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Daily Dish: NAHL Weekend Preview - Junior Hockey News

Published: Friday, 22 Feb 2013
By: Stephen Heisler  |  Web site: JuniorHockey.com

This is going to be a difficult weekend for teams that had multiple players at the Top Prospects event in Michigan. The number of players that were made ill from the illness that North American Hockey League officials swear was a virus (parents, coaches, owners, and medical staff are telling us that it was food poisoning) continues to rise and that is likely to have an impact on results this weekend.

I'm not convinced that the Prospects event is scheduled for the right time period. Why not try and get this scheduled somewhere close to the middle of the season or the week following the Robertson Cup? If that can't happen, than the league should not schedule games for the weekend following the event. Teams are now battling for play-off positions and every game is very important. In reality, only Coulee Region, Aberdeen and Odessa are out of the play-off picture.

Let's get to the weekend's match-ups.

#24 Odessa Jackalopes at #19 Wichita Falls Wildcats (Fri-Sat)- The Jackalopes have become a dangerous team. Paul Gillis is still on the bench and his players have nothing to lose. The 'Jacks have lost seventeen in a row but have been very competitive in their last four. Paul Baxter's Wildcats can't afford a let-down and are just seven-points behind Corpus Christi in the battle for the division's final play-off spot. Baxter's not going to be happy after the series split.

#23 Fresno Monsters at #12 Johnstown Tomahawks (Fri-Sat)- Fresno wants to end their ten-game losing streak in Johnstown this weekend and the Tomahawks are not in any kind of position to let them. Let's just say this; Johnstown has to get the sweep.

#21 Coulee Region Chill at #13 Minot Minotauros (Fri-Sat)- Coulee Region made chili out of the Minotauros at home on Saturday and will try get a second and third serving in Minot this weekend.  Minot goaltender Tyler Parks may decide to never eat chicken again...especially at a Marriott property. Split.

#22 Aberdeen Wings and #11 Brookings Blizzard (Fri-Sat)- The Wings may be playing to prepare for next season, but they are playing well. The Blizzard have not, losing their last three. Split.

#15 Port Huron Fighting Falcons at #17 Janesville Jets (Fri-Sat)- The Jets are just six-points behind 5th place Port Huron and two-points behind 6th place Springfield with three less games played than both. So obviously this weekend gives the Jets a great opportunity to insert themselves into the top six. Both teams are facing a lot of pressure... another split.  

#20 Michigan Warriors and #6 Kalamazoo K-Wings (Sat-Sun)- The K-Wings have every intention of going out on top and that is not good news for Moe Mantha's Warriors. Michigan moves closer to play-off elimination after the Kalamazoo sweep.

#4 Soo Eagles at #18 Springfield Blues (Fri-Sat)- The Harlem what? Springfield is going to have to do more than dance this weekend with the Soo Eagles in town. Sorry Tony, but the Blues could drop a spot after the Eagles sweep.

#16 Corpus Christi IceRays at #1 Amarillo Bulls (Fri-Sat)- The IceRays actually enjoy their games in Amarillo. The food is good and they always seem to figure out how to get a split. Amarillo has a ten-point lead on 2nd place Topeka so this should be a pressure-free weekend... and another split.

#10 Bismarck Bobcats at #3 Austin Bruins (Fri-Sat)- The Bruins have a fifteen-point lead on 2nd place Bismarck going into this series. Could we see that lead stretch to nineteen after this weekend? I think so, Bruins sweep.  

#5 Topeka RoadRunners at #9 Texas Tornado (Fri-Sat)- The Tornado are carrying a six game losing streak into this weekend's home battle with the RoadRunners. Tony Curtale knows he is a much better coach than Scott Langer and that it is time to take the foot off the break. Tornado zoom past the Runners this weekend with the home sweep.


#2 Wenatchee Wild at #7 Jamestown Ironmen (Fri-Sat)- The Wild would love to go back home with a thirteen-point lead over arch-rival Fairbanks but are fully aware of what the Jamestown Ironmen bring to the table. This is going to be a challenging series for Wenatchee but nothing they can't handle. Jamestown coach Dan Daikawa will be under a microscope all weekend with the likely new owners in town to get an assessment of the Ironmen situation...and that would have to include the coaching staff. The Wild will get the sweep.

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 over 330,000+ views in January, Juniorhockey.com has emerged as 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 Feb. 22nd, 2013 - 1:52pm
Vickie Shaw Genn says:
Thinking you have a man crush on Tony Curtale :)

posted Feb. 22nd, 2013 - 10:08pm
David Saloka says:
Final score in a shootout... Fresno 3, Johnstown 2. One of the most embarrassing efforts since the horrible 2010 Johnstown Chiefs team. No intensity, no emotion and a half-assed effort. For a team that is supposedly fighting for playoff positioning, there is a major problem in the Johnstown locker room right now. If coach Jason Spence gives his usual "we didn't get the bounces" answer, then maybe he is a big part of the problem. The playoffs are pointless right now for the Tomahawks because the way they are playing, they don't deserve to be in the playoffs!

posted Feb. 23rd, 2013 - 9:03am
Stephen Heisler says:
Vickie Shaw Genn writes:
Thinking you have a man crush on Tony Curtale :)

I've seen the error of my ways and have elected to give the winningest coach in NAHL history the respect he deserves.

posted Feb. 23rd, 2013 - 9:45am
Andrew Hochstein says:
^ excuse me while I throw up

posted Feb. 23rd, 2013 - 9:15pm
David Saloka says:
After losing 10 straight games, Fresno comes to Johnstown and sweeps the series. For a team that was challenging for first place just 2 months ago, the Tomahawks may not even make the playoffs. It is now up to the ownership to determine the reason for the complete collapse of their team. Whether it is the GM, the coach, or the much rumored cancer in the locker room, changes are needed to preserve their investment. Seeing the look of disgust and hearing the comments from the fans while leaving the game, the ownership group should be concerned.

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 1:56am
Michael Gosnell says:

This team will be around for a while.

Sure the results were not what we wanted, but you shouldn't be giving up as it seems that you are.

I don't know what else to say other than jumping off of the ledge is a bit extreme and maybe time away from Johnstown will be a good thing

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 10:30am
David Saloka says:

I realize the Tomahawks will be around for awhile. I also realize that the franchise is at a crossroad right now. After suffering for more than two decades of mediocre hockey with the ECHL Chiefs, the fans are starving for a winning hockey team. Should the Tomahawks put together a consistent winning team, the War Memorial Arena will not have enough seats for the fans who would want to go. On the other hand, if we continue the history of mediocre hockey in Johnstown, the NAHL franchise will do OK, and I am sure the ownership will manage to keep their heads above water. We had to accept losing in the ECHL because we were the small fish in a huge pond. That is not the case in the NAHL. There is no reason that we should continue to accept losing hockey. I realize it is the first season and the fans were willing to be patient. I don't think they will be patient next season.

Have I given up on the team this season? Since January 1st, their record is 5 wins, 9 losses and 5 overtime losses. Their last 10 home games: 3 wins, 5 losses and 2 overtime losses. I am a realist, their record speaks for itself.

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 10:31am
Christian Poulsen says:
David, I feel your pain over your last 2 series (ie Broncos/Ravens LOL)...but every team in every Division of the NAHL can bite and maybe Fresno and their Goalie deserves some credit?...
...I didn't see the games but 2 SOLs?...last night 0 Fresno SOG for 15 minutes into the period?...40 SOGs to 20 in favor of Johnstown?...just sayin' it sounds like your boys are playing some Hockey...

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 11:21am
robert hutch says:
And the IceRays are the only team to beat Amarillo at home in regulation.Who would of thought.

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 12:26pm
David Saloka says:

For the most part, the Tomahawks usually give a good effort. Unfortunately their lack of skill make a lot of goalies look good.

I guess the whole point to all of my rants is that I would like to see an attitude change when it comes to hockey in Johnstown. During the ECHL years we were all programmed to believe that if we want to have a hockey team, we would just have to accept the fact that it would be difficult to ever put together a winning team. We just had to accept the fact that mediocre was the best we could hope for every year. I would love to see some sign from the Tomahawks ownership that this type of thinking is no longer acceptable. Maybe I am wrong, but so far everyone seems perfectly fine that we have mediocre hockey again. I don't want to just be happy we have a team again. Hopefully after the season ends we will see a sign from the ownership that mediocre hockey is no longer acceptable and winning is the primary goal here. What that sign would be, I don't know.

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 12:55pm
Mike Lee says:
Robert, what's your take on the extracurricular activities at the end of ya'll's game last night? From what I've heard and seen, a pretty big Amarillo fan that posts on this forum all the time literally wished for the deaths of the IceRays players on Facebook. Pretty disgusting if you ask me.

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 1:43pm
robert hutch says:
For the record said fan has written an heartfelt apology for that.As for what happened after the game from the video I saw the Bull player that skated into Berkley got the short end of that deal the the Bulls player that decided to punch Chiasson got the short end of his.According to the penalties handed out I think it is clear who is at fault.Tuesday night could be fun as it has been reported payback from the Bulls may be attempted.We play again in front of an estimated 5000 elementary school kids Wednesday morning. I wonder what is in store for them!

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