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NAHL Weekend Preview

December 5, 2014
The calendar has turned to December and NAHL teams are nearing the halfway point of the season. The leads in all four divisions have dwindled thanks to the large amount of parity that currently exists in the league. This weekend offers match-ups in all four divisions, as well as, some out-of-division competition.
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Central Division
Aberdeen @ Bismarck (Fri) – Bismarck and Aberdeen are separated by just two points in the standings, which makes Friday’s game very important. Three weeks ago, Bismarck beat the Wings 5-4 in overtime. Bismarck has won all three meetings this season, but it has been close with the three wins being decided by just four goals.
Brookings @ Aberdeen (Sat) – The Wings turnaround after Friday’s game in Bismarck and travel home to host the Blizzard on Saturday. Brookings was edged by Minot, 3-2 on Thursday. The Wings have won three of the four meetings this season. The two teams split a series two weeks ago. Brookings has got a lift from new 16-year-old goalie Ryan Kubic.
Bismarck @ Minot – Bismarck takes to the road after their game on Friday to take on the 1st place Minotauros in Minot. Minot has a 2-0-1 record against the Bobcats this season, but Bismarck on the last meeting, which was in Minot back on November 22nd with a 5-4 shootout win. Minot picked up a 3-2 win on Thursday in Brookings and Johnny Walker had two goals.
Midwest Division
Kenai River @ Coulee Region – The Chill have won three in a row and four of five. That includes a win on Wednesday night over the Brown Bears by a 6-2 score. Richad Zehnal had a four point night in the win. It was the first meeting of the season between the two teams. The Brown Bears have lost four of five and are seven points behind the Chill for 3rd place in the Midwest Division.
MN Wilderness @ MN Magicians (Sun) – The Magicians look to snap their 9-game skid on Sunday with a game against their rival, the Minnesota Wilderness. Both teams play earlier in the weekend in out-of-division games. The Wilderness own a 3-1 edge in the series, which includes a 5-2 win back on November 26th. Wilderness forward Aaron Miller has seven points in his last five games.
North Division
Michigan @ Keystone – Michigan visits Keystone with the two teams separated by just one point in the standings. Michigan owns a 2-1 edge in the series to date, which has featured some close games. Keystone forward Taylor Fernandez has been hot of late, with seven points in his last five games. Michigan defenseman Mitch Wedding has five points in this last five games.
Soo @ Janesville – A battle of 1st and 2nd place teams takes place this weekend in Janesville as the Jets host the Eagles. Janesville’s lead in the North is at four points over the Soo. The Jets own a 3-1 record over the Eagles and have outscored them 19-9 in those four games. All four games to date have been played in the Soo. Jets forward Kyle Patava has eight points in the four games against the Eagles.
Michigan @ Johnstown (Sun) – Michigan caps a three-game weekend with a visit to Johnstown on Sunday. The season isn’t even half way over and the two teams have faced one another seven times already. Johnstown has won four of the seven meetings. The last time the two teams played was in early November with the Tomahawks taking two of the three games.
South Division
Amarillo @ Odessa – The series could be considered a must win for both clubs who are on the outside looking in the South playoff race. With 16 points apiece Amarillo and Odessa are tied for the last spot in the South and both clubs need points desperately. Amarillo has won the only two games to date, which was a sweep at home back on Nov. 15-16, in which the Bulls outscored the Jacks, 8-2.
Corpus Christi @ Wichita Falls – A series with big implications in the South standings takes place this weekend in Wichita Falls as the IceRays pay a visit. The teams are separated by just two points in the standings. The two teams split the only previous meeting back on October 30-31. The IceRays are coming off a 4-2 win over Rio Grande Valley back on Wednesday.
Rio Grande Valley @ Lone Star – For the second time in the last three weeks, the Killer Bees take to the road to face the Brahmas. Back on November 14-15, Lone Star posted a weekend sweep of the Killer Bees with two one-goal wins. Kyle Stephan leads Rio Grande Valley with five points in his last five games. Sebastian Vidmar continues to pace the Brahmas with seven points in his last five games.
Out of Division
Austin @ MN Magicians (Fri) – The Magicians look to snap their losing skid with a game against the Bruins on Friday. Austin is coming off a big sweep of Aberdeen last weekend, which snapped a four-game losing streak. This is the first meeting of year between the two clubs from the same state. Austin dman Ian Scheid has four points in his last five games.
Fairbanks @ Wenatchee – The Ice Dogs opened up their three-game series in Wenatchee on Thursday with a 4-3 win. Fairbanks has won three in a row and goaltender Patrick Munson was just named the runner-up for goalie of the month in the NAHL. Last night’s regulation loss was the first for the Wild since November 13th. In six games against the Wild this season, Fairbanks has four wins.
MN Wilderness @ Austin (Sat) – After taking on the Magicians on Friday, the Bruins return home Saturday to take on the Wilderness. Two weeks ago, the Bruins were swept on the road against Minnesota by 3-1 and 4-2 scores. The Wilderness last regulation loss came a month ago back on November 8th. 
Springfield @ Topeka (Sunday/Monday) – In a series that was rescheduled for Sunday and Monday, the Jr. Blues and the RoadRunners will faceoff for the fifth and sixth times in the last four weeks. The Jr. Blues own wins in three of the four games to date and all but one have been decided by a goal. Expect good goaltending this weekend as both teams are armed with it and don’t give up much defensively.
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