The Huskies will face North Peace in the semi-finals, after the Navigators beat Beaverlodge in game 5 on Sunday night.
Fort St. John advanced to the second round after beating Slave Lake 3-1 in their first round best of five. The teams split games 1 and 2 in Slake Lake, but the Huskies took advantage of home ice, winning game 3 10-1, and game 4 by a final score of 7-6.
Peace River heads to the next round courtesy of a 10-4 win in Game 5, in Peace River on Sunday night. Beaverlodge had forced a game 5 with a 6-3 win in Beaverlodge on Saturday. It was the second win on home ice for the Blades, after dropping the first two games in Peace River, both by one goal (1-0, and 5-4 in OT).
For Grande Prairie, a tough assignment turns into mission: impossible. The Wheelers beat Dawson Creek in five games in the first round, winning game 5 in Dawson Creek, by a score of 5-2. Charles Radke’s return to the Jr. Canucks lineup seemed like it might be the spark they needed, after he scored a hat-trick in Dawson’s 7-4 win in Grande Prairie in game 4. But, the Jr. Canucks failed to elevate for an important game again, and the Wheelers posted the first round’s only upset (#5 beats #4) with their game 5 win. The Wheelers now advance to play the league-leading Whitecourt Wolverines, who posted an intimidating 32-3 record in the regular season. To top it off, the Wolverines have home ice advantage, and haven’t lost a game in Whitecourt all season long.
For Fort St. John, the semi-finals will be played against a team they’re used to seeing in the finals. From 2004-2007, the Huskies and Navigators clashed every year in the championship series, with each team winning twice. Last year, the Huskies only made it to the semi-finals, losing in five games to Whitecourt, who lost to Peace River in 7 games in the finals. They will renew old acquintances after the Huskies won 3 of the 5 regular season matchups. The rubber match in the regular season saw the Huskies win 7-1 in Peace River on Feb 13th, to clinch second place overall.
And so, the rivalry will be renewed, with the Huskies holding home-ice advantage for the seven-game series.
*** Update – the schedule has been released for the first four games of the series:
Game 1 – Tuesday (Feb 3rd) 8pm @FSJ
Game 2 – Thursday (Feb 5th) 8pm @ P.R.
Game 3 – Saturday (Feb 7th) 8pm @ FSJ
Game 4 – Sunday (Feb 8th) 6:30pm @ P.R. *** note – clocks will have changed on the night of Feb 7th, so game 4 will be at 5:30 pm Fort St. John time.