NAHL Weekend Preview
February 26, 2016
The last weekend in February is going to provide several NAHL teams a chance to not only add to their monthly statistics, but in some cases either clinch a playoff spot or drastically improve their playoff chances. For others, it is already playoff time as the race for a playoff spot is already well underway.
This weekend if full of four to six point games in the standings, with all the match-ups being within the divisions. It is sure to provide fans with a lot of excitement as the calendar turns to March.
Watch all the action this weekend live on FASTHockey
MN Magicians vs. Austin (home and home) – The slide for the Bruins continues as they have lost their last five in a row and nine of their last 10 games. That has dropped them into 3rd place, well behind the division leaders of Bismarck and Minot. They have just a five-point lead on 4th place Aberdeen. The Magicians are in last place having dropped five of their last six, but remain just three points out of the final playoff spot. The Magicians have dominated the season series with the Bruins, winning all four games to date.
Aberdeen @ Bismarck – If the playoffs started today, the match-up between the Wings and Bobcats would be a Semi-Final match-up in the Central Division. Both teams have played well of late with the Wings going 4-1-1 in their last six games and the Bobcats winners of their last three and 10 of their last 12. However, the season series has been a one-way street as Bismarck has won all eight games against the Wings to date, which includes wins in Bismarck back on January 23rd and 27th.
Minot @ Brookings – The Blizzard are in a dogfight with Aberdeen for the 4th and final playoff spot in the division, sitting just a point behind the Wings headed into the weekend. Conversely, the race for the Central crown is now down to two teams as the Minotauros are tied with the Bobcats, but Minot has played three more games. Minot is on fire as of late, not having dropped a game in regulation since January 16th, going 8-0-2 in the span. Minot has won four of the six match-ups against Brookings this season.
Aston @ Johnstown – The Rebels and Tomahawks enter the weekend separated by just a single point for 2nd place in the division, so this weekend’s match-up should have plenty of intrigue. The Rebels have lost three of their last four as have failed to win back-to-back games since mid-January. The Tomahawks have also hit a little dry spell, dropping three of their last five games. Aston has a 6-4 edge in the series to date, but the teams split a weekend series in Johnstown two weekends ago.
New Jersey vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – If the playoffs started today, the 1st place Titans would face the 4th place Knights in the East Semi-Finals. New Jersey has tied a season-high winning streak as their current streak is at six straight games. That included three straight wins over the Knights on February 9th, 12th and 13th. New Jersey has won nine of the 13 games played between the two teams to date. New Jersey goalie Spencer Wright has started 10 straight games and has won East Division star of the week honors in back-to-back weeks.
Coulee Region @ MN Wilderness – The Chill are seven points out of the 4th and final playoff spot in the Midwest with 16 games to go. The Wilderness are firmly in 2nd place, nine points ahead of Springfield, but 13 points back of 1st place Fairbanks. The Chill took two of three games from the Wilderness last weekend (all in Coulee Region) and have won nine of their last 12 games. The back-to-back losses last weekend was the first time Minnesota has dropped back-to-back games since late December. Minnesota holds a 4-2 edge in the season series.
Springfield @ Fairbanks – The Ice Dogs are just a point away from clinching a playoff berth and hold the biggest division lead of any of the four leaders at 13 points. Fairbanks has won five in a row and eight of their last nine games. The Ice Dogs haven’t dropped back-to-back games since mid-November. The Jr. Blues, who are in 3rd place in the division, are 4-1-1 in their last six games. Fairbanks has controlled the season series to date, winning all four games, including a weekend sweep of the Jr. Blues in Springfield back on February 12-13.
Janesville @ Kenai River – With the Brown Bears out of the playoff race, they will be looking to play the spoiler against the Jets this weekend. Kenai River has lost 10 straight games. Janesville has won five of six games against Kenai River this season, which includes a weekend sweep back on February 12-13 in Janesville. Jets forwards Taylor Fernandez and Adrian Holesinsky each have seven points in their last five games played.
Amarillo @ Wichita Falls – It is last place against 1st place this weekend as the Bulls visit the Wildcats. The Wildcats have clinched a playoff spot as both Amarillo and Corpus Christi cannot catch them in the standings. The Wildcats have been off since February 13th. The Bulls have won just three out of their last 15 games. The Wildcats have won six of seven games against the Bulls this season, with the Wildcats winning by a combined 12-1 during the last series in Amarillo back on January 15-16. Wildcats defenseman Jeff Baum has five points in his last five games.
Odessa @ Corpus Christi – It is the biggest series of the season and the most important two weeks for both Odessa and Corpus Christi as the two teams who are separated by just a single point for the 4th and final playoff spot in the South, clash this weekend in Corpus Christi. Things may be a little more urgent for the IceRays, as they have played two more games than the Jacks. The two teams will also square off in Odessa next weekend and then back in Corpus Christi on March 25-26. The IceRays hold a 4-2 edge in the season series.
Topeka @ Lone Star – Topeka returns from a two-week break with a firm hold on 3rd place in the South. They enter the weekend 10 points behind 2nd place Lone Star with a game in hand. If the playoffs started today, these two clubs would play in the South Semi-Finals. The RoadRunners and Brahmas haven’t faced one another since late December and have only played four times so far this season with Topeka holding a 3-1 edge. Lone Star forward Tomas Brejcha has five points in his last five games.