NAHL Weekend Preview
November 13, 2015
Valuable positioning in all four divisions is on the line this weekend in the NAHL as all 22 teams are in action.
It is also a rare weekend set of games when all 11 series are within team’s divisions. The games began early this weekend and the NAHL will have games on Friday and Saturday, with no games on Sunday.
Three of the four division leaders are feeling the heat with their leads at four points or less. To this point 29% of the regular season is in the books.
In the Central Division, 1st place Minot and last place Aberdeen square off in a home-and-home series. 2nd place Austin will visit Bismarck, who is in a 4th place tie with the Magicians. The Magicians will be on the road against 3rd place Brookings.
In the East, things are tightening up as 1st place New Jersey will play twice on the road in Aston against the 2nd place Rebels, who are just three points behind. In the other series, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is at Johnstown.
In the Midwest, 1st place Fairbanks hosts Janesville, who is in 4th place. The 2nd place Minnesota Wilderness are at 3rd place Springfield. In the final series, 5th place Coulee Region is at Kenai River, who are in last place.
In the South, 1st place Wichita Falls will host 3rd place Topeka. 5th place Amarillo is at 2nd place Lone Star and 4th place Odessa comes back from a weekend off to face the IceRays who are in last place.
Minot vs. Aberdeen (home and home) – The Wings enter the weekend trying to snap an eight-game losing streak, while Minot has won their last two games and their division lead sits at three points. This is the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Minot picked up a 4-3 shootout win last Saturday in Aberdeen.
Austin @ Bismarck – Bismarck is starting to gain some momentum and have won five of their last eight games. Hunter Shepard has started the last five games in goal and allowed just six goals in that time frame. The Bobcats hosted the Bruins back on September 18-19 in the opening weekend of the season and swept the Bruins. Austin goalie Kris Carlson is 3-1 and has a save percentage of 93.9% in his last five games.
MN Magicians @ Brookings – The Blizzard have played well as of late, going 3-0-1 in their last four games. The Blizzard have faced the Magicians three times this season and hold a 2-1 edge. That included a home and home series last weekend. Brookings forward Griff Jeszka has six points in his last five games. Magicians goalie Will Ulrich has played well of late, winning two of his last three starts.
New Jersey @ Aston – 1st place is on the line in Aston this weekend as the Rebels host the Titans, which includes the NAPHL event going on at the Iceworks complex. Aston is perhaps the hottest team in the NAHL, winners of 11 of their last 13 games. New Jersey has also been playing well, winning four of their last five games. The two teams have played twice to date with Aston winning both times by 3-2 scores.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton @ Johnstown – The Knights and Tomahawks will play games 2 and 3 of the series on Friday and Saturday after the Knights began the three-game set with a 4-1 win on Thursday. Johnstown has los five in a row. Each team has won twice thus far in the season series. Braden Brown and Paul Maust each have five points in their last five games.
MN Wilderness @ Springfield – The Wilderness have been climbing the standings thanks to being one of the hottest teams in the NAHL, winning 12 of their last 14 games. Wilderness goalies Luke Kania and Chase Munroe have been key factors in the run, allowing just five goals in the team’s last five games. This is the first meeting of the year between the two teams. Jr. Blues forward Luke Radetic has four points in his last five games.
Janesville @ Fairbanks – The Ice Dogs are rolling, winning five straight and eight of their last nine games. Meanwhile, the Jets have lost four of their last five. The two teams met back on October 2-3 in Janesville with the Jets coming away with a series sweep. Janesville forward Nils Rygaard, who recently committed to Alaska-Anchorage, has three points in his last four games. Fairbanks forward Todd Burgess has 13 points in his last five games.
Coulee Region @ Kenai River – With both the Chill and Brown Bears on the outside looking in of the Midwest playoff picture, this weekend is close to a must win for both teams to get back on track. The Brown Bears have dropped 16 in a row, while the Chill have lost five of their last seven games. Chill goalie Matiss Kivlenieks has allowed just four goals in his last two starts, stopping 64 of 68 shots in the process. Brown Bears forward Jack Gessert has four points in his last five games.
Topeka @ Wichita Falls – The Wildcats sit atop of the South standings thanks to winning nine of their last 11 games. The two teams met up in Topeka the first week of the season with each club winning a game. Wildcats goalie Julian Sime is 3-0 in his last three starts with a 95.2% save percentage and a 1.00 goals against average. Topeka forward Cam Strong has seven points in his last five games.
Amarillo @ Lone Star – The Brahmas return after a weekend off and winners of five of their last six games. The Brahmas have only lost once in regulation so far this season. Brahmas goalie Corbin Kaczperski is 3-0 in his last three starts, allowing just two goals in that span with a 96.7% save percentage. Meanwhile, Bulls goal Anton Martinsson has a very respectable 93.1% save percentage on the season, which is very good considering he leads the NAHL in saves and shots faced.
Corpus Christi @ Odessa – The Jacks haven’t played a game since October 24th, but have won two of their last three games. The IceRays were also off last week and have lost seven of their last eight games. This weekend’s games are the first two meetings of the year between the two clubs. Forward Drake Lindsay leads the IceRays in scoring with 10 points in 16 games, while Brandon Tucker leads the Jackalopes with 14 points in 13 games played.