For the last couple of Fridays, my column has focused on the Prince George Cougars battle to get into the playoffs.
The Cougars along with the Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals, and Spokane Chiefs are competing for the last three post-season berths in the WHL Western Conference.
On the morning of April 1st, the Cougars were holding down the eighth and final playoff spot, four points ahead of Spokane and three points behind Vancouver and Victoria.
One week ago, on the morning of April 8th, the Cougars, who had lost 15 of their last 18, dropped to ninth place, a point behind Victoria and Vancouver and two back of Spokane.
Here we are today, the morning of Friday, April 15th with the conclusion set for the long weekend.
The Cougars have only played one game this past week and that was a massive 2-1 victory over Victoria on Saturday in their final regular-season home game.
— My Prince George Now (@mypgnow) April 10, 2022
P.G. is back in a playoff spot and if the Cats can win their final two games they will be “in”.
If the Cougars split, there is a good chance they will make it or at least get to a tie-breaker.
Should the Cougars lose both in regulation, they would need a significant amount of help to qualify.
The (23-38-4-1) Cougars are tied with the (23-38-4-1) Chiefs for 7th, one point behind the (24-38-4-0) Giants and one point ahead of the (22-38-5-1) Royals.
Here’s a look at the schedule for those four teams over the next two nights.
Should there be a tie for the eighth and final berth, a tie-breaker game would be played.
Two games left: both on the road.
The Cougars visit the Kamloops Blazers tonight and the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday.
Two games left: both at home.
The Royals host Spokane tonight and on Saturday.
Two games left: both on the road.
The Chiefs visit Victoria tonight and again on Saturday.
Two games left: one at home and one on the road.
The Giants host Kelowna tonight and visit Kamloops on Saturday.
The first round of the Western Conference playoffs will begin on Friday, April 22nd.
The Conference quarter-finals have 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, and 4 vs. 5.
We already know Seattle is #4 and Kelowna is #5 and they will start their series one week from tonight in Kent, Washington.
The Cougars season could come down to their game Saturday in Kelowna.
The Rockets would have virtually nothing to play for which could work in PG’s favor.
The standings are right here.
The Eastern Conference also has a race that is going down to the wire.
The difference is the first seven spots are all spoken for, leaving four teams scrambling for that final berth.
The Swift Current Broncos are 8th with 59 points but only have one game left, home against the Prince Albert Raiders tonight.
The Calgary Hitmen are 9th with 58 points with just one game remaining, home against the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Sunday.
The Regina Pats are 10th with 57 points with three games remaining, home against Winnipeg tonight and Saturday and home against Moose Jaw on Sunday. (Note: the Pats were scheduled to play twice this week in Winnipeg but those games were moved to Regina as a result of the winter storm in Manitoba)
Prince Albert is 11th with 57 points and two games left, at Swift Current tonight and home against Brandon on Saturday.
Today is Good Friday and it could end up being a very good Friday for some WHL teams.
The PG Cougars are hoping for a celebration tonight or Saturday of their first playoff berth in five years.
They are on the verge but it is now in their hands to close the deal.
Cat Scan Podcast:
CAT SCAN: @Hartley_Miller chats with @PGCougars associate coach Josh Dixon in this week”s episode
| https://t.co/K98kkOROWr #cityofpg #PrinceGeorge #northernbc #NorthernUprising #sports pic.twitter.com/08xgxWEPrn
— My Prince George Now (@mypgnow) April 13, 2022
Will WHL decision be gift horse for Pats? Or is Winnipeg simply too good? . . . Bains stretches points lead . . . Milic, Davidson spark Seattle https://t.co/9DL0PDto4F
— Gregg Drinnan (@gdrinnan) April 14, 2022
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
Anthony Davis as the Los Angeles Lakers’ season came to a close “We were phenomenal on paper.” “Toilet paper?
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
After a Junior tennis match in France, 15-year-old Michael Kouame slapped his opponent at the net. Well, if he was channeling his inner Will Smith, then he’s definitely guilty of a double fault.
*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
Scottie Scheffler won the Masters and was awarded the Masters green jacket, arguably the ugliest garment in sports. In fact, the only way green sports attire could be uglier is if it had the name of the New York Jets on it.
*Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg
The Oakland A’s have the same payroll — $33 million — as they did in 1991, when they led the major leagues, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. If this year’s team inspires a movie, it’s probably “No-Moneyball.”
*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/
In Case You Missed It:
Three reasons ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian once ran in the Milwaukee Brewers sausage race:
- It was an opportunity he relished;
- To make the others play ketchup;
- He wanted it in the wurst way.
*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).