NAHL Weekend Preview
January 29, 2016
It is another important weekend in the NAHL and while division leaders Fairbanks and Wichita Falls continue to close in on division titles, the races in the other two divisions couldn’t be any tighter.
This weekend offers several intriguing match-ups as all 22 NAHL teams are in action in nothing but divisional match-ups. As a reminder, we are just over a week away from the USA Hockey trading deadline and roster freeze for all US junior teams.
You can watch this weekend’s action live on FASTHockey
MN Magicians vs. Austin (home and home) – Both teams come into the series having been swept last weekend. The Magicians have lost major ground in recent weeks having dropped seven of their last eight games and have fallen into last place in the Central Division, but remain just six points out of the final playoff spot. The Bruins are two points back of Bismarck for 1st place in the Central, but are tied with Minot for 2nd place.
Minot @ Aberdeen – Minot is in a tie for 2nd place in the Central thanks to their weekend sweep last weekend. Aberdeen has climbed out of the Central cellar thanks to just three regulation losses in their last 10 games. Minot holds the season edge in the series to date, 4-2. Wings goalie Peter Thome has allowed just five goals in his last three starts. Minot forward Christian Mohs has eight points in his last five games.
Brookings @ Bismarck – Brookings snapped a five-game losing streak with a win last Saturday in Austin. They remain in the 4th and final playoff spot in the Central and are five points ahead of 5th place Aberdeen. Meanwhile, the Bobcats have won four in a row and eight of their last nine to move into sole possession of 1st place in the Central. Bismarck holds a slight 3-2 edge in the season series with the Blizzard.
Aston vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – The Rebels and Knights will play three times this weekend with the last two games being in Aston. The Rebels are three points ahead of New Jersey for 1st place in the East, which includes a 3-1-1 record in their last five games. Goalie Darion Hanson has allowed just one goal in his last two starts. However, the Knights are on equal ground so far in the season series having won five of the 10 games played against the Rebels to date.
Johnstown @ New Jersey – The Titans are going through their roughest stretch this season, having list their last three and six of their last eight games. Meanwhile, the Tomahawks have climbed up the standings and now sit in a 2nd place tie with the Titans, each with 44 points thanks to a 6-2 run in their last eight games. New Jersey has the edge in the season series with seven wins in the 12 games played between the two teams to date.
Coulee Region @ Springfield – The Chill enter the weekend one of the hottest teams in the league, having won seven of their last eight games, as they now are just one game below .500 and nine points out of the fourth and final playoff spot. The Jr. Blues ended a five-game losing streak with a win this past Saturday in Kenai River, which was the conclusion of a six-game road trip for the Jr. Blues. The two teams have played one another eight times this season, with each club winning four games thus far.
Kenai River @ Fairbanks – Fairbanks has dominated the season series with the Brown Bears, which included a 5-1 win on Thursday night thanks to two goals from Reggie Lutz. Fairbanks has won all 11 games to date played between the two teams. Two of the three Brown Bears wins this season have come in their last six games. Kenai River forward Austin Junger has five points and is a +2 in his last five games.
Janesville @ MN Wilderness – In a Robertson Cup Semi-Final rematch from last season, the Wilderness will host the Jets on Saturday and Sunday. The Wilderness are firmly in 2nd place in the Midwest, having won six of their last seven games played. The Jets have lost their last two games and five of their last seven. However, Janesville holds a 4-2 edge in the season series thus far, which also included a sweep of the Wilderness in Minnesota back on December 30-31.
Lone Star @ Odessa – The Jackalopes return home after seven straight games on the road. Odessa snapped a six-game losing streak with a sweep in Amarillo last weekend and remain in the playoff hunt, just six points back of 4th place Corpus Christi. The 2nd place Brahmas were swept in Wichita Falls last weekend, but managed to pick up a point in each game with an overtime and shootout loss. The Brahmas are 3-1 in the season series against the Jacks this season, which includes a weekend sweep at home earlier this month on January 8-9.
Wichita Falls @ Topeka – With 31 wins and 65 points, the Wildcats lead the NAHL in both categories and have a 10-point lead atop the South Division. The Wildcats have won eight of their last nine games, but have just two wins in four games against the RoadRunners this season. The RoadRunners saw their four-game winning streak come to an end last Friday, but sit just four points back of 2nd place Lone Star. During the week, Topeka acquired Arizona State recruit and forward Johnny Walker from Minot.
Amarillo @ Corpus Christi – With just eight wins this season and having dropped their last seven straight games, this may be the last stand for the Bulls before deciding what to do at the trading deadline. The last Bulls win ironically came against the IceRays back on December 18th and Amarillo has faired well against Corpus Christi this season with four wins in the eight games played to date. The IceRays lead for the 4th and final playoff spot in the South is down to just six points as they have dropped four of their last six outings.