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.