9/19 Asia League Midweek Preview

Can the Cranes pick up there first regular time win or can High1 get themselves a 2nd win on the trot, Will Sakhalin hit back after losing their last 2 games at home or will the Bucks take the points in Nikko.

Nippon Paper Cranes v High1

High1 are still in Japan after their series against the Eagles. The Cranes will be hoping to use their home ice advantage to finally pick up the regulation win that has thus far eluded them this season. This could be a good opportunity for them as High1 have conceded the most goals of any team so far. Unfortunately for the Cranes, High1 have also scored the joint second most goals in the league so this could be a game that goes either way.

This game has a potential for a lot of goals, so whoever is most clinical on the night can take the spoils. The returning Mike Testwuide, picking up 4 points in his first 2 games, and Mike Swift, 14 points in 6 games, working together could be the key to a High1 victory. The Cranes, on the other hand, will be fighting tooth and nail to get a result at home. If Jason Bacashihua and Troy Milam are still out of action through injury then this could be the Cranes game.

HIA Prediction: Cranes


Nikko IceBucks v Sakhalin

The IceBucks always put on a decent show at home, regardless of the opposition, so I expect these games to be tricky ones for Sakhalin. Despite the two losses to Daemyung at home Sakhalin would still be favorites for this matchup in many peoples eyes.

Nikko have the joint worst scoring record in the league so far coming into these games, and one can;t help but feel this may be a season-long issue for them. New Finnish forward, Patrik Moisio, has yet to feature for the Bucks, and they may look towards him to pick up points along with Takeshi Saito, who has only managed 3 points in 4 games.

Sakhalin haven’t been setting the world on fire up front so far this season but they have been defensively sound, only shipping 9 goals in 4 games. The loss of last seasons captain, Ruslan Bernikov, may have upset the scoring for them but they should have more than enough size and experience to improve on what the currently have. 3 Sakhalin forwards have yet to feature for the team this season. If Alexander Kalinin can regain fitness and his form from the  2015-16 season then he could definitely aid their scoring woes.

HIA Prediction: Tie, Nikko should be able to pick up one game due to home advantage and the great support they get there. Sakhalin should also be strong enough to pick up a victory of their own