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NAHL Weekend Preview

December 8, 2017
The halfway point of the 2017-18 NAHL regular season is looming for the 23 teams in the North American Hockey League. It is one of the various points of the year that team’s do some self-evaluation to try and determine their needs for the upcoming stretch run to the Robertson Cup playoffs.
The NAHL keeps a fairly full schedule during the month of December, with the only break coming from December 21-27. With that said, there are 21 games on the docket for this weekend as the jockeying in the standings continues.
The parity that the NAHL is witnessing so far this season is one that hasn’t been this close for a number of years. The largest division lead is just four points and even those teams that are on the outside looking in at a playoff spot, aren’t far behind.
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The merry-go-round that is the Central Division takes another spin this weekend with three series full of divisional rivalries. The NAHL’s hottest team, the Austin Bruins, put their division lead on the line this weekend with a home-and-home series against the 3rd place Brookings Blizzard. Meanwhile, the 2nd place Aberdeen Wings are on the road for a pair of games in Cloquet, MN against the Wilderness. Finally, the in-state rivalry known as the Subway North Dakota Cup resumes as the Bobcats and Minotauros clash in a home-and-home series.
In the East Division, the schedule is light as Philadelphia and New Jersey played their lone game of the weekend on Thursday night with the Titans coming away with a 5-3 win. This weekend will feature just one series as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights are in Johnstown for a pair of games. The Knights are just three points out of 1st place. The Northeast Generals are idle this weekend.
In the Midwest Division, division-leading Fairbanks, who are unbeaten in regulation in their last 8 games, are in Richfield, MN, to take on the Magicians for two games. The other Alaskan team, the Kenai River Brown Bears, will also be on the road as they are at Janesville on Friday night and then Coulee Region on Saturday. Fresh off their come-from-behind 5-3 win over the Chill on Thursday, the Springfield Jr. Blues finish their series with the Chill on Friday and then travel to Janesville on Saturday.
In the South Division, the Shreveport Mudbugs, who are unbeaten in regulation in their last 10 games, hold the largest lead (4 points) of any of the four division leaders, as they will take to the road this weekend to face the Amarillo Bulls. The Bulls have the second most shootout/overtime losses (5) in the league. The 2nd place Lone Star Brahmas will host the Corpus Christi IceRays for a two-game set as both teams have won 6 of their last 10 games. The final series has the Odessa Jackalopes in Topeka for two games against the RoadRunners. 
Friday, December 8th
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Johnstown - 7:30 PM EST
Kenai River at Janesville - 7:00 PM CST
Shreveport at Amarillo - 7:05 PM CST
Austin at Brookings - 7:05 PM CST
Aberdeen at MN Wilderness - 7:05 PM CST
Coulee Region at Springfield - 7:05 PM CST
Odessa at Topeka - 7:05 PM CST
Fairbanks at MN Magicians - 7:15 PM CST
Corpus Christi at Lone Star - 7:30 PM CST
Bismarck at Minot - 8:05 PM CST
Saturday, December 9th 
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Johnstown - 7:00 PM EST
Kenai River at Coulee Region - 7:00 PM CST
Springfield at Janesville - 7:00 PM CST
Brookings at Austin - 7:05 PM CST
Fairbanks at MN Magicians - 7:05 PM CST
Aberdeen at MN Wilderness - 7:05 PM CST
Odessa at Topeka - 7:05 PM CST
Shreveport at Amarillo - 7:15 PM CST
Minot at Bismarck - 7:15 PM CST
Corpus Christi at Lone Star - 7:30 PM CST
Sunday, December 10th
Odessa at Topeka - 5:05 PM CST
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