NAHL Weekend Preview
October 2, 2015
On the heels of another record-breaking Showcase, the NAHL gets back into the swing of things this weekend with another weekend full of games.
Several teams will have their home openers this weekend, while others look to build off momentum they earned at the Showcase. Both of the teams who went undefeated at the Showcase, Fairbanks and New Jersey, are also in action this weekend. With rosters now finalized at 23 players, coaches can really get moving towards the meat of the season.
In the Central Division, all six teams will see action, which includes Aberdeen visiting the Minnesota Magicians, Austin and Brookings playing in a home and home series and Minot visiting Bismarck on Saturday.
In the East, all four teams will be in action with Aston and New Jersey playing two home games. They will swap opponents as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Johnstown take to the road.
The Midwest is filled with three great series as Fairbanks puts their undefeated record on the line in Janesville, the Kenai River Brown Bears travel to Cloquet to take on the Wilderness and the Springfield Jr. Blues host Coulee region.
In the South, all six teams are in action as Amarillo travels to Corpus Christi for a pair of games. Lone Star takes to the road for a pair in Topeka and Odessa is in Wichita Falls on Saturday.
Aberdeen @ MN Magicians – Aberdeen comes in hot, going 3-1 at the Showcase thanks to the play of players like forward Gavin Payne and goalie Peter Thome, who was lights out. The Magicians also opened their season at the Showcase, going 1-3. Defenseman Travis Brown leads the team in goals with two.
Austin vs. Brookings (home and home) – This ought to be a good series early in the season as both teams looked good at the Showcase. Austin got back on track with a 3-1 record and found a budding superstar in Jade Miller, who had eight points at the event. Brookings forward Kane Durment is also playing well and is one of the league’s early scoring leaders with nine points.
Minot @ Bismarck (Sat) – Minot is tied for the division lead and had a good Showcase, going 3-1. Meanwhile, the Bobcats went 0-4 and look to get back on track against their intra-state rivals. Johnny Walker paces the Minotauros with seven points, while Bismarck forward Willie Brown is 4th in league scoring with 11 points.
Aston hosts Johnstown on Friday, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday: The Rebels, who went 1-3 at the Showcase and sit 2-3 overall play host to two home games this weekend. On Friday, it’s the Johnstown Tomahawks and on Saturday, it’s the Knights. Defenseman Gvido Jansons leads the way with six points in just five games. Johnstown forward Alex Alger, a Miami University recruit, has seven points in 6 games.
New Jersey hosts Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday and Johnstown on Saturday: The Titans are in 1st place in the East and were one of two teams to go undefeated at the NAHL Showcase. Anthony Cusanelli and Raymond Brice share the early scoring lead for the team with six points apiece. The Knights just traded for forward Blake Busch from Brookings, who has three points in his first four games.
It will be a barn-burner of a series in Janesville as the Jets host the undefeated Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Fairbanks is atop of the division and the NAHL for that matter, with a perfect 8-0 record, which included a perfect Showcase. Todd Burgess and Logan Coomes share the NAHL scoring lead with 13 points. Janesville goalie Jack LaFontaine leads the league in shutouts with two.
Coulee Region @ Springfield – Both teams went 2-2 at the NAHL Showcase last weekend. The Jr. Blues are led early by forward Brady Tomlak, who has four points and goalie Tommy Nappier, who got a lot of buzz at the Showcase. Isaac Theisen leads the Chill in scoring with four points. The new rivals are separated by 400 miles in distance.
Kenai River @ MN Wilderness – The Brown Bears were one of two teams to go winless at the Showcase and are in a hole early with a 1-7 record. The Wilderness went 2-1-1 at the Showcase and were led by goalie Chase Munroe at the event. Kenai River forward Jack Gessert has eight points in the team’s first eight games.
Amarillo @ Corpus Christi – Both teams are coming off disappointing 1-3 showings at the Showcase and will be looking to get back on track during the IceRays home opener. Drake Lindsay is the early leader in scoring for the IceRays with five points, while Joey Molinaro has seven points in six games for the Bulls.
Lone Star @ Topeka – The Brahmas showed well at the Showcase, going 3-0-1 at the event and are in a tie for 1st place in the South with nine points. Goaltending has been strong for Lone Star as Corbin Kaczperski and Conor O’Brien have allowed just six goals in the opening five games. Topeka is off to a 4-4 start and defenseman Ryan O’Connor is tied for the team lead with five points.
Odessa @ Wichita Falls (Sat) – Both teams are coming off great showings at the Showcase as Wichita Falls went 3-0-1 and the Jacks went 3-1. The Wildcats have scored 24 goals in the first six games led by Ben Lown’s 10 points. Brandon Tucker and Ryan MacKellar are tied for the scoring lead for Odessa, each with six points.