The red-hot Bobcats have won their last five straight games, which includes a 5-2 win in Minot on Thursday night. They face a Blizzard team that has lost six of their last seven games. In the 8 meetings between the two clubs so far this season, Bismarck holds a 6-2 edge. Bismarck forward Evan Giesler has nine points in his last five games, including a three-point night on Thursday.
MN Magicians vs. MN Wilderness (home and home) – The 1st place Wilderness have won their last four games and 9 of their last 11 games. The Wilderness lead in the division is at three points thanks to a three-game sweep last weekend of Coulee Region. The Magicians snapped a losing skid last weekend with a win in Aberdeen, but have lost 7 of their last 8 games. Despite that, the Magicians remain in the 4th and final playoff spot. The Wilderness have won five of the seven games played between the two clubs this season.
Fairbanks @ Kenai River – The Brown Bears return home after a 13-game road swing, which saw the team lose their last 12 games. That being said, Kenai River remains just four points out of the final playoff spot in the division. Fairbanks holds a 5-1 edge in the series to date, which includes a home sweep last weekend of the Brown Bears. Fairbanks outscored Kenai River 11-1 in the series. Ice Dogs forward Ethan Somoza has eight points in his last five games.
Keystone vs. Johnstown (home and home) – The Ice Miners are playing well as of late, having posted a 5-1 record in their last six games. That includes a 4-3 shootout win over Johnstown last Friday. Keystone has won four of the six games played between the teams this season, but all four of those wins have been by just a goal. Johnstown forward Casey Linkenheld has eight points in his last five games. Johnstown enters the weekend on a three-game skid.
Soo @ Janesville – The Eagles will swoop into Janesville trying to cool off the red-hot 1st place Jets, who have won 12 of their last 13 games. That includes a sweep last weekend of Michigan on the road. Blake Weyrick has started the last five games in goal for the Jets. The Jets are 5-1 against the Eagles this season, which included a weekend home sweep the last time the teams played one another on December 5-6. The Eagles were off last weekend and have won 5 of their last 7 games.
Michigan @ Springfield – The Warriors enter their weekend in Springfield having lost their last nine straight games. Both the Warriors and the Jr. Blues are on the outside looking in of the North playoff race. Springfield is one point out, while Michigan is four points out. The Jr. Blues are coming off a big road sweep of Johnstown last weekend and goalie Dryden McKay was named the North Star of the Week for his efforts. Michigan has scored just seven goals in their last five games. The two teams have split the four games played to date.
Odessa @ Amarillo – The Jackalopes conclude their extended road swing with two final games in Amarillo this weekend. The Bulls enter the weekend two points out of the 6th and final playoff spot in the South, while Odessa is in last place, 10 points out of a playoff spot. Odessa has put new goalie Tanner Creel to work, as the netminder has started the last 8 games. Amarillo has won all four match-ups this season against the Jacks, including a sweep in Odessa back on December 5-6. Amarillo forward Cody Gylling has six points in his last five games.
Lone Star @ Topeka – The marquee match-up in the South this weekend is the 2nd place Brahmas visiting the 1st place RoadRunners. The Brahmas had their four-game winning streak snapped last weekend in a home overtime loss to Wenatchee. Forward Oskar Andren scored five goals in the two games. Each team has won two of the four games played to date, which all came back in November. The RoadRunners are 2-2 in their last four games with forward Mike Gornall scoring the last two game-winning goals.
Rio Grande Valley @ Wichita Falls – The Wildcats are one point out of 2nd place in the South and look to gain ground as they continue their eight-game homestand with a pair of games against the Killer Bees. Rio Grande Valley is holding onto the 6th and final playoff spot in the South, two points ahead of Amarillo. The Killer Bees have won three of their last four games and goalie Nick Schmit has started the last six straight games. Wichita Falls forward Nick Farmer is maybe the hottest player in the league, with 13 points in his last five games.
Corpus Christi @ Wenatchee – The IceRays, who are solidly in 4th place in the South Division, are still the only team in the NAHL without a road win. They will get a chance to change that starting this weekend as they hit the road for seven straight games beginning with two games in Wenatchee. However, the IceRays only have one regulation loss in their last seven games. The IceRays have won the three previous meetings this season against the Wild wit two of those wins by just a goal. Wild goalie Zach Quinn has started 8 of the last 9 games.
Out of Division
Austin vs. Coulee Region (home and home) – The Chill and the Bruins both look to get back on track as both clubs enter the weekend riding three-game losing streaks. The Chill were swept in three game last week by the Wilderness, while the Bruins dropped two home games in a shootout to division-leading Minot. The teams have played six times thus far with the Chill winning five of those contests, including the last time the teams played one another on New Year’s Eve. Chill goalie Adam Carlson has started 10 of the last 11 games.