Aeros enter AHL playoffs; North Dakota has great fans; More Boston Marathon aftermath

This is a few days old, but the Houston Aeros clinched a spot in the American Hockey League playoffs last Saturday, and open at home Thursday against Oklahoma City in a best-of-5 series. Winger Justin Fontaine is second in team scoring at 16-39-55 in 72 games. Defenseman Mike Montgomery has played in 35 games.

A playoff-clinching story from the Houston Chronicle is here.

College hockey fans already know that North Dakota has an incredibly loyal fan base. Here are some attendance figures from 2011-12, from the North Dakota sports information office, to back it up here.

Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey looks back at America’s 5-3 win over Canada at the World U18 Championships on Tuesday here.

The Boston Herald reports that just 932 runners dropped out of Monday’s 116th Boston Marathon from a starting field of 22,535 on a beastly hot day. A view from race officials is in a story here.