PRINCETON, N.J. – First place in the West Division of the National Conference is on the line Friday when Alaska hosts Long Beach in the first of three games in three nights. The Aces are 34-15-6 with 74 points, one point ahead of Long Beach (34-16-5) and Bakersfield (32-15-9). Alaska won the last meeting 3-0 at Long Beach on November 13 while the Ice Dogs won the first meeting 2-0 on November 12. Following the weekend series, the two will meet twice more in Long Beach on March 12 and April 1.
In the North Division of the National Conference, one point separates the top four teams and fifth-place Trenton is one point out of third place and two points out of first place. Reading (31-16-5) and Atlantic City (30-17-7) are tied for first place with 67 points while Wheeling (31-18-4) and Toledo (31-20-4) are tied for third place with 66 points. On Friday, Reading will host Dayton, Atlantic City will host Charlotte, Wheeling hosts Johnstown and Trenton hosts Greenville while Toledo travels to Peoria.
Other games in the West on Friday have Fresno hosting San Diego and Idaho hosting Las Vegas. Fresno is in fourth place with 69 points and holds the final Kelly Cup Playoff berth in the West. San Diego is in fifth place with 62 points followed by defending ECHL champion Idaho with 61 points and two games in hand. The Steelheads, who will host the Wranglers on Saturday as well, have won the last five meetings with Las Vegas to improve to 6-1-0, including 3-0-0 at home. Fresno is 6-0-2 in its last eight games and is 3-0-0 at home and 4-2-1 overall against San Diego.
Charlotte leads the East Division with 68 points, two points ahead of Columbia and three points ahead of Greenville for the second seed in the American Conference. Charlotte and Greenville are on the road at Atlantic City and Trenton, respectively, on Friday while Columbia is home against Augusta.
In another game with seeding implications in the American Conference, Mississippi will host Gwinnett on Friday. The Sea Wolves are 28-20-4 with 60 points, one point behind the Gladiators (27-17-7) for the seventh seed.