This is article is a follow-up from an article I wrote back in August discussing the division realignments and concentration of competition within the North American 3 Hockey League. Currently in the 2018-19 season the NA3HL is roughly a quarter into it's season. All divisions within the league are starting to shake out and we are beginning to see the overall parody within each of it's divisions. I will be specifically focusing on the West division and where it currently sits. Namely because that was a focus in my previous article and what can I say i'm slightly biased to this division.
Previously I mentioned that the West division would be a high concentration of talent and competition. And, for the most part I believe that still to be true. The standings in the West currently (at the time of this blog post) are:
Granite City Lumbjerjacks | (10-1-0-0) | 20 points
Rochester Grizzlies | (10-3-0-0) | 20 points
Alexandria Blizzard | (8-5-0-0) | 16 points
North Iowa Bulls | (8-5-0-0) | 16 points
New Ulm Steel | (3-6-0-1) | 7 points
Breezy Point North Stars | (2-10-1-0) | 5 points
Willmar Warhawks (0-10-1-0) | 1 point
I love seeing the top 1 & 2 positions and 3 & 4 positions tied at this point in the season. Showing the overall competitive nature within this division. Not to mention, perennial power-house North Iowa is currently sitting in the 4th position. I don't recall a recent a season when North Iowa was anything lower than 1st at this point of the season. This is a great sign for the division moving forward. Quite literally the standings shown above can and will most likely be completely different when I write another article around the half way point of the season. It's also great seeing the teams in the 5 & 6 positions separated by only a game too. Obviously, it is not great seeing a team with only 1 point with a 19 point differential from the top team in the division. That's how the cookie crumbles sometimes and with that said - it's still early. Only two wins from Willimar and they are right back into a viable playoff position (assuming the top 6 teams in the West make playoffs).
The two notable "fun-facts" about the West are: Granite City who is currently sitting in the top position has 11 games played - whereas the other top 4 teams have played 13. The other "fun-fact" being Rochester. Rochester started the season with a blow-out losing heavily to Granite City and then going on a 10 game tear. Just this past weekend they dropped both games to Alexandria. Simply said, on any given night any team in this division can win - there are no off nights. Creating in my opinion an ultimate development environment with ultra competitive play.
As stated previously it will be interesting to continue to watch how the West division plays out and see where teams are in the next 6 weeks. At that point we can start to take a glimpse of where teams would be come playoffs and what those series might look like for the 1st round of the 2018-19 NA3HL West Division playoffs. Only time will tell! I look forward to writing the next follow-up around the halfway point of the NA3HL season.
If you have questions or comments about this article feel free to reach me on twitter @hofnasty