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Published: Wednesday, 14 Nov 2018  
By: Stephen Heisler,

We have a new North American Hockey League team at the top of our list. The Johnstown Tomahawks move into the driver’s seat this week as their win streak has stretched to ten games.

Now for the disclosure… the following is my opinion and not written under the influence of anything or anybody.

#1 Johnstown Tomahawks (17-4-0-0) – Johnstown has ten straight wins and find themselves in the perfect position to make a run for the division title. Let’s see how they handle the Jersey Boys this weekend.

#2 Amarillo Bulls (13-3-1-2) – Amarillo jump up to #2 after picking up three-points in the weekend split at Corpus Christi. The Bulls get this week off to refresh and prepare for the roadie to Odessa November 23-24.

#3 Minnesota Magicians (15-5-0-0) – AJ Bucchino’s Magicians went 3-1 on their Alaskan adventure and play the next six games within the great hockey state of Minnesota. Janesville visits the Richfield Ice Arena this weekend.

#4 Minot Minotauros (14-5-0-0) – Marty Murray’s Tauros climb back into the Top Five after picking up three wins in the last week. That road sweep at Austin was simply epic for Minot. Brookings visits Maysa Arena this weekend.

#5 Aberdeen Wings (11-4-1-1) – Scott Langer’s Wings drop from the top spot to #5 after getting swept at home by Bismarck. Aberdeen gets a little time off this week and returns to action November 21 when they host Brookings.

#6 Austin Bruins (11-4-0-3) – Head Coach Steve Howard’s Bruins will be trying to regroup this week after getting swept at home by Minot. Bismarck is starting to make a bold and must be licking their chops after getting a road sweep of their own at Aberdeen. Austin better be ready for a war.

#7 New Jersey Titans (13-7-0-0) – Craig Doremus and the Titans are 8-2 in their last ten games. The weekend series with the Knights was interesting. The Titans were shutout 1-0 at the WB Friday night before beating the Knights 8-6 on Saturday. New Jersey will try to slow the Tomahawks down this weekend when they visit Johnstown.

#8 Bismarck Bobcats (10-6-1-0) – Head Coach Layne Sedevie’s Bobcats picked up a sweep at Aberdeen before falling 4-3 at Minot on Monday. The fun continues this week when Bismarck visits Austin. 

#9 Janesville Jets (11-7-2-0) – There’s not really a way to sugarcoat the fact that Gary Shuchuk’s Jets are having such a difficult time with in-state rival Chippewa. If the Steel can give Janesville so many fits, wait until they see what the Magicians have up their sleeve this weekend.

#10 Lone Star Brahmas (9-7-1-1) – Dan Wildfong’s Brahmas rocket into the Top Ten after their home sweep of the backsliding Mudbugs. As a reward for that effort; the fiery coach has booked an all-expenses paid weekend to Padre Island with a pair of road games at Corpus Christi tossed in.

#11 Topeka Pilots (10-8-1-1) – Simon Watson’s Pilots picked up a pair of points despite losing all three game of the series at Odessa. It was a bit of a trifecta as Topeka lost to the Jackalopes in regulation, overtime, and a shootout. 

#12 Minnesota Wilderness (9-8-1-0) – The Wilderness up and over the .500 mark with the weekend home sweep of last-place Brookings. The home team rolled over the Blizzard 5-0 on Friday winning a close 5-4 game on Saturday. Minnesota might be in another dogfight this week with the home-and-home set with Chippewa on the schedule.

#13 Jamestown Rebels (9-8-1-1) –Joe Coombs’ Rebels were unable to stop the Johnstown train last Wednesday before splitting the weekend home set with the Generals. This week’s trip to the WB could produce some points.

#14 Fairbanks Ice Dogs (9-8-1-2) –Trevor Stewart’s Ice Dogs lit the lamp only three times in their two-game home set with Springfield. Fairbanks now has to face Kenai River in six-straight games starting with the first three at the Soldotna Sports Complex this weekend.

#15 Shreveport Mudbugs (8-8-0-2) – I’m thinking that Jason Campbell’s Mudbugs are looking forward to getting back to George’s Pond after getting just two wins from the six-game road swing. The Jackalopes visit Shreveport this weekend.

#16 Springfield Blues (8-8-2-1) – Tyler Rennette’s Blues are back to square one (.500) after picking up the difficult road sweep at Fairbanks. The Blues will put their three-game win streak on the line this weekend when the Pilots visit the Nelson Center.

#17 Kenai River Brown Bears (9-10-0-1) – Head Coach Josh Petrich’s Brown Bears are once again a sub .500 hockey team. Losers of three-straight (and in eight of the last ten) games, Kenai River could find themselves in a deep hole after the upcoming six-game series with Fairbanks. 

#18 Odessa Jackalopes (7-8-0-1) – Greg Gatto’s Jackalopes are just a win under .500 after picking up the three-game sweep of Topeka. This weekend’s run into Shreveport won’t be a party.

#19 Maryland Black Bears (6-8-3-2) – Clint Mylymok’ Black Bears forced the Tomahawks to a shootout before falling on Saturday night. That gutsy performance forced 2,500+ Johnstown fans to wipe the sweat of their brows. We all know that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades so look for Maryland to be very focused when they visit the Generals this weekend. 

#20 Corpus Christi IceRays (7-9-1-0) – Ryan Cruthers’ IceRays took Amarillo down in a shootout Friday before getting shutout in Saturday’s game. The Brahmas visit this weekend.

#21 Northeast Generals (6-9-1-1) – Joe Lovell’s Generals put the skids on a five-game slide with a solid 4-2 road win at Jamestown. Maryland will test the Generals this weekend at the New England Sports Village.

#22 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (6-12-1-0) – Head Coach Tom Kowal’s Knights stopped their big slide with a shutout win over Jersey on Friday. The Knights scored a season-high six goals in Saturday’s 8-6 loss at New Jersey. The Rebels return to the WB this weekend.

#23 Chippewa Steel (5-14-1-1) – Al Rooney’s Steel have splits in back-to-back weekends with Janesville and will face yet another challenge with this week’s home-and-home double with the Wilderness. 

#24 Brookings Blizzard (2-13-1-1) – Moe Mantha’s Blizzard have dropped six-straight games after getting swept by the Wilderness at Cloquet. The veteran coach has put the call out for reinforcements and help is on the way. Let’s see how the boys react to that news when they visit Minot this weekend.

We have moved to a pure mathematical ranking system based entirely on the team’s winning percentage before going to goal differential in the event of ties. Yes, sometimes simple is best. In the last few years we’ve added a letter grade to NAHL rankings and created a bit of discontent for doing that. As a result, that practice has discontinued.

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Group. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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