There is little room for error in the North Division of the North American Hockey League.
With eight weekends to play in the 2013-2014 regular season, there is a frantic race for the four playoff positions in the six-team North Division.
Simply out, two pretty-good teams are going to be on the outside looking in once the playoffs begin in the NAHL North during the first week of April.
Let’s take a quick, top to bottom glance at the NAHL North. Team records are indicated in brackets.
1. PORT HURON FIGHTING FALCONS (24-11-7, 55 points)
In his fourth season of junior with his fifth NAHL team, forward Zach Badalamenti leads the Fighting Falcons in scoring with 10 goals, 22 assists, 32 points. High on the Port Huron scoring chart are a pair of defencemen, Jon Kopacka and Alex Archibald. Kopacka has 10 goals, 17 assists, 27 points and Archibald has 4 goals, 19 assists, 23 points. In Max Milosek and Alex Blankenburg, the Fighting Falcons boast the division’s top 1-2 goaltending tandem.
2. MICHIGAN WARRIORS (21-12-8, 50 points)
A troika of 1993 birth-year skaters lead the Warriors in scoring. Zack Szajner has 10 goals, 19 assists, 29 points followed by Colin Larkin at 16-12-28 and Jake Hopfner at 14-12-16. Also putting up the points since being acquired by the Warriors from the Topeka RoadRunners is Tyler Groat, who has 10 goals, 4 assists, 14 points in 16 games in a Michigan uniform.
3. JOHNSTOWN TOMAHAWKS (23-19-3, 49 points)
Forwards Shane Bednard and Brandon Reinholz with 16 apiece and Matt Meier with 15 have combined for 47 goals to lead the Johnstown production parade. Defenceman Mitch Hall is up there in scoring with 5 goals, 28 assists, 33 points and goalie Alex Okicki gives the Tomahawks a good chance to win most nights.
4. SOO EAGLES (20-17-7, 47 points)
1995 birth-year forward Mike Sabatini leads the Eagles in scoring with 14 goals, 16 assists, 30 points. Three forwards acquired from other NAHL teams since the start of the season have given the Eagles a big boost. Since joining the Soo lineup, Scott Cuthrell has 8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points in 16 games, Nick Belger is 9-5-14 in 18 games and Sandis Zolmanis is 7-13-20 in 26 games.
5. SPRINGFIELD JR. BLUES (20-18-5, 45 points)
This is one of the NAHL’s youngest teams and three 1996 birth-year players are among the best of the Jr. Blues. They are top scorers Max Kalter with 12 goals, 17 assists, 29 points, Trevor Stone with 7-15-22 totals and workhorse goalie Stefanos Lekkas who has a 16-13-4 record, 2.30 goals-against-average and .927 save percentage.
6. JANESVILLE JETS (18-21-2, 38 points)
Two players are having impact seasons for the Jets. Forward Michael Louria has 19 goals, 21 assists, 40 points and 1996 birth-year goalie Logan Halladay has a 12-7-1 record, 2.54 goals-against-average and .927 save percentage.
PHOTO: 1993 birth-year forward Zack Szajner of the Michigan Warriors. (NAHL Photo.)