Important weekend ahead for Anchorage Wolverines in midst of playoff push

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 8:18 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The long grind of the 60-game regular season is coming down the final stretch in the North American Hockey League and a number of teams are still fighting for the final two playoff spots in the Midwest Division.

The Anchorage Wolverines — who had an improbable run to the NAHL Robertson Cup championship game last season — currently sit in sixth place in the division with the two teams above them trending in opposite directions.

The Wisconsin Windigo (71 points) and Minnesota Wilderness (69) sit comfortably atop the standings and will fight for home-ice advantage during their remaining six games.

The Kenai River Brown Bears are winners of four straight games and are placed third at 61 points. The Chippewa Steel haven’t lost in regulation since Feb. 25 and have climbed up in the standings in fourth at 60 points as of Thursday, while the Fairbanks Ice Dogs haven’t won since the same date, sliding into fifth place at 59 points with an eight-game losing skid.

The Wolverines fall somewhere in the middle, having split their last eight games with four wins and four losses.

They sit in sixth place at 57 points but have played 53 games this season to Fairbanks’ 56 and Kenai’s 54, so they have more opportunity to gain points in the standings.

The final playoff push begins Friday at 7 p.m. at the Ben Boeke Ice Arena with a three-game series against the Steel.

At Sunday’s 4 p.m. series finale, fans are encouraged to wear orange in honor of leukemia awareness, as two young Wolverine fans and members of the hockey community, Lucas and Kayden, have recently been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

As the Wolverines close out their season with the Brown Bears — two games in Anchorage April 7-8 and two games at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex April 14-15 — they essentially control their own destiny when it comes to making the playoffs.

Jackson Reineke, a Robert Morris University commit, and future University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolf Aiden Westin are the top point-getters with 57 apiece, while Cameron Morris has contributed 12 goals and a team-high 36 assists to contribute 48 points. Full stats can be found here.