The second of two NA3HL Showcases during the 2012-13 season gets underway on Sunday, February 17th at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan. The NA3HL Showcase features all 17 NA3HL teams playing in 3-4 regular season games. The event in played in cooperation with the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament and the NAPHL Championship Series.
“The competition and parity among our 17 teams remains as strong as ever, which is a testament to the talent in the league this season and our coaches,” said NA3HL Commissioner Jim Rufo. “This week’s NA3HL Showcase should provide all of us with some exciting games as teams continue to position themselves and battle for a spot in the upcoming NA3HL Silver Cup Playoffs, which begin in a few weeks.”
About 10 regular season games (give or take a couple) remain for NA3HL teams this season, so winning at the Showcase will not only be pivotal for teams looking to make the playoffs, but also for those that are in the playoffs and looking to improve their position in the standings in order to gain home ice.
Here is a look, day-by-day, at the schedule of games and some of the key match-ups and storylines:
Sunday, Feb. 17
Battle Creek vs. Twin City
Flint vs. Granite City: A match-up of two of the final four teams from last year. Granite City has locked up a playoff berth, but need points to secure home ice in the first round, while Flint wants to secure the #3 seed in the East.
Three Rivers vs. St. Louis: The Jr. Blues have already won their division and Three Rivers has an outside chance to win theirs.
Peoria vs. Toledo: Peoria has likely locked up the #2 seed in the Central, while Toledo is looking for wins to secure a playoff spot in the East.
Metro vs. Breezy Point: The Jets need to win from this point on a hope for help.
Quad City vs. Michigan: Quad City has the inside track to the 4th and final spot in the Central, while Michigan likely needs to win out.
North Iowa vs. Cleveland: A battle of division leaders… should be one of the marquee games of the Showcase.
Minnesota vs. Queen City: Minnesota has work to do to get into the final playoff spot, while Queen City is the likely 3rd seed in the Central.
Monday, Feb. 18
Granite City vs. Toledo: Both teams need a win to improve their playoff position.
Peoria vs. Battle Creek: The Revolution need wins if they want to catch Quad City.
North Iowa vs. Three Rivers: Another division leader for the Vengeance, while the Bulls look to secure a division title.
Cleveland vs. Quad City
Queen City vs. Twin City: The Steel need wins to keep Minnesota in their rearview mirror for the 4th and final playoff spot in the West.
Michigan vs. Alexandria: The Blizzard have an outside shot of catching Granite City for 2nd place in the West and home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
Flint vs. Minnesota: Both teams need the win here
St. Louis vs. Breezy Point: First vs. last as Breezy Point looks for a monumental upset.
Tuesday, Feb. 19
Toledo vs. Quad City: Both teams could use a win here
Battle Creek vs. North Iowa: Going to be a tough task for the Revolution in this one vs. the high-scoring Bulls
Metro vs. Queen City: The Jets need as many wins as they can get, while the Steam are probably finishing in 3rd place in the Central.
Twin City vs. Peoria: Should be a very good game, with goaltending being the highlight
Granite City vs. Three Rivers: The tough road continues for Three Rivers in a battle of 2nd place teams in one of the better match-ups of the Showcase.
Breezy Point vs. Cleveland
St. Louis vs. Minnesota: With St. Louis locked into the #1 seed, the Flying Aces have everything to play for and could use a signature win.
Alexandria vs. Flint: Should be a good match-up of playoff teams.
Wednesday, Feb. 20
Alexandria vs. Battle Creek: The Revolution had an outside shot at a playoff spot, but battling the Blizzard will be tough on the final day.
Quad City vs. Granite City: It will be a tough task for the Flames against the Lumberjacks, who will be playing to secure home ice in the 1st round.
Minnesota vs. Metro: Both teams are on the outside looking in the playoffs and will need the valuable points.
Three Rivers vs. Peoria: Three Rivers has a high-powered offense, which should be a nice mix with the defense and goaltending that Peoria possesses.
Toledo vs. North Iowa: If all goes well for the Bulls, they could be looking at a division title on the final day.
Twin City vs. Michigan: Both teams need wins, so should be a very good game.
Cleveland vs. St. Louis: Another one of the marquee games of the event in a battle of division leaders.
Queen City vs. Flint: An opportunity for both teams to solidify their position in the playoff standings.