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High drama in Troy, Michigan as regular season comes to a close

January 21, 2013

As the final NAPHL regular season event comes to a close on Monday in Troy, Michigan, the weekend has provided high drama with teams in both age brackets going down to their final game to determine the top eight teams that will qualify for the NAPHL playoffs in less than a month back in Troy, MI.
Sunday saw the completion of the 18U regular season, with the top 8 teams not being decided until the late afternoon.  The big story of the day was the Lansing Capitals.  The Capitals went undefeated in Troy and in the process, earned the #1 seed for the playoffs, finishing with a 16-3-3 record.  Also finishing with a 16-3-3 record and finishing undefeated in Troy was the Pittsburgh Viper Stars.  The Viper Stars, who were the 18U runner-up a year ago, earned the #2 seed in the playoffs because they lost the tie-breaker to the Capitals because of the Capitals 3-2 shootout win over Pittsburgh earlier this season.  The #3 seed will belong to the Anaheim Jr. Ducks, who finsihed a point behind both Lansing and Pittsburgh with a 16-4-2 record and 34 points.  The Ducks went 3-1-0 in Troy and boast three of the top four scorers in the 18U Division.  With 33 points and a 16-5-1 record the Pikes Peak Miners are in as the #4 seed.  The Miners went 3-1-0 in Troy, have won four of their last five games.  The #5 seed belongs to the Indiana Jr. Ice, who with a 15-2-1 record, finished with the best winning percentage in the 18U Division.  The Ice missed the four games at the Dallas event, but still won the Red Division with 31 points.  The West Michigan Hounds will be the #6 seed as they finished with 29 points and a 13-6-3 record.  The Hounds struggled down the stretch, winning just one of their last five games.  The Omaha AAA Hockey Club finsihed as the #7 seed with a 12-5-5 record and 29 points.  Out of their 22 games this season in the NAPHL, nine of them went to a shootout.  The #8 and final seed belongs to the Texas Tornado, who needed a 3-1 win on Sunday over Omaha to advance to the playoffs.  The Tornado finished one point ahead of the defending 18U Champion California Titans team, who missed the playoffs by a single point to the Tornado, who finished with a 13-8-1 record and 27 points, while the Titans finished with a 13-9-0 record and 26 points.
The 16U teams have one more game to go on Monday and the top 8 teams have been decided.  However, game on Monday will determine the final seeding.  The biggest story of the day was the California Titans 3-1 win over the previously undefeated Omaha AAA Hockey Club.  Omaha was looking to become the first team in the four-year history of the NAPHL to go through a regular season undefeated, but it was not to be.  Omaha has secured the #1 seed for the 16U playoffs with 40 points.  The inside track on the #2 seed belongs to the Anaheim Jr. Ducks, who with 37 points, need a win on Monday to lock up the #2 spot.  The race for the #3 seed is a tight one between the Pittsburgh Viper Stars (18-3-0) and California (17-2-2), who each have 36 points heading into the final day.  The race for the #5 seed is between the San Jose Jr. Sharks (16-4-1, 33 pts.) and the New Jersey Jr. Titans (14-3-4, 32 pts.).  The Wenatchee Wild are currently in the #7 spot with a 14-5-2 record and 30 points.  Rounding out the Top 8 is the Texas Tornado, who by virtue of a tie-breaker against Cleveland have clinched the second spot from the Red Division and the #8 seed overall.

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