There is still lots left to be decided in the playoff pictures as the first full weekend of the final month of the regular season starts up on Friday. To date, nine teams have clinched playoff spots. Only one team knows where they will be going, and that's the Spruce Grove Saints, who have clinched the number one seed and a first round bye in the North playoffs. The rest of the North has Lloydminster Bobcats, Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Sherwood Park Crusaders, and Bonnyville Pontiacs with playoff spots. Home ice in the first round is still up for grabs for all of those teams. In the South Camrose Kodiaks, Brooks Bandits, Okotoks Oilers, and Drumheller Dragons have all clinched playoff spots with the Kodiaks and Bandits guaranteed home ice advantage in the first round.
Bonnyville Pontiacs (24-19-8) 5th in the North
The Pontiacs will look for some home cooking as they play a pair of games on home ice this weekend. Friday they will host the Canmore Eagles for the third and final time this season. The Pontiacs won the first two meetings by scores of 4-1 and 5-2. Puck drop on Friday will be at 7:30. Saturday the Pontiacs will welcome the Drayton Valley Thunder to the RJ Lalonde Arena for the sixth and final time this season. The Pontiacs hold a 3-2 edge in the season series and have won both games on home ice. Opening faceoff on Saturday will take place at 7:30.
Drayton Valley Thunder (16-22-11) 7th in the North
The Drayton Valley Thunder will finish off a three game road trip with a pair of games in eastern Alberta. Saturday will be the final meeting of the season between the Thunder and Pontiacs. The Thunder have won two games against the Pontiacs this season. However, both were on home ice. Sunday the Thunder will be in Lloydminster to take on the Bobcats for the sixth and final time this season. The Thunder trail the season series 3-2 and like their series with Bonnyville have won both their games on home ice.
Fort McMurray Oil Barons (27-20-5) 3rd in the North
The Fort McMurray Oil Barons get a rare weekend off as they will sit back and watch to see what else takes place with the teams around them in the standings. The Oil Barons will return to action February 13th against the Brooks Bandits.
Grande Prairie Storm (15-31-4) (last in the North) Spruce Grove Saints (42-6-3) 1st in the North
It's a very crucial weekend for the Storm who enter the weekend eight points out of the final playoff spot in the north. For the Storm, it won't be an easy weekend as they host a pair of games against the top team in the AJHL the Spruce Grove Saints. The Saints enter the two game weekend set on a 16 game winning streak and hold an eight-point lead on the Camrose Kodiaks (check wed) for the top spot overall in the AJHL. The Saints have won all four of the previous meetings with the Storm and have given up just two goals in those four games. Puck drops at both Friday night and Saturday night's games at 7:30.
Lloydminster Bobcats (27-18-7) 2nd in the North
The Lloydminster Bobcats will also be looking for some home cooking as they host a pair of games this weekend. Saturday night will be the third and final meeting of the season between the Canmore Eagles and the Bobcats. Lloydminster has won the previous two games by scores of 2-0 and 4-3. Opening faceoff for Saturday's game will be at 7:30. Sunday afternoon the Bobcats will take on the Drayton Valley Thunder for the sixth and final time this season. The Bobcats hold a 3-2 edge in the season series and are 2-0 at the Centennial Civic Center Arena against the Thunder. Puck drop will be at 2:30 on Sunday.
Sherwood Park Crusaders (25-21-7) 4th in the North
Like the Fort McMurray Oil Barons the Crusaders will get the weekend off as they sit back and hope for some help on the out of town scoreboard. They will be keeping a close on the Pontiacs and hope to keep within striking distance of the final home ice playoff spot.
Whitecourt Wolverines (20-23-6) 6th in the North
The Wolverines will head south for three games in two and a half days. Friday night they will be in Brooks to take on the Bandits for the second and final time this season. The Bandits defeated the Wolverines in Whitecourt back in November. Saturday night the Wolverines continue their road trip in Okotoks as they battle the Oilers for the second and final time this season. The Oilers won the first meeting of the season between the two teams. Sunday afternoon the Wolverines will be in Calgary to take on the Mustangs for the last meeting of the season between the two teams. The Mustangs edged the Wolverines in a shootout last month.
Brooks Bandits (37-12-1) 2nd in the South
The Bandits will play a pair of games this weekend with an opportunity to close the game on the Camrose Kodiaks. Friday the Bandits will take on the Wolverines for the second and final time this season. The Bandits defeated the Wolverines 4-1 in Whitecourt earlier this season. Puck drop for Friday's game will be at 7:00. Saturday The Bandits will be in Camrose to take on the Kodiaks for the third time in two weeks. Saturday will be the sixth and final meeting between the two teams with the Kodiaks leading the season series 4-1.
Calgary Canucks (15-29-6) 7th in the South
The Calgary Canucks will play one road game and one home game this weekend as they try and distance themselves from the Calgary Mustangs for the final playoff spot. Friday the Canucks will be in Olds to take on the Grizzlys for the sixth and final time this season. The Canucks hold a 3-2 edge in the season series, however, the home team has won all five meetings. Saturday the Canucks return to the friendly confines of the Max Bell Arena to take on the Drumheller Dragons. Saturday will be the fifth meeting of the season between the two teams. Calgary has managed just a single point in the four games against the Dragons. Puck drop between the two teams will be at 7:00.
Calgary Mustangs (15-32-4) 8th in the South
The Calgary Mustangs will play just one game over the weekend as they continue their five game home stand. Sunday the Mustangs will welcome the Whitecourt Wolverines for the second time this season. The Mustangs edged the Wolverines 4-3 in a shootout early last month. Opening faceoff will be at 2:30.
Camrose Kodiaks (39-8-3) 1st in the South
The Kodiaks will play a pair of home games against south division opponents this weekend. Saturday the Kodiaks will welcome the Brooks Bandits to town for the sixth and final time this season. The Kodiaks hold a 4-1 season series lead and have won both games at the Edgeworth Center. Sunday afternoon the Kodiaks will host the Canmore Eagles. Sunday will be the fifth meeting of the season between the two teams. The Kodiaks have won all four games so far this season. Puck drop will be at 2:00.
Canmore Eagles (22-25-2) 6th in the South
The Canmore Eagles are pretty secure in their position but will be looking to make a move closer to the Grizzlys as they open up a five game road trip with three games in two and half days. Friday the Eagles will be in Bonnyville for the third and final time this season. The Eagles have yet to beat the Pontiacs this year. Saturday it's off to the boarder city to take on the Lloydminster Bobcats for the third time this season. Like their season series with the Pontiacs, the Eagles are 0-2 against Lloydminster. Sunday afternoon they will take on the Kodiaks for the fifth time this season. The Eagles have lost all four games to their divisional rival.
Drumheller Dragons (27-16-7) 4th in the South
Drumheller will play twice this weekend as they try to stay close to Okotoks for third in the division. Friday will be the opportunity the Dragons are looking for as they host the Okotoks Oilers for the fifth time this season. The Dragons have won three of four games against the Oilers including winning both at the Drumheller Memorial Arena. Puck drop for Friday's game will be at 7:30. Saturday the Dragons will travel to Calgary to take on the Canucks. It will be the fifth meeting of the year against the Canucks. The Dragons have dominated the season series winning all four games.
Okotoks Oilers (31-14-5) 3rd in the South
The Okotoks Oilers will try and add more distance between themselves and the Dragons for third spot as they will play a pair of games. Friday the Oilers hit the road to Drumheller to take on the Dragons for the fifth time this season. The Oilers are 1-2-1 against the Dragons this season but have dropped both games at the Drumheller Memorial Arena. Saturday the Oilers will host the Whitecourt Wolverines for the second time this season. The Oilers edged the Wolverines 3-2 back on October 31st in Whitecourt. Opening faceoff will be at 7:00.
Olds Grizzlys (22-22-7) 5th in the South
Olds will play just once this weekend as they host the Calgary Canucks on Friday night. It will be the sixth and final meeting of the season between the two teams. The Canucks hold the edge in the season series 3-2. However, the Grizzlys have won both games at the Olds Sportsplex. Puck drop for Friday's game will be at 7:00.
Story by Chris Colwell