Inside the AIHL - Colonial and Great Lakes Division
The AIHL regular season is starting to come to a close and the leaders of the packs are emerging stronger than ever. The Colonial Division and the Great Lakes Division are prime examples of this.
The Colonial Division has a strong top 3 teams with Scottdale Inferno 19-2-1 leading the way. This team is young, fast, and smart. They play as a team and their goaltending has been top notch with a combined 3.01. This team is lead by CJ King (52 points) and is the pick of many followers of the league to win the Division and maybe even the East. The only possible downfall is the maturity of the young players if they get that in order they will go very far in the playoffs.
Potomac Mavericks is my sleeper team to come out of the east they are fast and play as a team better than most teams. After a slow start they have come on strong and clicking on all cylinders, Kevin Donovan leads the team in points and PIM but he is a great player and along with teammate Tyler Moyer they look to take the Mavericks deep into the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Bandits are a tough veteran team with the goaltending to back them up they are currently in 3rd place but only 3 points out of 2nd with 4 games in hand on the Mavericks. The Bandits are previous champions and know what it takes to win proving that as they took it to the Harrisburg Lunatics and the Buffalo Fusion. This team should be everyone’s radar as the playoffs approach.
Though in the final divisional playoff spot the Harrisburg Lunatics are not a team to be taken lightly and they feel that on any night they can beat any team. Jay Mazer leads this team on and off the floor, he is a presence on the back end and more than a point per game defenseman. It is not thought they will make it past the first round but if you overlook them they will surprise you and could be the Cinderella story of the AIHL.
Divisional Winner: Potomac Mavericks over Scottdale Inferno
Great Lakes Division
Leading the pack is the Buffalo Fusion 15-2-1. The Fusion is a good solid team but they still have a lot to prove. They are lead by possibly the best line in the AIHL Tyler Walser and Denny Schlegel both in the race for the scoring title. Coming off a weekend without winning a game (first time this season), the question around the league is no longer will they win it all, but do they have what it takes to bounce back? Only time will tell. This team may lead their division but I do not know if they will be able to get past an underrated Motor City Phoenix in the divisional playoffs.
Motor City Phoenix is the most underrated team in the AIHL. You can take there record and throw it out the window they compete every game and if they all get on the same page they are my pick to come out of the Great Lakes Division pulling the upset of the Fusion. Led by Nick Smolinski the Phoenix look to move forward and continue to grow as a team.
With a tough plate handed to them the Michigan Havoc have taken it in stride. Derek Ciminelli leads this team and with goaltending that can steal any game by a young Chris Kirle they could do some damage in the Great Lakes Division, it is not likely but never count anyone out. This team could catch anyone sleeping and steal the game.
Divisional Winner: Motor City Phoenix over Buffalo Fusion.
Next week I look to the Mid-Atlantic and New England Divisions with my analysis on them and my picks to come out of the divisions when playoffs come.