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
Let's get to the weekend's match-ups.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
SERIES OF THE
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.