Daily Herald Staff
If the Prince Albert Icehawks have any inclination of being in the Prairie Junior Hockey League postseason then this weekend becomes ultra important.
The Icehawks are two points back of the Delisle Chiefs and Saskatoon Westleys in the North Division standings, but a pair of wins – Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the Tri-Town Thunder and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. against the Saskatoon Quakers (both games are at the Kinsmen Arena) – could leapfrog them past both and into a playoff position with just a dozen games remaining on the schedule after this weekend’s action.
The Icehawks, who had an impressive month of December where they went 5-1-1, opened the 2014 portion of their schedule on Monday with an 8-2 setback to the league-leading Saskatoon Royals. Following that game, Prince Albert Icehawks’ head coach Kim Dryka indicated that his club might have beaten themselves before the contest even started due to the fact that the Royals are clearly in the upper echelon.
While the Thunder and Quakers aren’t nearly as strong as the Royals, both are tough opponents and the Icehawks are going to have to believe they can beat them, even though that has yet to happen this year.
Prince Albert and Tri-Town have faced each other just once so far with the Thunder pulling out a narrow 6-4 triumph back in November while the Quakers have manhandled the Icehawks in both previous meetings winning 7-1 on opening night and 10-2 in late October.
Prince Albert, which is 9-15-2 on the season, has played considerably better hockey since those earlier clashes and the season-long emphasis of being committed has to be very evident if the Icehawks hope to continue with their playoff push.
The Thunder enter Friday’s game riding a three-game winning streak while the Quakers, who are in second place in the North Division standings, have lost their last pair. Being ready and believing in themselves will be paramount to the Icehawks having any success.
Prince Albert concludes its lengthy homestand on Wednesday when they will host Delisle with the Icehawks then taking to the road for three of its next five games.