Who says the Prince George Cougars have nothing to play for?

Sure, they may be out of the playoffs entering the final weekend of the WHL regular season, but the Cats could have plenty to say about whether the Kamloops Blazers get in.

The Cougars would take great satisfaction in helping to knock out their long-time rivals from Kamloops.

Sure, misery loves company.

The Blazers are still in the race, in part because they are 6-0-0-1 against Prince George this season.

One does not have to remind the Cougars of this, although it was just three weeks ago that P.G. ended a club-record 17-game losing streak with a 2-1 shootout victory in Kamloops.

Preferably, this time the Cats want to win in regulation, not only tonight (Friday) in Kamloops, but in the rematch Saturday on Fan Appreciation Night at CN Centre.

The Blazers are on a roll and are just a point behind the Kelowna Rockets for 3rd place in the B.C. Division, which carries a playoff spot.

The other nine post-season berths in the Western Conference have been spoken for.

A week ago, the Rockets had what seemed to be a comfortable seven-point lead over the Blazers, but since then Kelowna has stumbled going winless in three (0-1-1-1).

At the same time, Kamloops won four straight in a six-day span.

The Rockets still control their own destine but conclude with a home-and-home against the first-place Vancouver Giants; tonight in Langley and Saturday in Kelowna.

In addition, the CHL 7th ranked Giants have something on the line, as Vancouver is just two points ahead of the Everett Silvertips for first overall in the Western Conference.

The Silvertips have a home-and-home against the Royals; (who will finish in 2nd place team in the B.C. Division) tonight in Victoria and Saturday in Everett.

The standings are right here.

This season has not gone as the Cougars had hoped, but even their interim head coach/GM Mark Lamb is pleased that his team is in a position to help dash the Blazers playoff hopes.

To sum it up, the Cougars are not trying to help the Rockets, they simply want to end on a positive note, which would mean a W (win for them) and an E (elimination) for their not such good friends 528 kilometres (328 miles) down the road in Kamloops.

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The Prince George Spruce Kings may be the second place team and without home-ice advantage, but a case can be made that they should be favoured over the first-place Chilliwack Chiefs.

The two teams start their Mainland Division final in Chilliwack with games tonight and Saturday before the best-of-seven series shifts to P.G. Monday and Tuesday.

The Chiefs only finished a point ahead of the Spruce Kings but Prince George has been the better team of late.

The Spruce Kings have won 11 straight on home ice and 16 of their last 18 games overall.

They only needed five games to eliminate the Coquitlam Express in the first round.

The Chiefs had to go the full seven before getting past the Langley Rivermen, a series that saw Chilliwack pull off a highly improbable three games to none come back.

Chilliwack was outplayed and outshot for much of the series, but the Chiefs won in large part due to outstanding goaltending from Daniel Chenard, the BCHL player of the week.

The Spruce Kings won five of the eight regular-season meetings between the two teams, including all four in Prince George.

Two of the three Chilliwack wins came in a shootout and all three were by one goal.

Prince George-Chilliwack regular season results:

Sept. 7th–P.G. 5  Chilliwack  1 (in PG)
Sept. 8th–P.G. 2  Chilliwack  1 (in PG)
Nov. 23rd–Chilliwack  3  P.G. 2 (SO in Chilliwack)
Nov. 24th–P.G. 6  Chilliwack  3  (in Chilliwack)
Jan. 13th–Chilliwack  4  P.G. 3 (SO in Chilliwack)
Feb. 17th–Chilliwack  2  P.G.  1 (in Chilliwack)
Feb. 22nd–P.G. 5  Chilliwack  3  (in P.G.)
Feb. 23rd–P.G. 4  Chilliwack  1  (in P.G.)

(Note: The Chiefs sat out several regulars in the last two games of the season-series because they had already clinched first place)

The Spruce Kings and Chiefs had a dandy seven-game series in the first-round of the 2018 BCHL playoffs.

Prince George won in seven games, but Chilliwack after a long break came back to win the Royal Bank Cup in May on home ice.

The Chiefs have no mulligan this time.

The two teams have built up a rivalry, which will intensify over the next week to 11 days.

For the second straight year, the Spruce Kings are giving Prince George fans the only junior playoff hockey in the city.

Their bandwagon still has plenty of room for those that have an urge to jump on-board.

Prince George-Chilliwack Schedule: (Spruce Kings home games in bold)

Game 1 – Friday, March 15th – Prince George @ Chilliwack – 7 PM
Game 2 – Saturday, March 16th – Prince George @ Chilliwack – 7 PM
Game 3 – Monday, March 18th – Chilliwack @ Prince George – 7 PM
Game 4 – Tuesday, March 19th – Chilliwack @ Prince George – 7 PM
Game 5 – Thursday, March 21st – Prince George @ Chilliwack – 7 PM (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Saturday, March 23rd – Chilliwack @ Prince George – 7 PM (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Monday, March 25th – Prince George @ Chilliwack – 7 PM (If Necessary)

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This is Week 24 of ‘Hartley’s Cat Scan.’

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

All bets are on this week as my guest is former Cougars forward Blair Betts.

From his home in Sherwood Park, the 39-year-old Betts talks about his stellar 4-year career in Prince George and 9-year career in the NHL.

He overcame many injuries, went to the Stanley Cup Final, specialized in winning Faceoffs and excelling on the penalty kill, although he was a big-time scorer in Junior.

In the interview, Betts talks about the 1997 Cougars playoff run where he said CN Centre was as loud or louder than any building he played in while in the NHL.

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

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Golfer Michelle Wie has become engaged to Jonnie West, son of NBA legend Jerry West. He proposed and she said “Oui!”

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

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are engaged. Good for them. Who said A-Rod would never get another ring?

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

LA Dodger pitcher Joe Kelley sustained a back injury while cooking Cajun food—they’re calling the dish he was working on ‘Dumbo Gumbo.’

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

The North Dakota State football team is the latest championship team to be served Big Macs and Chick-Fil-A sandwiches at The White House. Of course, the rest of the world only gets Donny’s Whoppers.

*Comedy writer Tony Chong

 Just found a roll of $1 bills with a rubber band around it. Or as it’s known around Jupiter, Fla.: Kraft singles.

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

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

The March 1st Devils game against the Flyers featured the home players decked out in a special
“Heritage Uniform.” That’s right. New Jersey.

*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.