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5 sports storylines to watch this week

1. Demonz on ice: Dayton opens the Federal Hockey League playoffs by hosting the Danville Dashers on Friday and Saturday (both at 7:35 p.m.) in a best-of-five series. Dayton is 18-3 against Danville this season, but the Dashers handed the Demonz their only loss in regulation at Hara Arena on Feb. 17. Dayton has won the last two, though, including a 3-1 win this past Saturday. Wonder why the Demonz are the FHL’s best? Forwards Trevor Karasiewicz (123), Ahmed Mahfouz (110) and Jason Hill (103) rank 1-2-3 in points and Mahfouz (48) and Hill (38) are the league’s top two goal scorers. And on defense, goalie Jeff Day leads the league with his 3.45 goals against average. The series will be a win-lose situation for Barry Soskin. He owns both teams.

2. Net gains: Dayton’s women can put the finishing touches on an Atlantic 10 regular-season title (on ESPN2 no less) when the Flyers host Saint Joseph’s 2 p.m. Sunday. The Flyers, who entered the week ranked No. 14 in the nation, have already claimed a first-round bye for the A-10 tournament. Not bad for a team that tied for sixth place as the least-experienced team in the nation. The three seniors, one junior, two sophomores and six freshman average one year of experience. UD travels to Saint Louis on Thursday.

3. Raiders look to get healthy: Wright State wraps up the regular season with two games this week, including a Saturday matinee home game with Youngstown State at 2 p.m. The Raiders are tied with Green Bay for the No. 3 seed in the tournament and a first-round bye, so both games this week are must wins. WSU also travels to UIC on Tuesday. Green Bay closes with first-place Valparaiso and last-place Milwaukee. Having Cole Darling (foot) and Reggie Arceneaux (concussion) back would be a major boost for the Raiders.

4. RedHawks look for ice title: Miami looks to take momentum into the Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournament when the RedHawks host Ohio State for a pair of games Friday (7:35 p.m.) and Saturday (7:05 p.m.). A tie or shootout loss secures at least a share of the CCHA title. A shootout win or regulation win gives the RedHawks their fourth straight title.

5. Prep tournament trail: Now it’s getting serious. Girls basketball will be cutting down the nets with district championships this week, while the boys continue sectional play. Beavercreek, Fairmont and Troy qualified for the state bowling tournament this past Saturday, while the girls hold their district championship today at Beaver-Vu Lanes. Gymnastics holds its state meet Friday and Saturday with Mason, Centerville and a host of area individuals among the competitors. And district champs Graham (Division II) and Troy Christian (Division III) lead the contingent of wrestlers into the state tournament this Thursday through Saturday.

— Compiled by Greg Billing

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