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Published: Wednesday, 5 Dec 2018  
By: Stephen Heisler,

The Johnstown Tomahawks extended their win streak to seventeen games and remain atop our North American Hockey League rankings for another week. 

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

#1 Johnstown Tomahawks (24-4-0-0) – Johnstown has wins in seventeen straight games after the weekend sweep of the Generals. The Tomahawks are at Jamestown this weekend.

#2 Amarillo Bulls (16-3-2-2) – Rocky Russo’s Bulls have earned points in eleven straight games (eight wins) and are starting to get some separation from the rest of the pack. The road sweep at Shreveport was huge for Amarillo’s confidence. The Brahmas visit this weekend. 

#3 Minnesota Magicians (18-6-0-0) – AJ Bucchino’s Magicians got some extra time to prepare for this week’s three-game home series with Kenai River.

#4 Aberdeen Wings (16-5-1-1) – Scott Langer’s Wings lit the lamp 21 times in their home sweep of Chippewa. Does the NAHL need a mercy rule? The Wilderness visit this weekend.

#5 Austin Bruins (15-6-0-3) – Head Coach Steve Howard’s Bruins leapfrog Minot after the weekend home sweep of the Minotauros. Austin is at Brookings this weekend.

#6 Bismarck Bobcats (15-7-1-0) – Head Coach Layne Sedevie’s Bobcats outscored Brookings 9-3 to pickup the road sweep. This week’s home-and-home set with Minot will certainly be interesting.

#7 Minot Minotauros (16-8-1-0) – Marty Murray’s Tauros fall two spots to #7 after earning just a single point from the road double at Austin. Winners in just five of the last ten games, Minot needs to get something done in this week’s series with Bismarck.

#8 Jamestown Rebels (14-8-2-1) –Joe Coombs’ Rebels picked up the split at Jersey earning three points in the process. Can the Rebels put an end to all that silliness in Johnstown? We’ll see this weekend when the Tomahawks visit Northwest Arena.

#9 Fairbanks Ice Dogs (14-9-1-2) –Trevor Stewart’s Ice Dogs took five of six-straight games against Kenai River to catapult themselves into our Top Ten. Fairbanks visits Janesville and Chippewa this week.

#10 Janesville Jets (14-9-2-1) – Gary Shuchuk’s Jets did their best impression of Jekyll and Hyde while splitting the weekend home set with the Wilderness. Janesville looked good in the 7-4 win Friday before getting crushed 8-2 on Saturday. Fairbanks visits Friday in Janesville’s only game of the week.

#11 New Jersey Titans (15-11-0-0) – Craig Doremus and the Titans split the weekend home series with Jamestown and will try to take advantage of Maryland’s struggles this week.

#12 Minnesota Wilderness (13-10-1-0) – The Wilderness rallied to blow out Janesville on Saturday after getting beat badly Friday. Look for something ugly to happen when this group goes to Aberdeen this week.

#13 Topeka Pilots (13-10-2-1) – Simon Watson’s Pilots split yet another home series over the weekend picking up three-points for the effort. Shreveport is back this week.

#14 Lone Star Brahmas (11-10-2-2) – Dan Wildfong’s Brahmas were swept out of Odessa in a set of games where Lone Star was soundly defeated in both games. Going to Amarillo is not going to be any easier.

#15t Shreveport Mudbugs (11-11-0-3) – Jason Campbell’s Mudbugs were swept at home by Amarillo, something that simply will not sit well with the fanatics. Shreveport needs to have a good weekend in Kansas.

#15t Odessa Jackalopes (11-11-0-1) – Greg Gatto’s Jackalopes ripped the rival Brahmas in one of the best set of home games in Odessa NAHL history. With wins in seven of the last ten games, Gatto has this team clicking at a time when it’s needed the most. Look for the ‘Jacks to be all business in this week’s visit to Corpus Christi.

#17 Corpus Christi IceRays (10-11-1-0) – Ryan Cruthers’ IceRays got last week off to prepare for the red-hot Jackalopes’ visit this weekend.

#18 Springfield Blues (10-12-2-1) – Tyler Rennette’s Blues are a .500 team in their last ten games. The split at Topeka keeps Springfield two games under par for another few weeks before Fairbanks comes to the capital December 14-15. 

#19 Kenai River Brown Bears (10-13-2-1) – Head Coach Josh Petrich’s Brown Bears have a pair of wins in the last ten games after playing six straight games against Fairbanks. This week’s three-game visit to the Twin Cities could prove to be troublesome.  Facing the #3 Magicians will be anything but a walk in the park. 

#20 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (9-15-1-1) – Head Coach Tom Kowal’s Knights have wins in three-straight games after the road sweep at Maryland. Can they string a few more on with this week’s visit to Boston and the Generals?

#21 Northeast Generals (7-13-2-1) – Joe Lovell’s Generals are winless in their last five games with the last four all against the league-leading Tomahawks. We can take that one step further and see that this is a .500 team if we take all six losses to Johnstown out of the equation. I’m thinking that the Generals are looking forward to getting the Knights at home for three games this weekend…anything is better than the Tomahawks.

#22 Maryland Black Bears (7-15-3-2) – Clint Mylymok’ Black Bears are winless in their last four games after getting swept at home by the Knights. Yea, that one is going to leave a mark. The good news is that this is a young group that heals quickly. They’re going to have to because this week’s run up to Jersey is going to present some problems.

#23 Chippewa Steel (6-19-1-1) – So much for Chippewa being more than a rumble strip during last week’s games at Aberdeen. Water under the bridge they say. So, what’s next for the Steel? Who’s coming to town this week? Santa? Well, North Pole (Alaska) is the next town over from Fairbanks, does that count? Let’s hope that the Steel can slow down the Ice Dogs with a little more success than they had at Aberdeen.

#24 Brookings Blizzard (3-20-1-1) – Moe Mantha’s Blizzard have dropped seven in a row and have just win in the last ten games following last night’s very competitive 2-1 home loss to Aberdeen. The Bruins visit 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 Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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