NAHL Weekend Preview
March 20, 2015
Just two weeks remain in the NAHL regular season and there is still much to decided in the race for playoff berths and playoff positioning. There is only one out of division series as the rest of the clubs will battle it out amongst divisional rivals.
Minot vs. Aberdeen (home and home) – Minot enters the weekend with Aberdeen still with an outside shot of winning division, although they will need to win and get some help. The Minotauros are three points behind Austin, but the defense has been clicking of late. Minot has posted back-to-back shutouts and allowed just three goals in their last four games. The Wings meanwhile, need just a couple more wins to lock up the 4th and final playoff spot in the Central Division.
Austin vs. Brookings (home and home) – The Bruins can close in on the Central title with a couple of wins this weekend against the Blizzard. Brookings needs to likely win out to have a chance to grab the last playoff spot in the Central Division. The Bruins are one of the hottest teams in the league currently, having won eight of their last nine games. However, their last two losses this season has been to the Blizzard.
MN Magicians vs. Coulee Region (home and home) – Two playoff-bound teams match-up this weekend as Coulee Region and the Magicians tangle in a home-and-home series. Both will start the playoffs in two weeks, but there is business to be done first. Each team has won three times against one another in the six games played. The Magicians have dropped their last four in a row, while the Chill have lost their last six, so something has to give.
Fairbanks @ Kenai River – Fairbanks has everything to play for as they enter the weekend in a dead heat with the Wilderness for 1st place in the Midwest Division. The Brown Bears have been eliminated from playoff contention, so at this point they are playing the spoiler role. The Ice Dogs are 5-1-1 in their last seven games and are 11-1 against the Brown Bears this season. Kenai River has allowed just two goals in their last two games.
Soo @ Johnstown –Things are suddenly very tight in the North Division for the 4th and final playoff spot. The Tomahawks are holding down the final spot, but just by a single point over Michigan and only three points ahead of Springfield. The Eagles are in a race for home ice and have a one point lead over Keystone for 2nd place in the division. The Eagles have won three of their last four games and have a 4-3 record against the Tomahawks so far this season.
Michigan @ Keystone – Winner of their last five in a row, the Warriors are playing some of their best hockey of the season. The Warriors have done it with offense, scoring 21 goals in that stretch. Forward Tyler Groat as seven points in his last four games and goalie Ryan Wischow is 4-0 in his last four starts. Michigan also holds a 6-4 edge in the series so far this season. The Ice Miners are just 2-5 in their last seven games.
Springfield @ Janesville – The Jets are playing for history, while the Jr. Blues need as many wins as they can get. With four games to go, the Jets are just three wins away from equaling the all-time NAHL record for wins in a season. Four wins would get the Jets both the wins record and the points record. Springfield is three points out of the 4th and final playoff spot in the North Division. Janesville is a perfect 4-0 against the Jr. Blues this season. Springfield has won three of their last four games.
Corpus Christi @ Odessa – Odessa defeated the IceRays 3-1 on Thursday night and goalie Tanner Creel led the way. The Jacks have now won four of their last five games and Creel has led the way. In his last four starts, Creel is 4-0 with 92.4% save percentage. Razmuz Waxin-Engback has eight points in his last five games. The IceRays have all but locked up the #4 seed in the South. Forward Wes Michaud has four goals and seven points in his last four games.
Amarillo @ Topeka – It is all on the line this weekend for the cardiac Bulls, who have put themselves right in the thick of the South playoff race with a 5-1 run in their last six games. That included a weekend home sweep of the RoadRunners in Amarillo earlier this month. The RoadRunners sit four points out of the top spot in the South and have lost four of their last five games. Topeka has won four of the six match-ups to date this season between the two clubs.
Wichita Falls @ Rio Grande Valley – The two teams split a pair of games on Thursday night, with the Wildcats taking the conclusion of their postponed game from December with the Killer Bees then taking the regularly scheduled game, 2-1. Defenseman Kevin Clare scored just his second goal of the season as the overtime-winner. Rio Grande’s win snapped a five-game losing skid and moved them into 5th place in the South. With four games to go, the Wildcats are two points out of 1st place in the South.
Lone Star @ Wenatchee – The Brahmas will try their best to lock up the South Division title with a pair of games in Wenatchee, while the Wild are just trying to hold on and make the playoffs. The Wild have lost four of their last five games and are just three points ahead of Amarillo for the 6th and final playoff spot in the South. The two teams split their only games to date, which took place in Texas back on January 9-10. Hunter Stanley has seven points in his last four games for the Brahmas.
Out of Division
Bismarck @ MN Wilderness – With a couple of recent wins, the Wilderness pulled back into a 1st place tie with Fairbanks for the top spot in the Midwest Division. Bismarck has lost four in a row and will likely be the #3 seed coming out of the Central Division. Two of those four losses for the Bobcats have been shutouts by their opponents. Bismarck does have a 4-2 edge in the six games played to date between the two clubs. The two teams split a weekend series at the end of February in Bismarck.