Familiar faces in NA3HL Division Finals
March 18, 2014
The Division Finals for the 2014 NA3HL Silver Cup Playoffs are set and the four series stayed true to form in regards to the top seeds advancing in each of the Semi-Final series. The winner of each of the Divisional Finals will advance to the NA3HL Silver Cup Championship Tournament, which will be held at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, Illinois from March 27-30.
Here is a look at each of the series:
Central Division Finals
#2 St. Louis Jr. Blues vs. #1 Peoria Mustangs
Game 1: March 21 – @ Peoria, 7:00 PM
Game 2: March 22 - @ St. Louis, 7:00 PM
Game 3: March 23 - @ Peoria, 1:15 PM*
During the regular season, Peoria owned a 5-3 edge over the Jr. Blues. Due to a different format, both clubs were a part of the 2013 Silver Cup Championship Tournament, with Peoria making the finals ultimately losing to North Iowa. If St. Louis is looking for positive reinforcement, they can look to all three of their wins this season against the Mustangs took place in Peoria. Both teams swept their Semi-Final series and should be well rested and have plenty of gas in the tank for this potential three-game series.
East Division Finals
#2 Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks vs. #1 Flint Junior Generals
March 19 - at Flint, 7:00 PM
March 21 - at Cleveland, 9:00 PM
March 23 - at Flint, 2:30 PM*
Flint was dominant during the regular season series between the two clubs. The Junior Generals posted a 7-0-1 record against Cleveland during the regular season, with the only blemish being a 7-6 shootout loss back on September 15th. Both teams are familiar with the Silver Cup Tournament, with Flint and Cleveland having appeared in the event last year. It has been since mid-January since the two clubs faced one another. The Junior Generals had the #1 ranked defense in the NA3HL this season and allowed an average of just 1.67 goals against per game.
South Division Finals
#2 Dallas Jr. Stars vs. #1 Topeka Capitals
March 21 - @ Topeka, 3:00 PM
March 22 - @ Topeka, 3:00 PM
March 23 - @ Dallas, 10:00 AM*
Topeka enters the South Finals maybe the hottest team in the NA3HL. The Capitals have won their last 10 games and 17 of their final 18 regular season games. The Capitals 33 wins ranked 4th in the NA3HL this season. Topeka and Dallas know one another about as well as any teams do in the league, having played a whopping 17 times against one another this season. Topeka held a distinct advantage with a 14-3 record. However, the last seven games have been decided by three goals or less. The last Dallas win over the Capitals came on February 1st.
West Division Finals
#2 Granite City Lumberjacks vs. #1 North Iowa Bulls
March 21 - @ North Iowa, 7:30 PM
March 22 - @ Granite City, 7:30 PM
March 23 - @ North Iowa, 7:30 PM*
Since the West’s inclusion in the NA3HL Silver Cup playoffs, the Champion the past two seasons has been either Granite City (2012) or North Iowa (2013). And so, the rivals meet again for a spot in the Silver Cup Tournament. Because of the format last year, both teams played in the Silver Cup Tournament, with the Bulls edging the Lumberjacks in overtime in the Semi-Finals on their way to the National Championship. North Iowa had just three losses this year, but the most recent was to Granite City back on March 5th by a 3-2 score. Other than that, it has been total domination by the Bulls, who have a 7-1 record against Granite City this season.