For the third straight week, the team holding the top spot in the North American Hockey League took a major hit. Springfield got rocked 6-2 in Anchorage Friday night, won on Saturday 6-2, before losing again Sunday 4-1.
Odessa is the hottest team in the league with wins in five-straight games.
Now let’s get to this week’s rankings.
#1 – Austin Bruins 8-2-1-0 (.773) Steve Howard’s Bruins had their hands full with #28 Bismarck Friday night before scoring twice in the third to pick up the win. There was no such drama in Saturday’s 5-1 win. If anything, Friday’s game was a wake-up alarm telling the boys there are no nights off in this league. The Bruins bus out to Minot this weekend.
#2 – New Mexico Ice Wolves 6-2-0-0 (.750) Phil Fox and the Ice Wolves needed overtime in both games to sweep the visiting IceRays. The Jackalopes will present an entirely different set of challenges this weekend.
#3 – Odessa Jackalopes 8-3-0-0 (.727) What Scott Deur and the Jackalopes have been able to accomplish (winners in six of seven games, all on road) since the Showcase is astonishing. Can their five-game win streak be extended this week in New Mexico?
B (.600 to .724)
#4 – Maryland Black Bears 9-3-1-1 (.714) Clint Mylymok’s Bears have won four straight games after the weekend sweep at Jamestown. The Generals bring a dangerous group back to Maryland this week.
#5 – St. Cloud Norsemen 5-2-0-0 (.714) With a total of 14 days between games, St. Cloud should be rested and ready. Corey Millen is not a coach that’s going to waste ANY time and I’m very certain that the Norsemen will be supercharged for this weekend’s visit to Bismarck.
#6 – Fairbanks Ice Dogs 8-3-0-1 (.708) Trevor Stewart’s Ice Dogs looked like they took the foot off the gas while getting beat 2-1 on Saturday, after beating the Steel 5-2 Friday. This week’s battle with Springfield could be epic.
#7 – North Iowa Bulls 8-3-0-1 (.708) Todd Sanden’s Bulls edged the Minotauros Friday 3-2 before getting stampeded 6-1 by then 26th ranked Minot on Saturday. What can we expect from the Bulls this weekend when they visit Aberdeen?
#8 – Amarillo Wranglers 7-3-0-0 (.700) The Wranglers looked much better in Shreveport than they did in Wichita Falls. Which group will show up in Ft. Worth this weekend?
#9 – Springfield Blues 9-4-0-0 (.692) Tyler Rennette’s Blues lost two of three at Anchorage and falls eight spots to #9. The Alaska trip does not get any easier with the ride to Fairbanks slated for this weekend.
#10 – Minnesota Wilderness 6-3-1-0 (.650) Did Dave Boitz really blow his top after Saturday’s loss to the Magicians? Well boys, it’s 67 degrees and sunny in Norfolk. Just saying. Janesville visits this week.
#11 – Anchorage Wolverines 7-4-1-0 (.636) Mike Aikens’ and the Wolverines took two of three from then top-ranked Springfield, selling out their temporary home at Ben Boeke Ice Arena all three nights. The boys get next weekend off before the Janesville Jets land on October 29-30.
#12 – Minnesota Magicians 8-5-1-0 (.607) Nick Bydal’s Magicians earned a trio of points in their home-and-home set with the Wilderness. The Magicians are now off until October 30th when they jump the border to Wisconsin to face Chippewa.
C (.475 to .599)
#13 – Johnstown Tomahawks 6-5-0-0 (.545) Mike Letizia’s Tomahawks have now picked up wins in four of their last five games after the solid home sweep of the Nordiques. Let’s see how it goes this weekend at Danbury.
#14 – Wichita Falls Warriors 6-5-1-0 (.542) Garrett Roth’s Warriors managed only 14 shots in Friday’s 3-1 home loss to the Brahmas before doubling that total in Saturday’s 5-0 shutout win. Nicely done. The Mudbugs visit this weekend so break out the boilers.
#15 – Northeast Generals 7-7-0-0 (.500) What did Generals’ head coach Bryan Erikson say to his team after getting crushed 7-1 on Friday? Somebody needs to record this coach because whatever was said worked. The Gens rebounded with a clutch overtime win Saturday. The bus rolls south to Maryland this weekend to face the Black Bears…again.
#16 – New Jersey Titans 6-6-1-0 (.500) Craig Doremus and the Titans rolled the Generals 7-1 on Friday before getting beat in overtime by the same team Saturday. There are three games on the schedule for this week when they travel up to Danbury Wednesday before hosting Maine Friday and Saturday.
#17 – Jamestown Rebels 5-5-1-1 (.500) Joe Coombs’ Rebels picked up a single point while getting swept in their home series against Maryland. Jamestown gets this weekend off before travelling to Maine for games at The Colisee October 29-30.
#18 – Maine Nordiques 5-5-0-0 (.500) Nolan Howe’s Nordiques got hammered in Johnstown while dropping both games. Maine visits New Jersey this week and has a chance to redeem themselves.
#19 – Aberdeen Wings 5-5-0-0 (.500) The Wings split their weekend pair at Bismarck leaving us with a serious question. Everyone keeps telling me that Steve Jennings was a great hire for Aberdeen, so when is all this greatness going to make an appearance? North Iowa visits the Odde this weekend. making now as good a time as any.
#20 – Lone Star Brahmas 4-4-2-0 (.500) Dan Wildfong’s Brahmas looked great in Friday’s 3-1 win at Wichita Falls before getting shut-out by the Warriors 5-0 Saturday. Amarillo visits NYTEX this weekend with bad intentions but the question is this, which Brahmas team is going to show up?
#21 – Shreveport Mudbugs 4-4-1-1 (.500) Jason Campbell and the Mudbugs drop to .500 after being swept at home by Amarillo. This weekend’s trip to Wichita Falls won’t be a cakewalk either.
D (.350 to .474)
#22 – Chippewa Steel 6-7-0-0 (.462) Casey Mignone’s Steel slayed the dragon with their 2-1 win in Fairbanks Saturday night. If they can maintain that intensity this week on the Kenai Peninsula, a three-game sweep is certainly within reach.
#23 – Corpus Christi IceRays 4-5-2-0 (.455) Mike Lysyj and the Rays earned two points from two overtime losses at New Mexico. This week’s trip to the border could be interesting with El Paso still hungry for their first home win.
#24 – Minot Minotauros 4-7-1 (.375) Cody Campbell’s Minotauros looked like world beaters in their impressive 6-1 win at North Iowa Saturday night to earn the road split. That result certainly sent a message to rest of the teams on the Minot schedule. Austin visits Maysa Arena this weekend.
#25 – El Paso Rhinos 3-6-1-0 (.350) Anthony Bohn’s Rhinos salvaged a single point (from Saturday’s OT loss) while getting swept at home by Odessa. Corpus Christi visits the El Paso County Events Center for the first time this weekend.
#26 – Janesville Jets 3-6-0-1 (.350) Parker Burgess and the Jets leave the hanger this weekend when they travel to Minnesota to face the Wilderness. Now would be a really good time for the young men to make a serious statement.
F (.000 to .349)
#27 – Danbury Hat Tricks 2-6-2-0 (.250) Billy McCreary’s Hat Tricks should be well rested and ready for their three-game work week. New Jersey visits Wednesday before the Tomahawks drop in Friday and Saturday.
#28 – Bismarck Bobcats 2-10-0-0 (.167) Layne Sedevie’s Bobcats gave Austin a heck of a game on Friday night before losing 5-1 on Saturday. Can they sneak a home win in this weekend when St. Cloud visits the VFW Sports Center?
#29 – Kenai River Brown Bears 1-9-0-0 (.100) Josh Dubinsky’s Bears had the week off to get the chance to maybe settle in and prepare for their upcoming three-game series with Chippewa. Considering fact that Steel picked up a win at the Big Dipper in Fairbanks on Saturday night, it could be a tough weekend.