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NAHL North: Warriors in, Ironmen out - Junior Hockey News


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Published: Monday, 26 Mar 2012
By: Randy Russon

Michigan Warriors have clinched the fourth playoff spot in the North American Hockey League's North Division.
 
With the Warriors in, the Jamestown Ironmen will finish fifth in the NAHL North and miss the playoffs, despite a strong season by 1992 birth year goalie Joe Ballmer. The 6-foot-3, 210 lb. Ballmer has put up impressive numbers this season with a .910 save percentage and 3.16 goals against average to go with a record of 13-18-5.
 
Actually, win-loss record aside, Jamestown's other goalie, 1991 birth year tender Joe Gladnick, also has good stats. Gladnick's save percentage is .912 and his goals against average is 3.29.
 
The Ironmen could be looking for two new goalies next season. This is Gladnick's last season of junior eligibility and sources are saying that Ballmer will be traded during the off-season.
 
Jamestown still has three games to play in the regular season but with 43 points, cannot catch fourth-place Michigan. The Warriors have 51 points and have completed their 60-game regular season.
 
As Jamestown will finish fifth in the NAHL North and Michigan fourth, the Traverse City North Stars will sit third when the regular season ends. Traverse City has 68 points with three games to play.
 
Still to be determined is top spot.
 
Port Huron Fighting Falcons have 77 points, one more than the second-place Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings. Both teams have two games to play.
 
Back to Traverse City, this playoff season will be it for the North Stars in the NAHL. The North Stars were purchased by the ownership of the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League earlier this month.
 
The Soo will leave the NOJHL and replace Traverse City in the NAHL North effective the 2012-13 season.
 
Bruno Bragagnolo, who has coached and managed the Michigan-based Eagles the past two seasons, will resume control of the Soo squad as it moves to the NAHL for next season. 
 
Bragagnolo enters an off-season of recruiting with potential high-end depth in the goaltending department. He and the Eagles stand to inherit 1992 birth year goalie Kyle Laslo and 1994 puck-stopper Zach Nagelvoort from Traverse City. The Eagles are also in the position to sign 1993 netminder Chris Truehl, who is coming off a good rookie season in the NOJHL with the Soo.
 
The Eagles, by the way, had their NOJHL season come to a close on Saturday. They were defeated by the cross-border Soo Thunderbirds 5-2 to lose the second-round playoff series in four straight games. 





Discuss:

posted Mar. 26th, 2012 - 3:11pm
John Trenchard says:
I think that the Warriors did 'OK' to make it to the Playoffs with so many distractions during the year as in 'are they staying or leaving?' I think this was not bad at all. I do not know if they will beet Port Huron or K-Zoo in the Playoffs however with the future now more secure I am sure that Coach Mantha can now concentrait more on building up a good Junior Hockey Program. It has not helped the Warriors that the Flint Journal does a PISS POOR job of covering them which makes it nice to read some of the article's which have ben written here about the Warriors and the NAHL including this one.

posted Mar. 26th, 2012 - 5:32pm
Randy Russon says:
By the way, good column by Ross Maghielse regarding the Michigan Warriors just posted on Mlive.com.


posted Mar. 26th, 2012 - 8:09pm
Stephen Heisler says:
Only because somebody from the Soo has been doing a good job covering the Warriors...

posted Mar. 27th, 2012 - 7:07am
Randy Russon says:
RE: Michigan Warriors goaltending situation:

Talked with Michigan Warriors coach-general manager Moe Mantha last night. Among other things, he told me that 1991 birth year goalie Brach Tiller (who turns 21 on March 20) will not play in the upcoming NAHL playoffs in order to protect a fourth year of NCAA, Division 1 eligibility. As of now, this leaves the Warriors no. 1 goaltending spot in the hands of 1994 birth year rookie Trevor Gorsuch. Gorsuch had a record of 4-7-1 to go with a .907 save pct. and 3.63 GAA with the Warriors during this 2011-12 regular season. Mantha added that he's on the look for an "emergency" goalie who is either not currently affiliated with a junior team or whose junior team's season has ended. Two names that came to my mind as possibles are 1991 birth year Luis Puig and 1993 birth year Chris Truehl, whose Soo Eagles team was eliminated in the second round of the NOJHL playoffs on the weekend. Puig actually played a couple of games with the NAHL Warriors earlier this season before joining the NOJHL Eagles. Truehl began this season in the NAHL with Janesville before joining Puig in the Soo.

-- Randy Russon.

posted Mar. 27th, 2012 - 1:06pm
Jack Dodd says:
Interesting info about so many of the Goalies in the NAHL "North". I find the Warriors situation regarding Brack Tiller's birthday to be an example of there being way to many rules regarding D1 eligability. Come on now! - the NCAA is going to take a full year of d1 time away from a kid because of the month he was born in for crying out loud!

posted Mar. 27th, 2012 - 3:27pm
Tony Prito says:
Best coverage on the Michigan Warriors is right here with Mr. RR! Thanks for explaining the Brach Tiller thing as well!

posted Mar. 27th, 2012 - 5:37pm
Randy Russon says:
You are welcome, Tony, and thanks for the nice words.

posted Mar. 29th, 2012 - 9:00am
Randy Russon says:
First place in the NAHL North will be decided this weekend. First-place Port Huron meets second place Kalamazoo in a home-and-home series. Saturday's game is 7 p.m. in Port Huron, Sunday's match is a 2 p.m. start in Kalamazoo. Port Huron takes a one-point lead over Kalamazoo into the regular-season ending weekend set.

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* Article disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Randy Russon, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.





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