The Johnstown Tomahawks continue to hold onto the #1 spot in this week’s edition of our North American Hockey League rankings.
Now for the disclosure… the following is my opinion and not written under the influence of anything or anybody.
#1 Johnstown Tomahawks (31-5-0-0) – Johnstown picked up shutout wins in back-to-back games at Maryland and have allowed just five-goals in the last four games. Will the WB have better luck this weekend when they visit the Tomahawks.
#2 Aberdeen Wings (27-5-1-1) – Scott Langer’s Wings have wins in fourteen straight games after the weekend road sweep at Austin. I’m thinking that the Bobcats are licking their chops with anticipation of the Wings visit to Bismarck this weekend.
#3 Amarillo Bulls (26-4-2-2) – Rocky Russo knows it’s going to be all but impossible to win them all, so I can only hope that he laughed off Friday’s night’s home loss to Odessa. Yea, whatever he said worked because the Bulls were charging in Saturday night’s 6-2 win. That loss did open the door for old nemeses Scott Langer to leapfrog Russo’s team into that #2 spot, so Rocky’s boys may be getting a little extra love in today’s practice. Shreveport visits this weekend.
#4 Minnesota Magicians (24-10-1-0) – AJ Bucchino may have taken advantage of Janesville’s changing of the guard in the Magician’s home sweep of the visiting Jets. I’m really curious to see how this weekend’s roadie to Janesville is going to turn out.
#5 Austin Bruins (21-10-0-4) – Head Coach Steve Howard’s Bruins do not have a regulation win in 2019 and have losses in three-straight games. I get it, there’s been a lot of cold weather, a hot goalie and an even hotter team thrown into the equation. Will the Bruins be able to add to Marty Murray’s woes this weekend at Minot?
#6 Jamestown Rebels (21-10-3-1) –Joe Coombs’ Rebels split picked up five of a possible eight points in the four-game (two weekends) series with the Knights. That fact makes this weekend’s trip to Jersey that much more interesting.
#7 Janesville Jets (19-12-2-2) –Corey Leivermann’s Jets are sputtering a bit as the new coach is making some much needed adjustments. Look for the burners to be lit in the weekend home series with the Magicians.
#8 Fairbanks Ice Dogs (19-12-3-2) –Trevor Stewart’s Ice Dogs looked like they could compete with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues in Friday’s 8-1 bashing of Springfield. So, what happened Friday night that made the team look so rough on Saturday? That 4-3 loss to the same Springy team will leave a mark. Chippewa visits for three games this weekend.
#9 Minnesota Wilderness (20-14-1-0) – The Wilderness split the weekend roadie in Minot. Can we expect more of the same when the suddenly potent Brookings Blizzard visit the Minnesota frontier this weekend?
#10 Bismarck Bobcats (19-14-1-0) – Head Coach Layne Sedevie’s Bobcats got into a bag of fits in the weekend split with Brookings. Maybe the week off will be good for them.
#11 Corpus Christi IceRays (20-15-1-0) – Ryan Cruthers’ IceRays reversed course with the weekend home sweep of Shreveport. This week’s roadie to the North Texas home of the Lone Star Brahmas will be fun to watch.
#12 Minot Minotauros (19-16-1-0) – Marty Murray’s Tauros split the weekend home series with the Wilderness, looking a lot like themselves again while doing so. We get a chance to see if all that was for real when #5 Austin visits this weekend.
#13 Shreveport Mudbugs (16-14-2-4) – Jason Campbell’s Mudbugs have always had troubles at Corpus Christi. Maybe it’s the sun, or just the senoritas, but the ‘Rays have the ‘Bugs number. I’m thinking things won’t be much different up at Amarillo. Well, aside from less sun. As for the senoritas; most or the females in that part of Texas are looked up in the feed lot or on their way to the freezer.
#14 Lone Star Brahmas (16-14-2-4) – Hey, you want to hear a secret? Dan Wildfong’s Brahmas have not lost a game since Christmas. Lone Star’s home sweep of Topeka extends the win streak to four-games just in time for the IceRays’ visit this weekend.
#15 New Jersey Titans (18-17-0-0) – Craig Doremus and the Titans were swept out of the New England Sports Village by the Generals. Jamestown visits this week…that should be fun.
#16 Springfield Blues (14-14-2-1) – Tyler Rennette’s Blues were bullied by the Ice Dogs Friday night and simply punched to big fella right in the kisser with Saturday’s win to get the split. Springfield has the perfect opportunity to put Kenai River into a big playoff hole with three games in Soldotna this weekend.
#17 Topeka Pilots (15-16-2-3) – Simon Watson’s Pilots are winless in 2019 after losing their third and fourth game of the new year at Lone Star. Odessa plays three games in the Kansas capital city this week.
#18 Northeast Generals (12-18-3-3) – Joe Lovell’s Generals picked up a nice home sweep of the Titans and will be travelling down to balmy Maryland this week.
#19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (13-20-1-1) – Head Coach Tom Kowal’s Knights split the weekend series at Jamestown and would love to get that same result this week at Johnstown. Good luck with that.
#20 Kenai River Brown Bears (12-19-2-2) – How important is on-ice success to the hockey fans of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula? Head Coach Josh Petrich’s Brown Bears drew 4,200+ to the three-game series with Fairbanks back on November 23,24 & 25. With just three wins in the previous ten games, the Brown Bears combined attendance was 667 for this past week’s games with the Chippewa Steel (both losses by the way). It could easily get much worse this weekend when the Blues come to town for three.
#21 Odessa Jackalopes (13-20-0-1) – Greg Gatto’s Jackalopes took full advantage of their week off and slayed the dragon with a win at Amarillo Friday night. Nicely done and we’ll just overlook Saturday’s loss. The Jacks jump up to Kansas for three games this week.
#22 Maryland Black Bears (11-21-3-2) – Honestly, did anyone really expect Clint Mylymok’s expansion Black Bears to stop the Johnstown train? Yes, I do expect much more when the Generals visit this week.
#23 Chippewa Steel (11-23-1-1) – The Steel will be riding a three-game winning streak into warm and sunny Fairbanks this weekend. Temperatures are expected to reach -21 by Sunday. I know, that was not a cool joke.
#24 Brookings Blizzard (5-28-2-1) – Moe Mantha’s Blizzard look like a different team in 2019, going 2-1-1 in the last four games. The Blizzard got the 4-2 win at Bizzie Friday night before getting shutout 5-0 on Saturday. It would be nice for the boys to get hot this week in Cloquet.
THE FINE PRINT
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.