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NAHL Weekend Preview

November 8, 2013
It has already been a busy week in the NAHL with several games occurring during the middle of the week. The excitement continues this weekend with several divisional match-ups and three out-of-division series.
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Central Division
Bismarck Bobcats @ Austin Bruins – In a battle of two of the top teams in the Central Division, the 1st place Bruins host the 2nd place Bobcats. Surprisingly, this is the first meeting of the year between the two rivals.  The last two seasons, these two teams have met one another in the Divisional Finals, with the Bobcats coming out on top both times. This series will feature plenty of scoring with two of the top scoring forwards in the league in Austin’s Jay Dickman and Bismarck’s Filip Starzynski and two of the three top scoring defensemen in the league in Bismarck’s Nate Repensky and Austin’s Josh Bretner.
Brookings Blizzard @ Minot Minotauros – For the second straight weekend, Minot and Brookings will face one another. Last weekend, the Minotauros climbed into 4th place in the Central with a weekend sweep of the Blizzard. Minot forward Troy Delger had a goal and an assist in Friday’s 4-2 win and the shootout winner in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win. Brookings forward Nick DeCenzo has five points in his last five games to lead the Blizzard.
Midwest Division
Kenai River Brown Bears @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs - The series has taken on a different tone since Geoff Beauparlant became the Brown Bears head coach this season after spending the past three seasons as an Ice Dogs assistant coach.  The Brown Bears, who got off to a great start this season, were swept last weekend by the Austin Bruins. The Ice Dogs were also swept in Wenatchee. Fairbanks swept Kenai River in the only other time these two teams have met this season, which was in Kenai River the first weekend of the year.
Idle this weekend: Coulee Region Chill
North Division
Soo Eagles @ Port Huron Fighting Falcons – The Fighting Falcons are rolling and haven’t lost a game in regulation since October 9th. These two teams have meet twice already in a series in the Soo back in early October with the teams splitting the series, although Port Huron picked up an extra point in a shootout loss. Fighting Falcons defenseman Alex Archibald is coming off of being North Division Star of the Week. The Eagles are looking for some much needed scoring as they have gone the last 125 minutes and 15 seconds without a goal.
Springfield Jr. Blues @ Johnstown Tomahawks – It will be a good battle of two teams that are deadlocked in the North standings with 19 points apiece. The Jr. Blues are coming off a weekend home split with the Michigan Warriors, while Johnstown split at home with Port Huron. Johnstown has seen quite a few changes to the line-up already this season. Springfield’s Trevor Stone is riding a three-game point streak
South Division
Amarillo Bulls @ Corpus Christi IceRays – The Bulls are rolling, having won 13 of their last 14 games and climbing into 1st place in the South. Meanwhile, the IceRays, who have depleted by injuries, have lost three straight. Corpus Christi also picked up several new players in trades this past week, while the Bulls are coming off a mid-week sweep of the Lone Star Brahmas.  Amariilo’s Matt Sieckhaus is the NAHL’s leading scorer with 25 points.
Lone Star Brahmas @ Wichita Falls Wildcats – The Brahmas are in last place in the South after losing their last three games and dropping five of their last seven. Wichita Falls, who was in 1st place until late October, have also dropped their past three games. This is the first meeting of the season between Lone Star and Wichita Falls. Lone Star’s RJ Salvato has six points in his last five games.
Odessa Jackalopes @ Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Winning streaks collide in Hidalgo, Texas this weekend as the Killer Bees host the Jackalopes. Rio Grande Valley is riding a three-game winning streak and sit in 2nd place in the South with 25 points. Odessa has also won their last three games and four of their last five. Jacklopes goaltender Yoshihiro Kuroiwa leads all NAHL goalies with 18 games played. Rio’s Olli Kalkaja is 2nd with 17.
Idle this weekend: Topeka RoadRunners
Minnesota Wilderness @ Aberdeen Wings – One of the league’s hottest teams, the Minnesota Wilderness, put their eight-game winning streak on the line in Aberdeen this weekend. The Wilderness are a perfect 100% on their penalty kill this season, having not allowed a power play goal in 64 opportunities. The also have gone the last 232 minutes and 54 seconds without allowing a goal. The Wings have won three of their last four games and forward TJ Roo has eight points in his last five games
Janesville Jets @ Minnesota Magicians – Two teams who are on the outside looking in of the playoff race and are in need of points will battle this weekend as Minnesota hosts Janesville. The Magicians have to respond quickly after getting beat by Coulee Region 9-3 on Thursday night, while the Jets are in last place in the North Division, having lost five of their last six games. Minnesota defenseman Tommy Delaney was named the Midwest Star of the Week this past week for his four-point effort.
Michigan Warriors @ Wenatchee Wild – The Wild continue their homestand as they host the North Division’s Michigan Warriors. The Warriors have taken at least a point in their last nine games and haven’t lost in regulation since October 5th. Forward Jake Hopfner has seven points in his last five games. The Wild snapped a seven-game losing streak with a sweep of Fairbanks last weekend. Goaltender Gustaf Johansson made his Wenatchee debut picking up both wins.
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