The first round worked out perfectly for the Prince George Spruce Kings.

They won the series over the Coquitlam Express and did so predictably in five games.

The one game P.G. lost came at the right time (game four) because it allowed the team to get an extra home game.

Attendance at the RMCA was very consistent for the three games: 1,267 (game one), 1,241 (game two) and 1,220 (game five).

The playoffs will determine if the Spruce Kings are the best team in the BCHL, but currently they are unquestionably the top team on home ice.

Prince George has not lost at the RMCA in nearly three months (Dec. 15).

The Spruce Kings have won 11 straight on home ice following Thursday’s 4-2 victory over the Express, a game that ended Coquitlam’s season.

Peaking at the right time, P.G. has won 16 of its last 18 overall games.

Coquitlam-Prince George results: (Spruce Kings home games in bold)

Game 1 – Friday March 1st – Coquitlam @ Prince George –  SK WON 3-1
Game 2 – Saturday March 2nd – Coquitlam @ Prince George – SK WON 3-2 (OT)

Game 3 – Monday March 4th – Prince George @ Coquitlam – SK WON 5-2
Game 4 – Tuesday March 5th – Prince George @ Coquitlam – EXPRESS WON 3-0
Game 5 – Thursday March 7th – Coquitlam @ Prince George – SK WON 4-2

With the Spruce Kings (second place in the Mainland Division) winning in five, the Victoria Grizzlies (first place in the Island) sweeping Alberni Valley in four, and Powell River (second place in the Island) knocking out Nanaimo in five, going according to form, the first round of the BCHL playoffs is on the verge of a few major upsets.

Topping the list is Cowichan Valley ahead of Penticton 3-1, even though there was a whopping 39-point difference between the two teams in the regular season.

The (37-16-3-2) Vees came first in the Interior Division while the (17-35-5-1) Capitals were last in the Island.

Penticton more than doubled Cowichan in victories but unless they can win three straight, the all-star filled Vees will go home early.

Much traveled Mike Vandekamp is the Head Coach & General Manager of the Capitals.

Langley (fourth in the Mainland) leads Chilliwack (first in the Mainland) 3-2, although it was 3-0 at one point.

The Chiefs were the only team to finish ahead of the Spruce Kings and that was by just one point.

Trail (last in the Interior) enjoys a 3-1 lead over Merritt (second in the Interior).

The BCHL playoff brackets are right here.

Upsets help make the post-season fun and exciting.

The higher seed is never a lock and talent does not always prevail.

The Spruce Kings get Langley or Chilliwack in round two.

On paper, the Rivermen are the better match-up for P.G. especially since the Spruce Kings would get home ice advantage, but as we have learned, sometimes regular-season standings are deceiving.

#

With two weekends left in the WHL regular season, there is little drama, particularly in the Western Conference where eight of the 10 teams qualify for the playoffs.

The P.G. Cougars have been officially eliminated, while the Kamloops Blazers are destined to be the other team in the West to miss the post-season.

With six games left, the Blazers are seven points out of a playoff spot.

This will be the second straight season P.G. and Kamloops are the two odd teams out.

Vancouver has clinched first and Victoria second in the BC Division while Kelowna has a near lock on third.

Everett has wrapped up first in the US Division with Portland a solid second and Spokane third.

Tri-City and likely Seattle are the wild-card teams.

Everett and Vancouver are battling for the top seed in the West, with both teams tied with five games remaining.

First round match-ups will likely feature Victoria against Kelowna and Portland vs. Spokane.

The other two will have Everett against Tri-City or Seattle and Vancouver vs. Tri-City or Seattle.

In the Eastern Conference where eight of 12 teams advance to the post-season party, there is a race for the last wild-card spot.

Regina, Kootenay and Swift Current have been out of the running for weeks as those three teams have the worst records in the league.

Brandon is tied with Red Deer for the second wild card, two points behind Medicine Hat.

Two of those teams will qualify.

Prince Albert has secured first in the East Division, Eastern Conference and overall WHL.

Saskatoon and Moose Jaw are headed for a first round match-up as the #2 and #3 teams in the East Division.

Edmonton and Lethbridge are the co-leaders in the Central by four points over Calgary.

The Raiders and Central winner will play a wild-card team in round one while Calgary will likely face Lethbridge or Edmonton in the opening round.

While the Cougars will finish last in the West, Prince George will end 19th or 20th in the overall standings.

P.G. is 19th, three points ahead of Regina with 10 days left.

Swift Current will end up last overall, which is great news for the Cougars who own their first-round 2019 Bantam pick thanks to the Josh Anderson trade last year.

The Cougars will have two picks in the top five, with one of those first or second overall.

The standings are right here.

#

This is Week 23 of ‘Hartley’s Cat Scan.’

The podcast, introduced in September, predominately features the Prince George Cougars.

My guest this week is Cougars Equipment Manager and perhaps the hardest working and most popular person on the team Chico Dhanjal.

Chico talks about his variety of roles with the Cougars and he reflects on his days with the Humboldt Broncos.

He also has strong opinions about what are the best foods (chicken wings).

You can also find this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Robert Kraft pleaded not guilty to solicitation charges despite videotapes showing him receiving oral sex at Orchids of Asia Day Spa before the AFC/NFC championship games. Maybe he’s hoping prosecutors are as blind as refs during Rams-Saints game.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Zion Williamson of Duke hurt his knee when his Nike shoe fell apart in a game. Somewhere in China, there is a six-year-old, who is in a whole lot of trouble.

*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

Glenn Close lost for the seventh time at this year’s Oscars ceremony. Past winner Kobe Bryant offered condolences and said that it’s not what it’s cracked up to be.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

February temperatures in BC set a new record low for the month. While the Canucks are away, I wonder if they’ll let me use their Zamboni to get to work.

*Comedy writer Tony Chong

Porn star Mia Khalifa underwent corrective surgery that she said resulted from an errant puck rupturing one of her breast implants at an undisclosed Stanley Cup playoff game last year. Junior-high puckheads immediately declared it the No. 1 upper-body injury ever.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

A college baseball game in Jacksonville was halted when an osprey dropped a fish in right field. Yes, well inside the fowl pole.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller
Listen to him on his weekly podcast: Hartley’s Cat Scan.