NAHL Power Rankings for April 5: Teams prepare for final push with playoffs right around the corner
As teams look to clinch their spots and battle for playoff positioning, final two weekends shaping up to be an exciting finish
The Rink Live is happy to release the latest edition of its NAHL Power Rankings. Jordan McAlpine will provide rankings on a bi-weekly basis throughout the rest of the season.
Without further ado, let’s get to it.
29.) Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks, 3-46-5-2
Last Ranking: 29
Danbury has played just once since the last round of power rankings — a 6-2 loss at New Jersey. The Jr. Hat Tricks have dropped four straight and nine of their last 10.
28.) Corpus Christi IceRays, 11-38-6-1
Last Ranking: 27
The IceRays have dropped four straight and have also lost nine of their last 10 (1-8-0-1).
27.) El Paso Rhinos, 17-35-3-1
Last Ranking: 28
The Rhinos have split their last four games — including a win over league-leading Oklahoma — and are 4-6-0-0 in their last 10. However, El Paso still sits seventh in the South Division.
El Paso goaltender C.J. Kier made two starts against New Mexico last weekend and stopped 74 of the 76 shots fired his way.
26.) Philadelphia Rebels, 23-29-2-1
Last Ranking: 26
Philadelphia has dropped seven straight and the Rebels have picked up just one point in that stretch, an overtime loss at Johnstown.
25.) Springfield Jr. Blues, 24-29-1-2
Last Ranking: 25
The Jr. Blues have dropped three straight and four of their last five. Springfield has points in five of its last 10 (3-5-0-2) but the Jr. Blues still sit at the bottom of the Midwest Division.
24.) Janesville Jets, 23-26-5-4
Last Ranking: 21
The Jets have dropped five of their last six and are 2-8-0-0 in their last 10. Janesville has been shut out in two of its last three games and scored just one goal in the two previous games.
23.) Aberdeen Wings, 26-24-3-3
Last Ranking: 20
The Wings were swept by Minot last weekend and are 3-6-0-1 in their last 10. The Wings have also scored two or less goals in eight of those games.
Aberdeen and Minot are now tied for fourth in the Central Division and with four games left in the regular season – all against St. Cloud – it’s going to be a photo finish.
22.) Bismarck Bobcats, 25-25-4-2
Last Ranking: 23
Sticking in the central, the Bobcats might be in last place, but they’re just two points behind Aberdeen and Minot.
Bismarck is coming off a home sweep over North Iowa and will close out the season with four straight against the Bulls.
21.) Minot Minotauros, 28-26-1-1
Last Ranking: 22
The Minotauros have won four of their last six. Minot defenseman Weston Knox was named one of the NAHL’s Stars of the Week after putting up three points — including a pair of game-winning goals — and a plus-five rating.
With both game-winning goals in our weekend sweep of the Aberdeen Wings Weston Knox earned NAHL Central Bauer Hockey Star of the Week honors! #ChargeAhead— Minot Minotauros (@MinotauroHockey) April 3, 2023
Full Story: https://t.co/FC0Wc9ZOHg pic.twitter.com/Q5hZuGSt23
The Minotauros currently hold the final playoff spot in the Central Division.
20.) Fairbanks Ice Dogs, 27-24-6-1
Last Ranking: 17
Fairbanks is 1-7-1-1 in its last 10 and the Ice Dogs announced Tuesday afternoon that they have parted ways with head coach Dave Allison.
General manager Rob Proffitt will be behind the bench for Fairbanks’ final two regular-season games this weekend against Chippewa.
19.) Anchorage Wolverines, 26-23-6-1
Last Ranking: 18
Anchorage is 5-5-0-0 in its last 10 and currently sixth in the Midwest Division. However, the Wolverines are just two points behind Fairbanks, four behind Kenai River and five behind Chippewa.
With four games left — all against Kenai River — the Wolverines can still earn a playoff spot. But they'll need wins and some help.
18.) Odessa Jackalopes, 28-25-1-2
Last Ranking: 19
The Jackalopes had an impressive sweep over Lone Star last weekend but still sit sixth in the South Division. The final playoff spot is still up for grabs in the South Division and with four games left, there’s still a chance. But it’ll be a tall mountain to climb.
17.) Johnstown Tomahawks, 28-23-3-1
Last Ranking: 24
The Tomahawks took the biggest fall of anyone in the last round of rankings but have responded with a bang, winning five straight games and scoring 24 goals in that stretch.
That is FIVE in a row for your Johnstown Tomahawks!!!!! pic.twitter.com/izAi3LB5d0— Johnstown Tomahawks (@JohnstownHawks) April 2, 2023
Johnstown is fifth in the East Division with 60 points, five behind Maine and Northeast. However, the Tomahawks have five games left, including a critical three-game set this weekend at Philadelphia.
16.) North Iowa Bulls, 29-24-2-1
Last Ranking: 11
The Bulls have dropped three of their last four. Although their lead is slim, North Iowa is still third in the Central Division with 61 points and can clinch a playoff spot with a pair of wins over Bismarck this weekend.
15.) Northeast Generals, 30-23-4-1
Last Ranking: 14
The Generals have also dropped three of their last four and Northeast is 5-5-0-0 in its last 10. Northeast is tied with Maine for third in the East Division with 65 points.
Northeast has just two games left this weekend against Danbury, then the focus shifts to scoreboard-watching.
14.) St. Cloud Norsemen, 28-20-3-5
Last Ranking: 13
Another team trying to secure a playoff spot this weekend, the Norsemen are second in the central with 64 points. St. Cloud is heading into the postseason strong too as the Norsemen have points in four straight (3-0-0-1) and eight of their last 10 (6-2-0-2).
They’ve held their opponents to three goals or less in eight of those games. Forward Kade Peterson has also been heating up with three goals and an assist last weekend.
13.) Kenai River Brown Bears, 30-23-2-1
Last Ranking: 15
The Brown Bears continue to climb the rankings and the standings are Kenair River is 7-3-0-0 in its last 10 and making a push in the Midwest Division. The Brown Bears split a series in Fairbanks last weekend but have won five of their last six.
Kenai River currently owns the final playoff spot in the division and also controls its own destiny.
12.) Amarillo Wranglers, 30-23-2-1
Last Ranking: 16
Speaking of teams on a roll, the Wranglers have won five straight and are 6-4-0-0 in their last 10. Thanks to their late-season surge, Amarillo is now fifth in the South Division, two points behind New Mexico for the final playoff spot. Both teams have four games left.
Amarillo will face Lone Star this weekend before heading to Odessa for the final two.
#74 Pierce Patterson is the NAHL Defenseman of the Month for March!🤠🏒 pic.twitter.com/UM4w40smh9— Amarillo Wranglers (@NAHLwranglers) April 5, 2023
11.) Maine Nordiques, 31-22-2-1
Last Ranking: 5
The Nordiques currently have one of the league’s longest losing streaks at five games. Maine had recorded five straight wins before being swept by Northeast and Johnstown in back-to-back weekends.
The Nordiques are still tied for third in the East Division with 65 points and finish the season with four home games — two more against New Jersey and two against Philadelphia.
10.) New Mexico Ice Wolves, 31-22-2-1
Last Ranking: 9
New Mexico defeated El Paso last time out, which snapped a brief four-game losing streak. The Ice Wolves, who have had no issue finding the back of the net for much of this season, fell 1-0 on back-to-back nights against Lone Star and have scored just two combined goals over their past four games.
9.) Chippewa Steel, 30-22-1-3
Last Ranking: 12
The Steel have soared to third in the Midwest Division thanks to a 7-1-0-2 showing over their last 10. Forward Kazumo Sasaki notched a six-point weekend 4-2-6, including a hat trick last Sunday in a 6-2 win in Anchorage.
Chippewa can also clinch a playoff spot this weekend with a pair of wins over Fairbanks. The Steel also had a pair of players honored as forward Sam Rice and goaltender Adam Gajan were named two of the NAHL's March Stars of the Month.
Not one… not two… THREE big awards for the Chippewa Steel! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️— Chippewa Steel Hockey (@ChippewaSteel) April 5, 2023
Sam Rice: NAHL’s Forward of the Month.
Adam Gajan: NAHL’s Goalie of the Month.
Kazumo Sasaki: NAHL’s Midwest First Star of the Week. #RallyTheValley pic.twitter.com/odOJqZwlno
8.) Minnesota Wilderness, 32-17-3-4
Last Ranking: 10
The Wilderness are the one team to beat Chippewa in that 7-1-0-2 stretch and Minnesota has been just as hot with an 8-2-0-0 showing in its last 10 and a playoff spot clinched.
They’ve done it with strong defense and goaltending too as Minnesota has held its opponent to two or less goals in nine of its last 10, including a pair of shutouts against Janesville. Minnesota will host division-leading Wisconsin this weekend.
7.) Austin Bruins, 33-14-3-6
Last Ranking: 4
Austin has clinched the Central Division and currently holds an 11-point edge on St. Cloud. However, the Bruins have dropped two straight and are 5-3-0-2 in their last 10.
At the same time, they’re continuing to pick up points and their plus-42 goal differential ranks fifth in the league.
6.) New Jersey Titans, 36-17-1-2
Last Ranking: 8
Another team with a playoff spot already locked up, the Titans are catching fire at the right time and have won five straight and seven of their last 10. New Jersey will finish the season second in the East Division.
🧹GET🧹UP🧹MIDDLETOWN🧹— @NAHLTitans (@NAHLTitans) April 2, 2023
🚨BARTECKO#titansnation #njtpuck pic.twitter.com/uRY12OMJVx
After going through a brief slump earlier this month, the Titans will look to keep their win streak going and use these final four games as a final tuneup for the playoffs.
5.) Lone Star Brahmas, 35-13-3-5
Last Ranking: 7
The Brahmas hold a three-point edge on Shreveport for second in the South Division. Although Lone Star has dropped two straight, the Brahmas have points in eight (6-2-1-1) of their last 10 and continue to be one of the league’s toughest teams to play against.
Lone Star ranks 24th in the NAHL in goals scored (148) but the Brahmas have allowed a league-best 118.
4.) Shreveport Mudbugs, 34-15-2-5
Last Ranking: 6
Shreveport did something not many teams have done this season as the Mudbugs swept Oklahoma last weekend. Lone Star (twice) is the only other NAHL team to do so.
Forward Ryan Burke, who was named one of the NAHL’s Stars of the Week, had six points over the two wins, including four assists in Saturday’s 5-2 victory. Shreveport is currently third in the South Division and with four games left, the Mudbugs will look to finish strong against Corpus Christi and El Paso.
3.) Wisconsin Windigo, 36-17-1-2
Last Ranking: 3
The Windigo remained hot and have won eight of their last 10. Wisconsin’s 75 points and .670 win percentage are tied for fourth in the league and the Windigo are closing in on a Midwest Division title. Wisconsin holds a four-point edge on Minnesota and will face the Wilderness this weekend.
2.) Maryland Black Bears, 39-15-4-0
Last Ranking: 2
The Black Bears continue to sit second in the league in nearly every statistical category and have won three straight. Maryland is 7-3-0-0 in its last 10 and with a seven-point edge on New Jersey, the Black Bears can clinch the East Division title with a point this weekend.
1.) Oklahoma Warriors, 42-12-1-1
Last Ranking: 1
Oklahoma clinched the NAHL’s regular-season title last weekend and still has four games left. Oklahoma is 6-3-1-0 in its last 10.
The Oklahoma Warriors are your 2022-23 North American Hockey League Regular Season Champions! We're still not done, but it's been a heck of a season so far!#FightLikeWarriors⚔️ #OklahomaHockey pic.twitter.com/0u7QO48sYI— Oklahoma Warriors NAHL (@OkWarriors_NAHL) April 2, 2023
The Warriors continue to lead the league in wins (42), win percentage (.768), goals scored (241) and goal differential (plus-113). They’ll have a chance to add to those totals this weekend against El Paso. Oklahoma is a league-best 22-5-1-0 at home this season.