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NAHL Weekend Preview

December 4, 2015
It has already been a busy week in the NAHL with several teams playing games on Wednesday and Thursday. In the South Division, Topeka completed a sweep of the Amarillo Bulls, while the Wichita Falls Wildcats won their lone game of the week.
Three of the four divisions have some incredible races going on for the top spots in the divisions. Other teams towards the bottom of the divisions have some work to do to try and get in playoff position.
Four teams are currently riding winning streaks of two games or more, while seven teams are looking to snap losing streaks of two games or more.
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In the Central Division, Aberdeen, who is five points out of the final playoff spot is at 2nd place Austin and 1st place Minot plays and home-and-home series with 5th place Bismarck.
In the East, things have tightened considerably and the schedule will be Aston, who is in a 2nd place tie, face 4th place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, while 1st place New Jersey is in Johnstown for three games to face the Tomahawks, who are in a 2nd place tie.
In the Midwest, 5th place Coulee Region is at 4th place Springfield and 1st place Fairbanks is in Kenai River for three games against the last place Brown Bears.
In the South, many games have already been played and just two remain. 5th place Corpus Christi finishes their series on Friday in 4th place Odessa and 2nd place Lone Star is in last place Amarillo on Saturday.
Outside the divisions has one match-up as Janesville is in Brookings.
Central Division
Aberdeen @ Austin – Austin has won four of their last six games and are knocking on the door of 1st place.  The Wings need wins bad to try and get back into playoff positioning.  The Bruins have won the only two previous games, which came on October 23-24 in Aberdeen. The Wings have two wins in their last 14 games. Goalie Peter Thome was runner-up for NAHL Goalie of the Month in November.
Minot vs. Bismarck (home and home) – The battle of North Dakota resumes this weekend in one of the league’s best rivalries. Bismarck hasn’t won back-to-back games since late October, while Minot’s division lead sits at just two points. Minot has won both meetings to date, including a 2-1 win on November 10th, which is the last time the team’s face one another. Bismarck has scored 16 goals in their last three games.
East Division
Aston vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (home and home) - Aston has cooled off a bit since their torrid five weeks in October and into November. They have won just two of their last six games. The Knights have heated up, winning four of their last six. In the six games played between the two teams this season, Aston holds a 4-2 edge.
New Jersey @ Johnstown – 1st place New Jersey is in Johnstown for three games this weekend. Johnstown is 4-1-1 in their last six games, while New Jersey has lost three of their last five games. New Jersey has controlled the season series, winning six of the eight games to date between the two clubs, although two of the last three games have been decided by a goal. Johnstown forward Luke Lynch was runner-up for Forward of the Month in November
Midwest Division
Coulee Region @ Springfield – The Chill enter their weekend in Springfield having dropped their last four straight games, while the Jr. Blues are also on a four-game slide, so something has to give. All of Springfield’s recent losses came to Topeka. The two teams have played four times to date, coming in back-to-back weekend’s in early October. The Jr. Blues have won three of the four games and three of the four games have been decided by just one goal.
Fairbanks @ Kenai River – The Brown Bears face a tall task to try and snap their current 20-game losing streak as they host 1st place Fairbanks for three games. The Ice Dogs have won all seven games against the Brown Bears this season. Fairbanks forward Todd Burgess has been dominant in the series with 17 points in the seven wins. Fairbanks enters the weekend having lost three of their last four games.
South Division
Corpus Christi @ Odessa (Fri) – Thanks to 29 saves from Dryden McKay, the IceRays picked up a much-need win on Thursday night in Odessa. The IceRays will try and complete what would be their second sweep of the season with the backend game on Friday. Odessa has found it tough sledding recently, dropping five of their last six games. Before last night, the Jackalopes had won the two previous games against Corpus Christi.
Lone Star @ Amarillo (Sat) – Amarillo was swept earlier in the week in Topeka, while Lone Star dropped a Thursday game in Wichita Falls. The Bulls have lost nine straight games and have had trouble generating offense as they average a league low 24.63 shots per game. The Brahmas have dominated the season series to date, winning all nine games against the Bulls this season, including a pair last weekend.
Out of Division
Janesville @ Brookings – The red-hot Jets are flying right now, winners of their last six straight games. This is the first of four match-ups between the two teams, who will play in Janesville in early January. Brookings has a 4-1-1 record in their last six games. Blizzard defenseman TJ Samec was runner-up for NAHL Defenseman of the Month in November.
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