As most North American Hockey League teams inch closer to the trade deadlines and roster freezes they are also jockeying for playoff positions while others already have a sharp eye on next season.
Now let’s take a look at the best matchups for this weekend.
#21 Maryland Black Bears at #5 Jamestown Rebels: With the Black Bears still very much in the playoff race it’s going to be very interesting to see if Maryland bench boss Clint Mylymok goes to hot youngster Anthony Del Tufo again between the pipes. The Rebels should be locked and loaded for Bear this weekend.
#9 Janesville Jets at #12 Springfield Blues: To set the record straight, the Janesville Jets’ ownership did not have much of a choice in regards to the forced coaching change. There’s been a ton of second guessing around the league, especially considering the results from the past few weeks. Regardless of the turmoil, this is still the Janesville Jets and the Blues would be making a huge mistake if they take the visitors for granted. This should be a very interesting series to watch.
#11 Bismarck Bobcats at #8 Minnesota Wilderness: The Bobcats roll up to Minnesota to face a Wilderness team that was embarrassingly swept at home by Brookings. Bad weekends do happen, and the Bobcats know all about that. Could we see another axe fall in either team gets swept again this weekend? Just the thought of that could inspire a split.
#3 Amarillo Bulls at #13 Corpus Christi IceRays: There are only two teams that have a positive goal differential within the South Division and it’s the Bulls and ‘Rays…and Corpus has 63 less than Amarillo. Yea, fun facts are worthless once the puck drops. The Bulls will pick up some points this weekend, but they won’t get ‘em all.
NAHL BATTLE OF THE WEEK
#6 Austin Bruins at #2 Aberdeen Wings: I wish we could dig on how much these two teams hate each other…but they don’t. Maybe Bruins’ boss Steve Howard’s dislike for counterpart Scott Langer? But he doesn’t. So how can two of the league’s best teams be in the same division and not really be much of a rivalry. Call it a mutually respectful admiration of programs. Both coaches get results by simply doing things the right way. In a series like this, both coaches are wearing the white hats so the expectation is that we are going to be in for a very entertaining series. Langer’s Wings have sixteen wins a row while the Bruins have dropped five-straight. Both streaks end this weekend.
Author: Stephen Heisler
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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