NAHL Weekend Preview
March 6, 2015
The final month of the 2014-15 regular season is here and this weekend is do-or-die for some NAHL teams and their playoff chances.
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Austin @ Brookings (Sat) – The Bruins won their sixth straight game on Wednesday night in a 2-1 home win over the Blizzard. The Bruins have won five of the seven games to date against the two clubs. Nico Sturm had a multi-point game in the win and now has six points in his last five games. The Bruins have played 53 games to date, the most in the NAHL. The Blizzard are riding a four-game losing streak and are five points behind Aberdeen for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Coulee Region @ MN Wilderness (Sat) – Coming off their first regulation loss since January 23rd, the Wilderness look to get back on track with one game at home against the Chill. The Wilderness picked up a 5-3 home win over Coulee Region back on February 12th. The Chill have lost three in a row and have dropped all four games against the Wilderness this season. Chill forward Adam Lovick, whoe made an NCAA Division I commitment earlier in the week, has five points in his last five games.
Keystone @ Michigan – The Ice Miners want to keep winning to try and gain home ice for the first round of the playoffs, while time is running out on the Warriors playoff hopes. Keystone has won three of their last four games (all on the road) and have allowed just three goals in those three wins. Goalie Nick Kossoff is tied for the NAHL shutout lead with six. Keystone holds a 4-3 edge to date in their series with Michigan. Michigan defenseman Shane Cuckovich had three points in his last four games.
Soo @ Janesville – The Jets put their winning streak on the line this weekend and they try and keep their march towards NAHL history going. With 42 wins, the Jets are just six wins shy of equaling the NAHL record for wins in a season at 48. With eight games to go, the Jets would need to win six of those eight to tie the record and seven of eight to break the record. The Jets have won 16 straight games and are 9-1 against the Eagles this season.
Springfield @ Johnstown – With Johnstown holding down the 4th and final playoff spot in the North, the Jr. Blues need to try and win both games in order to close the gap on the Tomahawks, as Springfield is six points back. The Jr. Blues have lost seven of their last eight games, but the series with Johnstown has been an even one this year, with each club winning four times. Johnstown forward Zac Robbins has 11 points in his last five games.
Topeka @ Amarillo – The RoadRunners lead in the South is down to just two points with nine games to go in the regular season. It is also an important weekend for the Bulls, who are eight points out of the 6th and final playoff spot in the South. Topeka has lost two of three, but hasn’t had back-to-back losses since early November. They are also a perfect 4-0 against the Bulls so far this season. Bulls forward Charlie Combs has been on a tear as of late with 12 points and 8 goals in his last five games.
Rio Grande Valley @ Odessa – The Killer Bees have just one regulation loss in their last 10 games and that has allowed them to open up an eight-point gap for 6th place in the South. Rio Grande Valley also now sits just a point behind 5th place Wenatchee. The Jackalopes are out of the playoff picture in the South and are now trying to play the role of spoiler. Odessa has lost 11 games in a row, but have won three of the six match-ups against the Killer Bees this season.
Wenatchee @ Wichita Falls – The Wildcats still are within striking distance of both Lone Star and Topeka for the top spot in the South. The Wildcats have just one loss in regulation in their last 10 games and have won three of their last four. Wenatchee has won four of their last five games and forward Brendan Harris has seven points in his last five games. The Wildcats won the only other two games between the two teams, which came in Wenatchee back on December 19-20.
Corpus Christi @ Lone Star – At 22-3-1, the Brahmas have the league’s best home record and sit just two points back of Topeka for 1st place in the South. The IceRays sit six points clear of Wenatchee for 4th place in the South. The IceRays last played the Brahmas back on February 6-7 in Corpus Christi and came away with a split. The Brahmas have just one regulation loss in their last 11 games. Defenseman Anton Santesson has four points in his last five games.
Out of Division
MN Magicians @ Aberdeen – Both the Magicians and Aberdeen hold down 4th place in their respective divisions by decent margins, so wins would move either closer to a playoff spot. Minnesota is 3-0-2 in their last five and have won three in a row, while Aberdeen is 5-3 in their last eight games. The Magicians hold a 3-1 edge in the series to date. Aberdeen forward Kyle Haak, who was Runner-Up for Forward of the Month in February has seven points in his last five games played.
Kenai River @ Bismarck – The Bobcats sit comfortably in 3rd place in the Central, while time is running out for the Brown Bears in their playoff quest. Kenai River has lost 10 of their last 11 games, while Bismarck has lost three of their last four. The two teams split their lone series to date, which came back in Kenai River all the way back on October 10-11. Bismarck forward Jared Pike has four goals in his last five games.
Fairbanks @ Minot – The Ice Dogs are in a dogfight with the Wilderness for the top spot in the Midwest Division. Fairbanks has just one loss in regulation in their last nine games. Minot has won three in a row and sit comfortably in 2nd place in the Central. The two teams split their series back in Fairbanks on October 10-11. Minot goalie Atte Tolvanen has allowed just three goals in his last four appearances. Fairbanks defenseman Johnny Mueller has six points in his last five games.