Match-ups for the first round of playoffs are still up in the air in both divisions.
Here is what we know – the Spruce Grove Saints have clinched the AJHL regular season title and home ice advantage throughout the playoffs while the Grande Prairie Storm will once again miss the post season. Other then Spruce Grove the only other team in the Viterra AJHL North Division that knows what position they will occupy in the post season are the Whitecourt Wolverines, who will finish as the seven seed. Who their opposition will be is a question between three teams. The Lloydminster Bobcats and Bonnyville Pontiacs will duel for second with the Bobcats holding a two-point edge on the Pontiacs. The Bobcats will play a pair of games in Fort McMurray who currently occupy the four seed but still can finish as high as third. In order for the Bobcats to get second, they will need any combination of a regulation win and overtime loss or two losses by the Pontiacs, who will play in Whitecourt and Spruce Grove. As for the three seed the Pontiacs with a regulation win in either of their remaining games or a regulation loss by the Oil Barons in either of their remaining games. The other position up for grabs is the five seed that Sherwood Park and Drayton Valley are tied for. For the Crusaders, it is simple all they have to do is match what the Thunder do when they host Camrose on Friday and travel to Olds on Saturday. The Crusaders will be in Grande Prairie for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday.
The Camrose Kodiaks have clinched the number one seed in the South and will get the first round bye. The Brooks Bandits will play one of the Calgary teams in the first round. Okotoks will be the number three seed while Drumheller will be the four seed. What is up in the air in the Viterra AJHL South Division is who will be the fifth and sixth seed and which Calgary team will get the final spot in the South. Canmore is just one point behind Olds for the fifth spot, and the two teams will meet up on Friday in Canmore before the Grizzlys host Drayton Valley on Saturday. A win by the Grizzlys and they will take on Drumheller in the first round, a pair of losses and the Olds will meet the Oilers in the first round for a third straight post season. As for the final playoff spot in the South, it will be one of the Calgary teams with the Mustangs holding a one-point edge over the Canucks. For the Mustangs to clinch the final playoff spot all they have to do is win one of their remaining games (Friday) in Drumheller or (Saturday) in Brooks. The Canucks need a win on Saturday in Okotoks and a pair of Mustang losses.
Either way by the end of the end of Saturday, we will know who will play who in the opening round of the playoffs.
Andrew Brethauer and Robert Murray will have a preview of every playoff series throughout the post season.
Story by Chris Colwell