By: Joey Battaino
On March 24th, the Michigan Warriors ended their 2011-12 regular season with a dramatic victory 4-3 over the first-place Port Huron Fighting Falcons. The Falcons, who have been in first-place most of the season, has seen there stranglehold on first snipped to just one measly point. That sets up a classic 2-game home and home series between Port Huron and Kalamazoo this weekend. The winner of those games will more than likely win the division and take on the Michigan Warriors in round one of the NAHL's North division semi-final.
Lets take a moment to see how the Warriors match up against their two possible opponents:
First, the Port Huron Fighting Falcons lead by second year head coach Billy Warren:
The Warriors have a 5-6-1 record against Port Huron this season. Respectable. Fact of the matter is, I don't like Port Huron's chances in a 5-game series vs. the Warriors. Port Huron has showed this season to back down at times when the Warriors pick up their physical game. A lot also depends on which goaltender Bill Warren decides to go with. Peter Megariotis has been bad his last two times facing the Warriors. Max Milosek always seems to give them fits. Special teams seems to be in the favor of Port Huron but the Warriors powerplay has been clicking as of late. As everyone knows, it's not the powerplay that's been struggling. The Warriors penalty kill has been ranked in the low 20's of the 28 team NAHL all season long. However, in a series between the Warriors and the Fighting Falcons, timely goal scoring and goaltending, per usual, will be the biggest key.
I like the Warriors to steal one at McMorran and win the first round series against Port Huron in 4.
Now, on to the Kalamazoo Jr. K-wings coached by Marc Fakler:
If you read anything into what a team has done against another team during the regular season to make your playoff prediction, well then, anyone in their right mind would take k-zoo here. The Warriors went 2-10 this season against Kalamazoo. They got outscored (Hide your children) 55-28 in those 12 games. Yikes. It seems like there's always that one team that has your number, and no matter what you do, you can't beat them. That's Kalamazoo to the Warriors this season. As much as I know playoffs can change a lot, it's pretty hard to change an 0-6 record and getting outscored 38-12 at the K-wings home rink, Wings west. Kalamazoo's biggest worry has to be their goaltending. Inconsistency from MacLean and Okicki has Marc Fakler playing musical goaltenders on most nights.
This series could go five, with both teams holding serve at home, but I'll take Kalamazoo in 4 to beat the Warriors.
There you have it. You heard what I think. Lets hear what you have to say.