NAHL Weekend Preview
January 22, 2016
The Top Prospects breakdown has come and gone and now NAHL teams prepare for the next two weeks, which will see them jockey for position in the standings with the USA Hockey trade deadline looming in early February.
In the next two weeks, teams should know if they will be looking to add at the deadline or looking to stock up on some tenders and/or draft picks.
You can watch all the action this weekend live on FASTHockey
The Central Division features games-a-plenty and the standings are tight. Just four points separates 1st and 3rd place and the race for the 4th and final playoff spot is just as tight. Minot has a two game series in Minnesota against the Magicians, while Brookings is home twice. Austin has an out of division game on Friday, followed by a trip to Brookings on Saturday. Aberdeen, who is six points out of the final playoff spot, will be tested with two road games at Brookings and Bismarck.
In the East, New Jersey and Aston are scheduled for a home-and-home series, while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is at Johnstown.
In the Midwest, 1st and 2nd place collide as Fairbanks hosts the Wilderness. The Jr. Blues are in Kenai River for a two-game set. Janesville is at Coulee Region for a single game on Saturday. The Chill are out of the division on Friday facing Austin.
In the South Division, Odessa is at Amarillo for a pair of games with both teams on the outside looking in the playoff picture. 1st and 2nd place collide as Wichita Falls hosts Lone Star. Topeka is at Corpus Christi for three games, which began on Thursday night with a 4-1 win by Topeka.
Minot @ MN Magicians – Both teams have struggled in their last 10 games. Minnesota sits four points out of the 4th and final playoff spot in the Central, while Minot is four points back of 1st place in the division. The Magicians hold a 3-1 edge in the season series to date, however the two teams split a weekend series in Minot last weekend.
Aberdeen @ Brookings (Fri) – The Blizzard have just two wins in their last 10 games, but are still holding onto 4th place in the Central. The Wings have played the Blizzard close this season, with the Wings holding a 5-3 edge so far. Four of the games have been decided in overtime, which includes the last time the two teams met back on January 13th, which resulted in a 3-2 OT win for Aberdeen.
Austin @ Brookings (Sat) – Austin and Brookings met twice last weekend with the Bruins coming away with the weekend sweep by a combined 10-2 score, although the Saturday night game went to overtime. The Bruins are a perfect 4-0 against the Blizzard this season. Blizzard forward Griff Jeszka has six points in his last five games, while Austin’s Gilbert Gabor has seven points in his last five games.
Aberdeen @ Bismarck (Sat) – The lone game for the Bobcats on the weekend comes on Saturday as they host the Wings. The Bobcats have won six of their last seven games, which included a weekend sweep of the Wings last weekend in a home-and-home series by scores of 5-1 and 3-2 in overtime. The Bobcats are perfect 6-0 against Aberdeen this season.
New Jersey vs. Aston (home and home) – The top two teams in the East do battle once again this weekend. While the Titans are a point behind the Rebels for 1st place in the East, the Rebels have played one more game. The two teams played earlier this week on Monday afternoon with the Rebels posting a 4-0 shutout. The Rebels have won the last two outings against New Jersey via the shutout and hold a 5-2 edge overall against the Titans this season.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton @ Johnstown – The Tomahawks have won five of their last seven games, included two wins last weekend on the road. Johnstown forward Casey Linkenheld has five points in his last five games. Johnstown holds a slight 4-3 edge in the series to date, which includes a 2-1 win on December 19th during the last time the two teams played. The Knights have won three of their last five games.
MN Wilderness @ Fairbanks – It is a battle of the top two teams in the Midwest as the Wilderness visits Fairbanks. Both teams come in on a hot streak with the Ice Dogs having won their last four games and the Wilderness having won five in a row. The two teams haven’t played one another since mid-September when the Ice Dogs swept the Wilderness in Minnesota. Reggie Lutz and Tyler Tomberlin both have nine points in their last five games, while Wilderness goalie Luke Kania is 4-0 in his last four starts.
Springfield @ Kenai River – The Jr. Blues have dropped their last four games, while the Brown Bears are still looking for their first win under new head coach Jeff Worlton. This is the first meeting of the year between the two clubs, who will meet again in Springfield on February 5-6. The Jr. Blues have won six of their last 17 games to drop to 4th place in the Midwest. Kenai River forward Joey Sardina has six points in his last 10 games.
Janesville @ Coulee Region (Sat) – In the continuing battle of Wisconsin, the Jets travel for their lone game of the weekend to Coulee Region. The two teams split a home-and-home series last weekend with each team winning at home. Overall, the Jets hold a 4-2 edge in the season series. The Jets have lost four of their last six games, while the Chill have won five of their last six games.
Odessa @ Amarillo – Both Odessa and Amarillo need wins badly, which makes this weekend’s set of games important for both. The Bulls come into the weekend having lost five games in a row, while the Jackalopes have lost six in a row. The Jackalopes hold a 3-2 edge thus far in the series, but the last game between the two clubs was all the way back on November 22nd. Odessa forward Hampus Sjodahl has seven points in his last five games, while Charlie Singerhouse has three points in his last five games.
Lone Star @ Wichita Falls – It is a battle of 1st and 2nd place in Wichita Falls as the Wildcats host the Brahmas. The Wildcats saw their six-game winning streak come to an end on Monday afternoon in Lone Star by a score to 4-2. The teams have played 10 times thus far with each club winning five times. Wichita Falls forward Austin Beaulieu has eight points in his last five games, while Lone Star forward Alex Berardinelli has seven points in his last five games.
Topeka @ Corpus Christi – The RoadRunners took Game 1 of the three-game set on Thursday night with a 4-1 win. Quinn Preston had two goals and three points in the win and has five points in his last five games. With 40 games played, Topeka has just 20 games remaining in the regular season and sit two points back of 2nd place Lone Star thanks to a four-game winning streak. The IceRays still hold a 4-3 edge in the series.
Out of Division
Coulee Region @ Austin (Fri) The Chill make the short drive West to take on the Bruins on Friday in the only out of division match-up this weekend. While the Bruins hold a slight 3-2 edge in the series, the Chill won 5-2 during the last time the two teams played back on December 31st.