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Daily Dish: NAHL Weekend Preview - Junior Hockey News

Published: Friday, 25 Jan 2013
By: Stephen Heisler  |  Web site: JuniorHockey.com

Twenty-five games are on the North American Hockey League docket for this weekend, including last night's divisional battle in Wenatchee as the Wild got passed the Kenai River Brown Bears 4-3 in OT.

Now let's run through the match-ups.


#16 Port Huron Fighting Falcons at #19 Michigan Warriors (Fri) -  Port Huron leads the season-series 4-3 with five games to go. The Warriors are 7-2-1 in their last ten games while Port Huron has gone 2-8-1 in their last eleven. The Fighting Falcons lean heavily on goalkeeper Max Milosek (13-14-2, 2.81 GAA, .913 SV%) despite the fact that the younger Alex Blankenburg (5-7-2, 2.51 GAA, .921 SV%) has better numbers. This game features two teams going into different directions... Warriors even up the season series with the win.


#15 Corpus Christi IceRays at #24 Odessa Jackalopes (Fri-Sat) - Corpus Chrsti has an excellent opportunity to get back to .500 this weekend at Odessa. The Jackalopes are punch-drunk and have been mailing it in as of late. Machesney Park, IL. native Lawrence Cornellier, a hold-over from the Owatonna days, is the lone bright spot on an otherwise horrible situation. Averaging more than a point-a-game (21g, 19a, 38 games) Cornellier is giving Odessa fans something to cheer about. Make that 1-31-1 in the last 33 games after the IceRays sweep.  

#10 Bismarck Bobcats at #23 Aberdeen Wings (Fri-Sat)  Can Wings goalie Chad Catt (2.90 GAA, .897 SV%) ice Bismarck this weekend and end the sixteen game slide? I'm thinking so. Every team that has dropped to the #23 spot this year has been able to turn it around. Split.

#12 Brookings Blizzard at #22 Coulee Region Chill (Fri-Sat)  Chill boss A.J. Degenhardt and his group raised a lot of eye-brows Friday in Austin with the huge road win. I have to believe Coulee Region is playing for next-year and has nothing to lose. That is going to be dangerous for Brookings. Split.

#8 Fairbanks Ice Dogs at #20 Fresno Monsters (Fri-Sat-Sun) - The last time Fairbanks visited Fresno, the Ice Dogs lost two of three. The Monsters have been a different team since former assistant Andy Maher left for the NA3HL going 6-3-1 in their last ten games. Fresno is another former #23 that is rocketing off the bottom of the rankings. Canadian Matt Salituro (7g, 27a) has been a valuable addition for the Monsters since coming over from Janesville with 15-points (5g, 10a) in ten games. Fresno wins the series 2-1.

#9 Kalamazoo K-Wings at #17 Janesville Jets (Fri-Sat) -  The Jets are 1-4-1 in their last six and are starting to show signs of wear. K-Zoo is 5-0-1 in their last six and appears to be flying. K-Wings point leader Robbie Payne (20g, 22a) could have a really big weekend in Wisconsin with the Kalamazoo sweep.

#2 Texas Tornado at #21 Wichita Falls Wildcats (Fri-Sat)  Every team has a rival that gets under their skin, for the #2 Texas Tornado, that is coach Paul Baxter's Wildcats. The fact that Wichita Falls has won the last two games of this season series, by a combined score of 9-3, just tells us that Tony Curtale is going to be pulling all the stops this weekend. The Tornado have a lot of weapons with four 40+ pointers in the line-up. Brandon Hawkins (30g, 15a), Scott Conway (13g, 32a), Justin Greenberg (19g, 22a), and Jackson Leef (8g, 33a) are all capable of blowing a game wide open in a hurry. Sorry Wildcats fans, this is going to be ugly. Texas sweeps.

#18 Kenai River Brown Bears at #3 Wenatchee Wild (Thr-Fri-Sat) -  Wenatchee got Thursday night's opener 4-3 in OT. Jacob Barber (11g, 20a) stole the show with a goal and pair of assists. The Wild got a hard dose of reality last weekend when the Monsters stunned the division leaders in Wenatchee. Bliss Littler's team needs to earn maximum points this weekend, not only to stay atop the division, but to also help re-establish the confidence that the team was playing with earlier in the season. The Brown Bears put up the good fight last night and earned a point for their efforts, but that is about all they will get this weekend as the Wild sweep.

#5 Jamestown Ironmen at #14 Springfield Blues (Fri-Sat) - The Blues are coming off a fantastic trip to Alaska and are absolutely pumped for this weekend's series with division leader Jamestown. The Ironmen have to be impressed with the play of Tim Shaughnessy (9-5-3, 2.22 GAA, .921 SV%) between the pipes. The Blues counter with the hot-play of Terry Leabo (3g, 13a) who has a point in each of the last five games. Springfield will have the Ironmen singing the Blues with the series sweep.

#4 Austin Bruins at #13 Minot Minotauros (Fri-Sat) - The Minotauros' Tyler Parks (16-10-4, 2.62 GAA, .922 SV%) may be in a great mood this weekend as we have learned he will be going to St. Lawrence University next season to battle for their #1 slot between the pipes. Will that mood swing result in yet another big on-ice performance? I think so. Split.

#11 Johnstown Tomahawks at #6 Soo Eagles (Fri-Sat) - Standings, statistics, and everything else but sportsmanship gets tossed out the window when these two teams have to play. The Eagles hold a slim 3-2 season series lead with the final game (of the regular season anyway) set for February 2nd in Johnstown. Tomahawks netminder Chris Truehl (10-6-4, 2.39 GAA, .924 SV%) is expected to be ridden hard by Johnstown while the Eagles' tandem of Eric Rivard (19g, 27a) and Jared VanWormer (13g, 32a) will have the Air Force prospect in their crosshairs. This is going to be a great series... and another split.


#1 Amarillo Bulls at #7 Topeka RoadRunners (Fri-Sat) - The Oakland Raiders of the NAHL, everybody loves to hate the top ranked Amarillo Bulls. Even I had to chime in in regards to the first class accommodations the Amarillo staff stuffs the visiting team into. A revengeful owner would return the favor with a roach hotel of their own, but not Topeka boss Don Stone, he would rather show the Amarillo staff and players how a hockey organization is supposed to be operated. We've been told that the Bulls' behavior at the Tornado's host hotel in Frisco last year, after being eliminated from the Robertson Cup, was so bad that the Amarillo team is no longer welcome at any Holiday Inn nationwide. Keep it classy Amarillo. Back to the hockey...  The Bulls hold a 5-3 advantage so far in this season series with another pair of games remaining in Amarillo after this weekend. Bulls' newcomer Blake Roubos (12g, 18a) has a goal and a pair of assists in four games since coming over from Wenatchee. The RoadRunners' Spencer Viele (16-5-3, 2.15 GAA, .925 SV%) is 5-4-1 since 11/23 after going 11-1-1 to start the season. Unlike the Bulls, Topeka has gotten limited production from their newcomers. Brandon Brossoit (10g, 11a) has 5-points in his first eight RoadRunners' games. Ross Luedtke (4g, 3a, 28 games) has four-points in 16-games, and Cody Hansen (4g, 3a, 21 games) has been little more than a punching bag registering just three-points in eight games to go with his 85 penalty minutes. This series will be rough as these two teams hate each other from the owners' box down to the equipment managers. Look for a penalty-filled ruckus and also look for the split.


JuniorHockey.com is the premier website dedicated to delivering the latest news and developing stories from junior hockey across North America, as well as providing online tools for junior hockey players and prospects. With nearly 300,000 views each month, Juniorhockey.com is the internet's leading source of junior hockey news and information. 

Stephen Heisler resides in Puerto Penasco, Mexico with his wife, Maria, and their two children, Sonia and Tomas. Tune in to his Mexico based Classic Rock Station, GoPenasco Radio.


posted Jan. 25th, 2013 - 12:16am
Andrew Hochstein says:
If the Bulls can keep their heads cool and not play down to Topeka's "hood" style of hockey the Bulls will sweep. Easier said than done tho. Especially with these 2 teams..

posted Jan. 25th, 2013 - 1:03am
Christian Poulsen says:
Always interesting to watch the refs with Amarillo...running the Goalie, sticks to the face behind the play, casual punch to the head after the whistle blows, and cap it off with a dive of some sort...I guess easier to say than to see it all...so just take em' both to the box.....but 8 hr drive again tomorrow...same clothes, same food, same hotel...games on!...GO RUNNERS!

posted Jan. 25th, 2013 - 1:05am
Jon Hart says:
I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure Amarillo still stays at Holiday Inn Emerald Beach here in Corpus. So not sure how far that nationwide ban was extended.

posted Jan. 25th, 2013 - 2:56pm
Andrew Hochstein says:
Just wondering here but when Topeka was in Amarillo 2 weeks ago you called for a 'Runners sweep..yet now 2 weeks later you're calling for a split. What's changed?

posted Jan. 25th, 2013 - 3:38pm
Stephen Heisler says:
...my mind

posted Jan. 25th, 2013 - 5:26pm
Christian Poulsen says:
....same playlist, same gas stop, same gal that checked us in last week, same room...and still have time before GAME ON to catch up on the latest TAHA stuff...Lvn it!

posted Jan. 26th, 2013 - 7:49am
Christian Poulsen says:
Runners, Bulls...all you have to see is the score, that a shorthanded goal wins it, and you know it was a great Hockey game...and clean (?!?!?!)...
...and only about 3 soft calls, 3 or so missed calls and 1 makeup call...or something like that...

posted Jan. 26th, 2013 - 9:30am
Stephen Heisler says:
Interesting... So much for the ruckus. Let's see what happens tonight.

What about Odessa?

posted Jan. 26th, 2013 - 12:12pm
Christian Poulsen says:
Jacks, Rays...Wow...I would have picked the Rays for both too...looks like they couldn't handle the line with "Corny" on it...and an other "TP" is also a remainder on the team LOL)...but to copy and sound repetitive, to be rostered, period, in this league you got to have some "stuff"...any team can "bite" you!...
...I really do not like to dis Refs, if I could do better then I should do it, right?...but I always wonder when I see a score and how that part went...please somebody tell me the best and most experienced stripes get the playoffs and Robbie!

posted Jan. 26th, 2013 - 9:05pm
Andrew Hochstein says:
Tyler Poulsen: (obscene gestures) 10 min. game misconduct and a game ejection....is it possible for a bird to flip the bird??

posted Jan. 26th, 2013 - 10:04pm
Mateo Stannard says:
Guess Jamestown didn't learn the words to the song Stephen. No sweep here.

posted Jan. 26th, 2013 - 11:42pm
Stephen Heisler says:
#16 Port Huron Fighting Falcons at #19 Michigan Warriors (Fri) PICK- Warriors even up the season series with the win.

#15 Corpus Christi IceRays at #24 Odessa Jackalopes (Fri-Sat) PICK- IceRays sweep.

#10 Bismarck Bobcats at #23 Aberdeen Wings (Fri-Sat) -
PICK- Split.

#12 Brookings Blizzard at #22 Coulee Region Chill (Fri-Sat) -
PICK- Split.

#8 Fairbanks Ice Dogs at #20 Fresno Monsters (Fri-Sat-Sun) - PICK- Fresno wins the series 2-1.

#9 Kalamazoo K-Wings at #17 Janesville Jets (Fri-Sat) -
PICK-Kalamazoo sweep.

#2 Texas Tornado at #21 Wichita Falls Wildcats (Fri-Sat) - PICK- Texas sweeps.

#18 Kenai River Brown Bears at #3 Wenatchee Wild (Thr-Fri-Sat)
PICK- Wild sweep.

#5 Jamestown Ironmen at #14 Springfield Blues (Fri-Sat) -
PICK- Blues with the series sweep.

#4 Austin Bruins at #13 Minot Minotauros (Fri-Sat) -
PICK- Split.

#11 Johnstown Tomahawks at #6 Soo Eagles (Fri-Sat) -
PICK- split.


#1 Amarillo Bulls at #7 Topeka RoadRunners (Fri-Sat) -
PICK- split.

Will adjust this again after Monster-Dogs Game

posted Jan. 27th, 2013 - 2:03am
Christian Poulsen says:
Andrew...maybe I guess?...anything is possible down the rabbit hole in the parallel universe I just now am awakening from...I even dreamt I saw a cheshire cat standing behind the visitors bench.

posted Jan. 27th, 2013 - 2:38am
Andrew Hochstein says:
Christian: I was watching on FASThockey and saw Tyler talking to Berrafato, the camera was on them the whole time, then all the sudden the linesman skated over and escorted him off the ice. I know you were there so maybe you saw what he did?? Cause I sure as hell didn't.

posted Jan. 27th, 2013 - 8:45am
Christian Poulsen says:
I was too busy clicking my heels together and mumbleing Supermans credo to myself...but Ive gotta go now, I've got the George Reeves version intro. on a loop (Lex was with that Cheshire cat in that dream)

posted Jan. 28th, 2013 - 1:13pm
Jr Ruiz says:
The ref didn't see it either. He talked with the linesman at that end then to the Amarillo bench and then made the call. All I can say is that it looked like he was "cleaning" his stick!

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