Today's Mash features a team that's literally saving the game in their community and another making a mockery of it in theirs.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, there are several surprising developments found in this week’s Mash.
NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
The Central Division’s Bismarck Bobcats (14-1-0-2) don’t have a regulation loss in the last fourteen games (13-0-0-1) and appear to be all but unbeatable. Minot (12-4-1-2) is trying to keep pace and is riding a four-game win streak of their own. The Wings (10-4-4-1) and Wilderness (12-9-1-0) are tied for third with Austin (9-7-2-2) just three-points out. It’s way too early to count Moe Mantha’s St Cloud Blizzard (4-11-3-1) out of the picture; but that reality is not too far in the future if all the losing continues.
New Jersey (16-2-0-1) has a strong hold on the East Division’s top spot with a nice streak of their own; going 11-0-0-1 in the last dozen games. With five more games played, Johnstown (13-7-2-2) moved to with three-points of the Titans. The Knights (10-10-1-1) and Generals (10-12-1-1) are tied for third place with Maine (10-10-1-0) just a single point behind. Maryland (9-10-2-0) remains within striking distance and is just two-points out of fourth place. Look for every game in this division to have serious playoff implications for the remainder of the season.
Do you believe in miracles? The Kenai River Brown Bears (14-5-1-2) are riding a seven-game winning streak and find themselves atop the Midwest Division standings this week. Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula hockey fans have responded with crowds of 1,000+ recorded in three of the Brown Bears’ last four home games. Look for an eruption of support for this team if they can find a way to continue their winning ways this weekend when in-state rival Fairbanks (14-6-0-1) visits for a trio of games. It looks like Janesville (10-10-1-0) is on the move with a five-game win streak. Just a point behind Chippewa (11-7-0-0) with three more games played, I see the Jets blasting into division championship contention sooner than later. Springfield (7-12-2-1) appears to have a case of the Blues with just three-wins in their last ten games. The Magicians (4-10-4-2) have the richest local talent base in the league and are running out of excuses for not being among the league leaders.
There’s a five-team battle being waged in the league’s South Division. Lone Star (16-5-0-1) is sitting on top of the heap this week with seven wins in the last ten games. Only three-points separate second-place Amarillo (13-4-1-2) from currently fifth-place Shreveport (13-7-0-0). Topeka (13-9-1-1) and Corpus Christi (11-9-2-3) and sandwiched between in third and fourth place. Odessa (7-11-1-1) is going to have to get hot in a hurry if they want to shot at the playoff picture. After a slow start, New Mexico (4-16-0-1) has all four of their wins in the last ten games.
Cheers and Jeers
Jeers to the Western States Hockey League’s El Paso Rhinos and head coach/owner Cory Herman, for running an absolute gong show on the ice. According to multiple sources viewing Sunday’s live game from home, a visiting Dallas Snipers’ player was put into a choke hold by one of the Rhinos’ player on the bench. The Snipers’ player lost conciseness and had to be helped off the ice. That’s not hockey, that’s a felony assault. Let’s hope law enforcement officials can gain access to the Rhinos’ extensive video to collect evidence and make the arrest. Herman should get a pair of bracelets himself for allowing such ridiculousness in the first place.
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 Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.
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