Wow, what an exciting weekend of hockey! The North American Hockey League’s Johnstown Tomahawks secured their post-season bid, Bismarck ended the madness for Aberdeen. We do have a story about the most ridiculous owner in junior hockey history, but that’s going to have to wait another day or so.
NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
That streaky madness in Aberdeen ended at 20 games after the Wings loss Saturday night at Bismarck. Austin closed the gap between themselves and the Central Division leaders to 15-points after the Bruins’ weekend sweep of the Magicians. Minot has three straight wins and is just a few points behind the ‘Tauros and three ahead of the Wilderness. The Bobcats are three-points out of the playoff picture in fifth-place. The sad news is the fact that one of these teams will find themselves on the outside looking in come play-off time. Brookings is already well into next season mode.
Yes, the East Division’s Johnstown Tomahawks are the league’s first confirmed playoff participant after the weekend home sweep of second-place Jamestown. The Rebels are now 17-points behind the leaders and ten ahead of the third-place Titans. Only six-points separate the currently fourth-place Generals from the sixth-place Knights in the league’s only real top-to-bottom playoff race.
The Minnesota Magicians’ once huge lead in the Midwest Division has shrunk to just seven-points after being swept over the weekend by Austin. Second-place Fairbanks is now just seven-points behind and three ahead of Janesville. The Blues have collected 15-pints in the last ten games (7-2-1-0) and are now just a pair of points behind the third-place Jets. Kenai River and Chippewa are pretty much out of the picture and should be in next-year mode by now.
Amarillo continues their hold on the South Division race after picking up three-points from their visit to Odessa. 18-points behind are the Shreveport Mudbugs who have a slim single-point lead over the Brahmas. The IceRays picked up a big win at Fairbanks Friday night and find themselves back at .500 with just a two-point lead over fifth-place Topeka. It would not be impossible for Odessa to sneak back into the playoff picture, just highly unlikely.
CHEERS AND JEERS
We only have one jeers for this week and it’s a nasty one. It will also have to wait until later this week as info is still coming in. Let’s just say this; there is a team owner out there that will never get the opportunity to run (ruin) a team again. I see a forced sale and a very embarrassed son on the near horizon.
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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