SHERIDAN — The Sheridan NA3HL Hawks are heading to the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota, to play three cross-division games Dec. 15-17. The games will count toward season points, giving the Hawks a chance to move up in the divisional standings. Sheridan is currently third in the Frontier Division with 41 points on the season. Teams earn two points for a win, one point in an overtime loss and no points are awarded after a loss in regulation. The Hawks are two points behind second place Great Falls and five points behind division leader Bozeman.
The North American Tier III Hockey League Showcase pairs teams with similar records with each other to provide for tough competition. Head coach Andy Scheib said the Hawks have a chance to earn six points on the weekend. Those six points could prove useful as teams head closer to playoffs. The Hawks will face the New Ulm Steel, the St. Louis Jr. Blues and the New England Stars. Kolton Wright said the games will provide the Hawks an opportunity to see how they compare to teams around the league.
Scheib and the Hawks that were members of the Wisconsin Whalers are familiar with St. Louis, as the Whalers and Jr. Blues were division opponents last year.
Scheib and the Hawks have not scouted any teams prior to the showcase. While Scheib is familiar with St. Louis he knows they change each year and will be a different than last season. Scheib is not concerned with the other teams’ schemes. The Hawks need to play their brand of hockey to win games, he said.
“Quite frankly I do not really care who it is we are playing if we do not do what we needed to do, we will not win a hockey game,” Scheib said. “If we do the things I have been teaching and what we have been doing the past couple of months we are going to put ourselves in a pretty good spot to win.”
Scheib said the teams Great Falls and Bozeman will face are tough teams. If the divisional opponents lose one or two games and the Hawks walk away with a three wins, Sheridan will be in the hunt for the No. 1-seed entering playoffs.
Four teams from each division qualify for the playoffs with the top two seeds receiving home ice advantage.
“The home ice advantage is huge… Our home crowd is loud and excited for what is going on, it is always a huge benefit for us,” Scheib said.
The Super Rink houses eight sheets of ice, four Olympic-sized sheets and four NHL-sized sheets.
Trevor Timm is the only Minnesota native on the Hawks and grew up within two hours of the Super Rink. Timm said he is excited to play in his home state again and will have family in attendance at the game.
Timm played in the NA3HL showcase last season and said the setting provides a good experience and draws a lot of people to the event.
Every team in the NA3HL will participate in the showcase, drawing in scouts from NCAA programs and the North American Hockey League. The NAHL is a tier II junior league.