NAHL Weekend Preview
February 5, 2016
With the USA Hockey junior trading deadline and roster freeze just a few days away, the teams in the NAHL are in the final stages of preparing for the stretch run as the league is two-thirds through the 2015-16 regular season.
This weekend features more intriguing divisional match-ups and playoff berths are going to begin to be clinched soon. In case you missed it, here is a link to the NAHL’s Robertson Cup Playoff format.
Games will take place on Friday and Saturday with everyone off on Sunday. The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is just over a week away in Plymouth, Michigan.
You can watch all this weekend’s action live on FASTHockey
In the Central Division, Aberdeen is at Minot, while Brookings is on the road twice in Austin on Friday and Richfield on Saturday to take on the Magicians.
In the East Division, Johnstown is on the road twice in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday and in New Jersey on Saturday. The Knights will take to the road on Saturday to face Aston.
In the Midwest, Fairbanks is at Janesville for a pair of games and Kenai River is at Springfield for a series.
In the South Division, Topeka is at Amarillo for a series, Wichita Falls is at Odessa and Corpus Christi is at Lone Star.
Outside of the Divisions, the Minnesota Wilderness are in Bismarck for a pair of games. Coulee Region is on the road twice as they play at the Magicians on Friday and Austin on Saturday.
Aberdeen @ Minot – Minot is rolling, as they have won four straight and six of their last seven games. Newly acquired goalie Gunner Rivers started and won both games last weekend as Minot swept Aberdeen. The Minotauros have won six of the eight games to date against the Wings. Aberdeen is just four points out of the 4th and final playoff spot in the Central Division.
Brookings @ Austin (Fri) – The Bruins look to halt their four-game slide this weekend beginning on Friday against Brookings. The Bruins have slipped from 1st to 3rd place in recent weeks and now just sit five points ahead of Brookings, who are in 4th place. The Blizzard are also on a slide, having lost seven of their last eight. Their last win game two weeks ago as they beat the Bruins 6-1 in Brookings.
Brookings @ MN Magicians (Sat) – The Magicians enter the weekend with the same number of wins and one less game played than the Blizzard and are just two points back of Brookings for the 4th and final playoff spot in the Central. Brookings holds a slight 4-3 edge in the series to date. The Magicians have won three of their last five games.
Johnstown @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (Fri) – The Knights have won three of their last four and are 4-1-1 in their last six games, which included a 5-2 win in New Jersey on Thursday night. The Tomhawks are also playing well having gone 4-0-1 in their last five games. The Tomahawks are 5-3 against the Knights this season with half the games being decided in overtime or a shootout.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton @ Aston (Sat) – The Rebels play their lone game of the weekend at home on Saturday, while the Knights will be playing their third game in as many nights. The Rebels have won three of their last five, but dropped two of three games last weekend to the Knights. The Knights hold a 7-6 advantage in the 13 games between the two teams to date.
Johnstown @ New Jersey (Sat) – New Jersey has just one win in their last six games and three in their last 11, which has seen them drop all the way from 1st to 3rd place in the East Division. The Tomahawks took three of four points in a two-game series last weekend in New Jersey, but the Titans hold an 8-6 edge in the series to date.
Fairbanks @ Janesville – At 12 points, the Ice Dogs enjoy the largest lead of any of the four division leaders in the NAHL. 19 points behind them in 3rd place are the Jets. Fairbanks has won eight of their last nine games and forward Reggie Lutz was just named Forward of the Month. Janesville is 3-1-2 in their last six games and have also won all four match-ups this season against Fairbanks.
Kenai River @ Springfield – The Jr. Blues and Brown Bears split a weekend series two weeks ago in Kenai River and while the Brown Bears have been eliminated from playoff contention, there is still plenty on the line for the Jr. Blues, who are in a tie for 3rd place in the Midwest. The Jr. Blues have won two of their last three games, while Kenai River has lost their last four.
Topeka @ Amarillo – The Bulls enter the weekend 16 points out of the 4th and final playoff spot and have made some moves in recent weeks. They snapped an eight-game losing streak with a win on Sunday last weekend in Corpus Christi, which was their first win of the New Year. The RoadRunners are holding steady in 3rd place in the South thanks to a 5-2 run in their last seven. Topeka swept the only series to date between the two teams back on December 2-3.
Wichita Falls @ Odessa – The Jackalopes edged closer to the 4th and final playoff spot in the South with a 3-2 win over the Wildcats on Thursday night. Newly acquired goalie Jon Flakne has started and won the last two games and the Jackalopes are 4-1 in their last five games. Their win over the Wildcats was their first of the season in eight tries. The Wildcats lead atop the South remains at 10 points.
Corpus Christi @ Lone Star – The IceRays lead for the 4th and final playoff spot in the South is down to just four points. The IceRays have won three of their last eight games. The Brahmas hold a 3-2 edge in the series to date and have just two regulation losses in their last 10 games. Brahmas defenseman Dalton Skelly was just named NAHL Defenseman of the Month earlier in the week.
Out of Division
MN Wilderness @ Bismarck – The Bobcats try and keep ahold of 1st place in the Central with a home series against the Wilderness, who are in 2nd place in the Midwest. The teams split their only other series to date, which came back on October 30-31 in Cloquet. Bismarck is the hottest team in the NAHL, having won their last six games and 10 of their last 11 outings. Goalie Hunter Shepard was just named the NAHL Goalie of the Month.
Coulee Region @ MN Magicians (Fri) – Despite a 8-2 run in their last 10 games, the Chill remain 10 points out of the 4th and final playoff spot in the Midwest, but sit just a game below. 500 after being seven games below just a month ago. Three of the four game against the Magicians this season have been decided by a goal, with each team winning twice.
Coulee Region @ Austin (Sat) – The Chill picked up a 4-1 win in Austin back on January 22nd as the two teams have split the six games played to date against one another, 3-3. Chill forward Dominik Florian has 10 points in his last five games, while Austin forward Gilbert Gabor has six points in his last five games.