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It's the final weekend of the 2016/17 AJHL regular season, and although all the playoff teams have already been determined, there are still some positions that are yet to be.
In the North, the race for top spot and a first round bye is between Fort McMurray and Whitecourt. The Wolverines enter the weekend three points back of the Oil Barons with two games left while the Oil Barons have three games left. On Friday Fort McMurray will be in Spruce Grove before traveling to Drayton Valley on Saturday; also on Saturday Whitecourt will host Sherwood Park. If Whitecourt can win their game on Saturday and Fort McMurray losses both Friday and Saturday it would set up a showdown between the two clubs with first place on the line. However, if Fort McMurray can earn a win or two overtime losses or Whitecourt loses in regulation, then the Oil Barons would clinch top spot.
There are two other positions that are still up for grabs in the Viterra North Division. The battle for third is a relatively simple one. If Spruce Grove earns just one point this weekend or Bonnyville loses in any fashion, then the Saints will get third. The Pontiacs will be in Drayton Valley on Friday and then travel to Grande Prairie on Saturday, as for the Saints they will host Fort McMurray on Friday while on Saturday they will travel to Lloydminster.
The closest race is between Grande Prairie and Drayton Valley for sixth. The Storm control their destiny as all they have to do is match Drayton Valley this weekend due to Grande Prairie holding the first tie breaker (regulation wins) despite both teams entering the weekend with 36 points. Friday both teams will be at home, with the Thunder hosting Bonnyville and the Storm welcoming Sherwood Park. On Saturday Fort McMurray pays their final regular season visit to Drayton Valley while the Storm will get Bonnyville coming to town.
In the South, there is just one race left, and it's the battle for second. Canmore, Okotoks and the Calgary Canucks will enter the weekend tied with 76 points. The Eagles control where they will finish, if they beat the Oilers on Saturday, they will finish 2nd no matter what the Canucks and Okotoks can do. The Oilers will host the Mustangs on Friday night before traveling to Canmore on Saturday. As for the Canucks, they will host Olds on Friday night to finish off the regular season.
So here is how things can shake out for the 2-4 spots in the Viterra South Division. Canmore finishes 2nd if they defeat Okotoks on Saturday. The Canucks can finish 2nd if they beat Olds and Okotoks lose to the Mustangs but beat the Eagles. There is a couple of ways Okotoks can finish 2nd, if they win both their games this weekend or if they are able to earn three points in their final two games.
Story by Chris Colwell