NAHL Weekend Preview
October 4, 2013
It is a busy weekend in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) this weekend as all 24 teams are in action. The weekend also features some big match-ups. Earlier this week, the rosters were reduced to 23 players, which will be the number the rest of the season.
Here is a look at the match-ups by Division:
Bismarck vs. Aberdeen – All eyes will be on this series as both teams are coming off weekend sweeps of their opponents. It is a home-and-home series, so expect both places to be rocking. Bismarck (4-2) sits two points behind Aberdeen (5-1) in the standings.
Austin vs. Brookings – This is an important series for the Blizzard, who are the lone remaining NAHL club without a win. The Bruins (5-1) are tied for the Division lead with Aberdeen and will be looking for a sweep. The Blizzard (0-5-1) have been outscored 29-11 so far this season.
Minnesota Wilderness vs. Minnesota Magicians – A new rivalry begins this weekend as two of the NAHL’s newest clubs will face-off in the I-35 challenge as the Wilderness (3-1-2) and Magicians (3-2-1) play a home-and-home series. Both teams are neck and neck in the standings so wins will be important.
Coulee Region @ Kenai River – Another big series in the Midwest has the Chill traveling to Alaska to face the Brown Bears. This will be a true test for the Chill, who are off to a 5-1 start. The Brown Bears return home after a 5-1 road trip. Both teams have 10 points in the standings, although the Chill have played two fewer games.
Port Huron @ Soo – The 1st place Fighting Falcons (6-1-1) travel north to take on the Eagles (2-2-3). This is a big weekend for both clubs, especially the Soo, who look to get their offense going after averaging just two goals per game in their first seven. Special teams will be key as the Fighting Falcons have one of best penalty kills right now in the NAHL.
Springfield @ Johnstown – It is a battle of 2nd vs. 3rd place teams in the North as Johnstown (4-4-1) hosts Springfield (4-2). Each team is riding high after success on the road last weekend. The series will start Saturday and feature the only game in the NAHL on Sunday.
Michigan @ Janesville – It is a big weekend for the Jets (1-4-1), who find themselves at the bottom of the North standings after being swept last weekend. The Janesville Ice Arena will be rocking with Pink in the Rink weekend, but the Warriors (3-3) will look to keep pace in the North with a couple of road wins.
Amarillo @ Wichita Falls – Two of the league’s best offenses will be on display this weekend as Amarillo (3-2-1) visits 1st place Wichita Falls (6-1-1). Both teams are coming off of sweeps and even though a high-scoring affair is expected, look for goaltending to be key in this series. The Wildcats will be celebrating their 10th anniversary this weekend.
Lone Star @ Topeka – It is going to take a good effort for the Brahmas (1-6-1) to get back on track in a tough place to win in Topeka. The RoadRunners (5-2-2) were swept at home last weekend by the Jr. Blues, but captured points as both losses were in shootouts. The Brahmas are averaging just two goals per game.
Rio Grande Valley @ Odessa – Points will be at a premium this weekend as Rio Grande Valley travels northwest to take on Odessa in the Jackalopes home opener. Both Rio Grande Valley (2-3-3) and Odessa (2-7) have struggled to score this year, so both offenses will be looking to break out this weekend.
Out of Division
Minot @ Wenatchee – It is the home opener for the Wild (3-3), who sit in last place in the Midwest, but the Town Toyota Center will be rocking this weekend as the Minotauros (2-3-1) come calling. Minot is riding high after handing Austin their first loss last weekend, while the Wild were swept in Bismarck in two close games.
Corpus Christi @ Fairbanks – Another venue that will be rocking is the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks as the Ice Dogs (7-1) play their home opener against the visiting IceRays (3-4-1). Last year, the IceRays took three of four points in Fairbanks. In the stat of the day, this match-up features teams that are 3,500 miles away from one another.