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NAHL Weekend Preview

February 13, 2015
Just seven weekends remain in the 2014-15 NAHL regular season and it is crunch time for teams across the NAHL landscape. In some cases, playoff spots have already been clinched, but all four division titles are still up for grabs.
 
All the games this weekend can be viewed live on FASTHockey
 
Click here for updated scores
 
Central Division
Aberdeen @ Bismarck (Fri) – For the third weekend in a row, Bismarck and Aberdeen will tangle. It has netted somewhat positive results for the Bobcats who have won two of the three of the latest match-ups and are 7-1-1 in the series against Aberdeen this season. Jared Pike and Jared Turcotte both have six points in their last five games for the Bobcats, while Michael Soucier has seven points in his last five games.
 
Austin vs. Brookings (home-and-home) – With 17 games to go, the Blizzard find themselves four points out of the 4th and final playoff spot in the Central Division. They do have three games this weekend, but it will be a tall order with two against 1st place Austin. The Bruins have not lost a game in regulation in their last 11 and are 8-0-3 in that span. Goalie Evan Smith has allowed just three goals in his last three games played with a save percentage of 96% in that span.
 
Bismarck @ Minot (Sat) – Minot has their lone game of the weekend against Bismarck a night after the Bobcats host Aberdeen. Minot holds a 5-3 edge in the series to date, but the Minotauros have stumbled of late losing four of their last five games and have dropped to 2nd place in the division. The last time the two teams played was back on January 15th with the Bobcats picking up a 5-2 win in Minot. Minotauros forward Nick Monfils has four points in his last five games.
 
Midwest Division
Fairbanks @ Kenai River – The Ice Dogs come into their series in Kenai River having won nine of 10 games against the Brown Bears so far this season, which included a weekend sweep in Fairbanks last weekend and a sweep in Kenai River back on January 16-17. The Ice Dogs have won 10 of their last 12, which has enabled them to stay in the race for the Midwest Division crown. Forward Jesper Ohrvall has 12 goals in his last nine games. The Brown Bears have won just twice in their last 22 games.
 
MN Wilderness @ MN Magicians (Sat) – The Magicians are clinging to the 4th and final playoff spot in the Midwest Division, while the Wilderness continue to roll. The Wilderness are coming off a 5-3 win at home over Coulee Region on Thursday night, in which forward Niklas Lehtimaki had a hat-trick. The Wilderness have won seven of the nine games played to date against the Magicians. Wilderness forward Tyler Cline has seven points in his last five games, while Magicians defenseman Sam Becker has four points in his last five games.
 
North Division
Janesville @ Keystone – A battle of 1st and 2nd place takes place this weekend in Connellsville as Keystone hosts Janesville. Both teams come in with some very good play recently. Keystone has just one regulation loss in their last 14 games and are 11-1-2 in that time span. The Jets, who own the league’s best record at 36-9-1, have won 10 in a row and 20 of their last 21 games. Janesville forward Mitch Fossier is red-hot, scoring nine points in his last five games. Keystone forward Matt Jones is riding a four-game point streak.
 
Springfield @ Michigan – The Warriors are fresh off their first series sweep since October and come into their series against the Jr. Blues with both teams on the outside looking in the playoffs. Both teams have just 15 games remaining and the Warriors are four points back and the Jr. Blues are just one point back. Michigan was able to take three of four points the last time the two teams met, which was back in Springfield on January 16-17. Michigan forward Peter Bates has five points in his last five games.
 
Soo @ Johnsotwn – Johnstown comes into the game fresh off a come-from-behind 4-3 shootout win on Thursday over Keystone. Casey Linkenheld had a goal and an assist in the win and now has nine points in his last five games. It has been since late November since the two teams have faced one another, with Johnstown holding a 3-2 edge to date in the series. The Eagles have lost five of their last six and have dropped to 4th place in the North in that time span. The Eagles have allowed 22 goals in their last five games.
 
South Division
Corpus Christi @ Amarillo – The Bulls, who have made the playoffs in each of their first four seasons in the NAHL, are in jeopardy of missing out this season as they now sit four points out of the 6th and final playoff spot in the South with 16 games to go. The Bulls are 2-4-1 in their last seven games and haven’t faced the IceRays since mid-December, a series that Corpus Christi swept. However, each clubs has two wins in the four game series to date. IceRays defenseman Anthony Cortese has six points in his last four games played. 
 
Odessa @ Wichita Falls – The Wildcats take to the ice for the first time since February 4th and have the advantage of having 19 games remaining in the regular season, the most of any team in the NAHL. The Wildcats and the Jackalopes have played five times so far this season with Wichita Falls holding a 3-2 edge, but the teams haven’t played one another since late November. The Jacks are in last place in the South, 18 points back of the 6th and final playoff spot. Odessa has lost four in a row and 10 of their last 11.
 
Lone Star @ Rio Grande Valley – The Killer Bees are coming off an exciting 3-2 shootout win at home on Thursday night over the Brahmas. It gives Rio Grande Valley four wins in their last five games as they are holding onto the 6th and final playoff spot in the South. Killer Bees forward Dallas Gerads has four goals in his last five games played. The win on Thursday night was the first one this season for Rio Grande Valley in six tries against the Brahmas this season. Lone Star has three shootout losses in their last four games.
 
Topeka @ Wenatchee – Thanks to 30 saves from NHL prospect Matej Tomek, the Topeka RoadRunners took the first game of a three game weekend set in Wenatchee on Thursday with a 2-1 win. The RoadRunners, who have a five-point lead in the South Division, have won four of their last five games. The RoadRunners have won six of the seven games played to date in their series with the Wild. Wenatchee forward Kyle Stephan has eight points in his last five games played.
 
Out-of-Division
Brookings @ Coulee Region – The Chill, who lost to the Minnesota Wilderness on Thursday night, will play their second game of the weekend on Sunday in the lone out-of-division game this weekend against the Brookings Blizzard, who will be coming off of a home-and-home set with Austin. The Blizzard took three of four points in their only series to date, which came back in Brookings on October 3-4. Blizzard forward Nate Colwell has seven points in his last five games. Coulee Region got three points from Kevin Shand in their loss to Minnesota on Thursday.
 
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