Daily Herald Staff
Games in hand are to be taken advantage of and the Prince Albert A&W Bears expect to do just that when they host the Battlefords Sharks in Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League action on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
The Bears hold a game in hand on the second-place Weyburn Gold Wings and trail their southern opponents by just two points. With wins in regulation time being worth three points each this year, Prince Albert can vault past Weyburn in the standings and hold their playoff destiny in their hands with just six games remaining on the schedule after Wednesday’s tilt.
Prince Albert has been on a bit of a roll of late winning six of their last eight games with both losses coming in a shootout. Included in that stretch are a pair of victories over the last-place Sharks with the Bears having won all three previous meetings between the two clubs this year.
The Battlefords, who have just one win in 19 games, are destined for a first-round playoff match-up with the defending champion Regina Rebels while the Bears could meet any one of the other five clubs depending on where they finish in the standings.
If Prince Albert were to get past Weyburn and finish second they would likely draw Melville in the opening round. Staying in third would give them Notre Dame, Saskatoon or Swift Current while an unforeseen slide to fourth would pit them against any of those same three teams as the Hounds, Stars and Wildcats are separated by just three points and will likely battle for playoff positioning right down to the final night of the regular season.
While a win on Wednesday puts Prince Albert ahead of Weyburn it will also add fuel to a key doubleheader to be played with the Gold Wings when the Bears complete the regular schedule in the middle of next month.
After Wednesday’s game, the Bears play five of their last six games on the road adding even more importance to taking care of business against the Sharks.