With less than half the NA3HL regular season remaining, 2013 opens with teams in full swing and scrambling for playoff positioning. The second of the two NA3HL Showcases is just about a month away. Here is a look at how 2013 started and the upcoming games this weekend in this week in the NA3HL:
Alexandria Blizzard: The Blizzard picked up a huge 4-3 home win over the 1st place North Iowa Bulls in their lone game last weekend. Ian Ecklund scored twice and has quickly become one of the top forwards in all of the NA3HL. This weekend, the Blizzard face Minnesota at home on Friday and travel to Twin City on Sunday.
Battle Creek Revolution: The Revs did it again… for the third time in as many weekends played, Battle Creek posted a win, this time defeating Queen City 4-3 in a shootout on Sunday. The two losses over the weekend were close as Battle Creek fell to Michigan 2-0 and Queen City 4-2. This weekend, Battle Creek hosts Metro on Saturday and Michigan on Sunday.
Breezy Point North Stars: The North Stars were outscored 14-4 in two losses last weekend to North Iowa and Granite City. The North Stars had a 3-2 lead on Sunday against the Lumberjacks, only to see them score five of the last six goals of the game. This weekend’s schedule for Breezy Point doesn’t get any easier as they face a tough road test in North Iowa, followed by home games against Minnesota and Granite City.
Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks: In their return from holiday break, the Jacks posted a big weekend home sweep of the Flint Jr. Generals. Forward David Fassbender had six points over the weekend and was named the league’s #2 star of the week for his efforts. The homestand continues this weekend as Cleveland hosts Toledo for a pair of games.
Flint Jr. Generals: The Jr. Generals fell to 4th place in the East Division after they were swept on the road in a pair of games against Cleveland. Forward Nicholas Gnagni had four points over the weekend, including three in a 6-4 loss to the Jacks on Saturday. This weekend, the Jr. Generals travel to Michigan to take on the Mountain Cats in a pair of games.
Granite City Lumberjacks: The Lumberjacks took care of business in their lone game last weekend as they defeated the Breezy Point North Stars, 7-4 on Sunday. Alex Koopmeiners had two goals in the win. This weekend, it is another single game for the Lumberjacks s they again will travel to Breezy Point for their lone game on Sunday.
Metro Jets: The Jets were swept by the Three Rivers Vengeance last weekend in Pittsburgh and have now lost five straight games. After falling 4-1 on Saturday, the Jets were edged 6-4 on Sunday. Forward Matt Stirling had four points over the weekend, including three in the 6-4 loss. Up next for the Jets is a lone road game in Battle Creek on Saturday.
Michigan Mountain Cats: The Mountain Cats posted a 1-1-0 record over the weekend as the picked up a 2-0 shutout win over Battle Creek on Friday, but lost 5-1 to Toledo on Saturday. Goalie Spencer Craig made 23 saves in the shutout of Battle Creek. This weekend, prepares for two home games against Flint on Friday and Saturday and a road clash in Battle Creek on Sunday.
Minnesota Flying Aces: The Aces were edged in the head coaching debut of Andy Maher by the Twin City Steel, 3-2 on Sunday as they returned from holiday break. Payton Trammel and Alex Yde scored in the loss for the Aces. This weekend, the Flying Aces face tough road tests in Alexandria on Friday and Breezy Point on Saturday.
North Iowa Bulls: The Bulls had their 11-game winning streak snapped this past weekend as they fell 4-3 to Alexandria on Friday. However, the rebounded with a 7-0 defeat of Breezy Point on Saturday. Defenseman Chancie Hanson had three points over the weekend. This weekend, the Bulls host the North Stars on Friday and travel to the Steel on Saturday.
Peoria Mustangs: The Mustangs split a home and home series with the Quad City Jr. Flames last weekend. After being shutout 2-0 on Friday, the Mustangs rebounded on Saturday with a 3-1 win at home. Michael Parda made 26 saves and Brennan Anderson had the game-winning goal. This weekend, Peoria faces a tough test as they host division-leading St. Louis for a pair of games.
Quad City Jr. Flames: The Flames picked up their 6th win of the season with a 2-0 shutout of Peoria on Friday. Robby Vukelich stopped all 22 shots that came his way in the shutout. The next night, Vukelich made 28 saves, but it wasn’t enough in a 3-1 loss at Peoria. The Jr. Flames have this upcoming weekend off before returning to action next weekend in a lone game against Battle Creek.
Queen City Steam: The Steam split their weekend road series in Battle Creek last weekend. Thomas Clayton scored twice in their 4-2 win on Saturday. In their 4-3 shootout loss on Sunday, Rob Gentile had a goal and an assist. This weekend, the Steam face a tough challenge when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the surging Three Rivers Vengeance.
St. Louis Jr. Blues: The Jr. Blues have been off since December 23rd and will travel to Peoria this weekend for pair of road games against the Mustangs. The Jr. Blues still own the NA3HL’s best record at 27-2-1 and are still unbeaten in regulation on the road.
Three Rivers Vengeance: The surging Vengeance stayed hot with a weekend home sweep of the Metro Jets. Forwards Tom Diffendal and Nico Vecchio were the #1 and #3 stars of the week respectively for their six-point efforts over the weekend. The Vengeance, who are now in 2nd place in the East, host the Queen City Steam for a pair of games this weekend.
Toledo Cherokee: The Cherokee won their lone game this past weekend, a 5-1 win in Michigan over the Mountain Cats. Nate Gay made 31 saves and Jordan Fogarty had three points in the win, which moved Toledo into 3rd place in the East. This weekend the Cherokee make the short trip East to take on in-state rival Cleveland for a pair of games.
Twin City Steel: The Steel won their lone game last weekend, a 3-2 home win over the Minnesota Flying Aces. Two, 3rd period goals from Trey Hughes and Ryan McAloon were the difference in the game. Tom Bartel also had two assists in the game. This weekend, the Steel have tough home games against North Iowa on Saturday and Alexandria on Sunday.