NAHL Weekend Preview
March 25, 2016
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) takes to the ice this weekend as just three weeks remain until the Robertson Cup Playoffs.
There is only a short window remaining for teams to try and earn points to get into playoff position as playoff spots and home-ice advantage is on the line. Games are just on Friday and Saturday this weekend, as everyone is off on Easter Sunday.
The 2016 Robertson Cup Playoffs begin April 14th.
Watch all the action this weekend live on FASTHockey
Austin @ Aberdeen – While the Bruins look to lock down a playoff spot, the Wings are in a much more desperate of a situation. The Wings are in a tie for the 4th and final playoff spot with six games to go and are behind in the wins column so, every point from here on out is important. The Bruins have controlled the season series to date, wining six of the eight games. The Wings have lost four of their last five, while Austin has lost two straight.
Brookings @ Bismarck – While the Bobcats are assured of home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs, they still are in a tight battle for the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Blizzard are in a must-win situation. With six games to go, the Blizzard trail Aberdeen and the Magicians for the 4th and final playoff spot by three points. Brookings is coming off two wins last weekend, while the Bobcats were shutout by Minot on Thursday. Bismarck has won seven of the 10 games in the season series.
Johnstown @ Aston – Johnstown is locked into the #3 seed heading into the Robertson Cup Playoffs, so there is not much to play for other than pride and staying healthy. The Rebels have a totally different reason as they are in a tie with the New Jersey Titans for 1st place in the East with the exact same record at 33-19-4 with four games to go. The Rebels have won four in a row, which included a weekend sweep in Johnstown last weekend. The Rebels have won nine of the 14 games played in the series.
Springfield @ Janesville – Thanks to a 3-2 win on Thursday of the Jr. Blues, the Jets came within one win of locking down a playoff spot and are now just three points back of the 2nd place Wilderness. Meanwhile, the Jr. Blues are in a tight spot with just five games to go. Springfield has a one point lead on Coulee Region, but the Chill have two games in hand. Springfield’s last five games are all against the Jets with two more this weekend and three next weekend. The Jr. Blues still hold a 5-2 edge in the season series.
MN Wilderness @ Coulee Region (Fri) – The Chill will try and complete their weekend sweep of the Wilderness after winning on Thursday night, 6-3 over Minnesota. The Chill sit just one point out of the 4th and final playoff spot in the Midwest with two games in hand. Each team has won four times in the series, but the Chill have won the last four match-ups and have the momentum. The Wilderness have qualified for the playoffs, but have lost four of their last six games.
Lone Star @ Amarillo – It is looking more and more like the Brahmas will have to settle for 2nd place in the South, which will be a good position to be in come playoff time. With six games to go, they trail Wichita Falls by six points and five wins for the division lead. The face an Amarillo team, who is already in the building process for 2016-17 with just six games remaining in their season. The Brahmas have been dominant against the Bulls this season, winning nine of the 10 games to date.
Topeka @ Wichita Falls – The Wildcats are looking to lock up a division title and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs with just a couple more wins. Topeka is locked into 3rd place in the division and knows they will start the playoffs on the road in either Lone Star or Wichita Falls. The RoadRunners are playing some good hockey, winners of four of their last five games, while the Wildcats have won eight of their last nine games. The Wildcats have won five of the eight games played to date in the series.
Odessa @ Corpus Christi – All eyes in the South will once again be on the IceRays and Jackalopes as they battle for the final playoff spot in the South. With just six games to go, the IceRays have a narrow two-point lead for the final playoff spot, but both teams have 23 wins on the season. Odessa has hit a rough patch at the wrong time, dropping six of their last eight outings, while the IceRays have stayed out front, winning four of their last six. The season series has been very close with Corpus Christi winning six of the 10 games played to date.
Out of Division
New Jersey @ Fairbanks – 1st place teams collide in Fairbanks as the Ice Dogs host the Titans. Fairbanks is just a few wins away from locking up the NAHL regular season title and home ice throughout the playoffs, while the Titans are in a dogfight for the East Division title, tied with the Aston Rebels. Both teams are coming off weekend’s where points may have gotten away from them, so getting back to the winning side of things will be important. Fairbanks won the only two match-ups to date between the two teams, which came back on December 18-19 in New Jersey.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton @ Kenai River – The Brown Bears are trying to build off of snapping their losing streak last weekend, while the Knights come into the series with some momentum thanks to their good series in Fairbanks. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will be the #4 seed in the East, while the Brown Bears have five games remaining in their season and are well into the building process for 2016-17. One of Kenai River’s four wins this season came against the Knights back on January 8-9 when the two teams split a weekend series.
Coulee Region @ MN Magicians (Sat) – Saturday is a huge game for both teams as the Chill will be playing their third game is as many nights, while the Magicians are coming off a 4-2 win over the Aberdeen Wings on Thursday. The Chill have a 3-2 edge in the season series.