NAHL Weekend Preview
December 26, 2015
Despite the lack of games, the only series this weekend in the NAHL is a very intriguing South Division match-up between the Lone Star Brahmas and the Topeka RoadRunners, who will battle Saturday and Sunday in Topeka.
Both teams are tied for 2nd place in the South Division with 40 points, although Topeka has played four more games. They both sit nine points behind division-leading Wichita Falls.
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The following is a weekend preview courtesy of Richard Kelly, special to the Topeka Capital Journal:
The Topeka RoadRunners are looking to start another winning streak. To do that, they will have to pass a tough test this weekend against the Lone Star Brahmas.
Topeka (20-12-0), which lost last Saturday after winning its previous 10 games, will be vying to get another streak going Saturday and Sunday at Landon Arena.
Meanwhile, Lone Star (18-6-4) just completed a three-game road sweep of the Wichita Falls Wildcats, the top team in the North American Hockey League’s South Division.
The RoadRunners and Brahmas, who haven’t faced off since Oct. 2-3, currently sit tied for second in the NAHL South at 40 points apiece, in what promises to be a competitive series.
Forward Alex Berardinelli leads Lone Star’s scoring attack heading into the series, with 13 goals on the season.
“Lone Star plays at a really good pace,” RoadRunners coach Scott Langer said. “They get the puck moving to the north in a hurry and try to beat you with their speed. They are going to be full of confidence coming into our building, and we’ve got to be ready.”
Topeka will look to combat Berardinelli with its own offensive prowess, including the likes of forward Dominic Lutz, who leads his team with 15 goals.
With forward Luka Maver off to play for Slovenia in the World Junior Championships, goaltender Tyler Johnson playing for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, and forward Carlos Fornaris battling a lower body injury, the RoadRunners felt a bit depleted the last few weeks.
Langer said he’s happy with how they faced the adversity of having to make substitutions. He went on to say most of his players will be back and healthy for this weekend’s series.
“Having most of our guys back this weekend is definitely going to make us a stronger hockey team,” Langer said.
In Johnson’s absence, Juho Niko has manned the Topeka net, where he is now 6-2-0 on the season.