On Friday, the Warriors host a Prince George squad that had won every game this month (6 in a row) until dropping a 3-2 decision to Nanaimo last Saturday.
Over that span, the Spruce Kings have scored 34 goals (4.9 per game). They’re the second-most offensive team in the Interior, and boast the league’s top scorer (Paul De Jersey 90 points in 51 GP) and an impressive supporting cast. PG is very big on the back end, and Ty Swabb seems to have given this club some stability between the pipes.
Westside is 2-3-1 against PG so far this year, though it’ll be the first meeting between the teams since the trading deadline.
Of course, every game is huge for PG now, with the Spruce Kings just 3 points back of 2nd place Merritt, while also only sitting 5 up on 5th place Vernon.
On Saturday, the Warriors take on Trail, also for the final time this season. The season series vs. the Smokies favours Westside (4 wins, 1 loss, 1 OT loss), and Trail is now joined by Westside in hoping to play spoiler and build for next year.
It will be an interesting weekend for the Warriors, who now play for the first time since being mathematically eliminated from the playoff race. Rylan Ferster made no secrets after Sunday’s loss that he’s now ‘auditioning’ players for next year, and with all the injuries there will be plenty of opportunity for guys to show what they can (or can’t) do.
Neither of these teams is easy to beat, but both are beatable, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Warriors respond.
In: Brett McKinnon is expected to return to the WW lineup
Out: David Pope, Mat Berry, Seb Lloyd
***I forgot Garrett Skrbich is out too
Affiliates: Well, that will be an interesting question. KIJHL playoffs are now underway, and that means some of this team’s favourites (like Adam Plant and Braeden Monk) will be unavailable for a while.