We are near the conclusion of January with the realities of trade deadlines and roster freezes quickly approaching. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the contenders, pretenders, and those already in next-season mode, elect to approach the conclusion of the season.
NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
Aberdeen needed a shootout at home (against Austin) to continue their fire ball. The streak, now at 18 games, expands their lead in the Central Division to 17-points. The Bruins are in a dog-fight with the Wilderness, Minot, and Bismarck for second to fifth place.
Don’t look now but it appears there’s a weakness in the Tomahawks armor. The Generals took two of three from the East Division leaders over the weekend. Jamestown and New Jersey have a fairly solid lock on second and fourth place. Maryland and the WB are still within striking distance (four and five points) of the fourth place Generals.
The Magicians have gone six games without a loss and continue to keep a tight grip on the Midwest Division lead. Fairbanks remains in second place after the weekend off. The Jets put a hard stop on their losing streak with a split at Springfield. Speaking of the Blues, Springfield is 13 points ahead of Kenai River with a fairly secure lock on a playoff spot.
South Division leading Amarillo looked good in their three-game sweep at Corpus Christi. Second-place Shreveport is just two-points ahead of Lone Star who are three points ahead of the IceRays. Fourth-place Corpus Christi, losers in five-straight games, are just a single point ahead of Topeka.
CHEERS AND JEERS
Jeers to the USA Hockey Tier III programs and coaches that continue to downplay opportunities within the North American Hockey League. Any Tier III team that has the nerve to demand a player in return from an NAHL team needs to have their head examined. Do you really think that an NAHL veteran will want to close out his junior career at the Tier III level at this point in the season? Midget coaches are guilty as well. There was a coach that nixed a goalie’s opportunity to prove his worth in the NAHL last week, because there was a make-up game that was scheduled at the last minute. Garbage, garbage, garbage.
Cheers to Moe Mantha and the Brookings Blizzard for turning things around as of late. 5-4-1 in the last ten games, this looks like a different hockey team since the Christmas break.
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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