Daily Herald Staff
Tick, tick, tick…
That is the clock starting to run out on the Prince Albert Icehawks if they hope to qualify for the Prairie Junior Hockey League playoffs.
A 12-2 loss to the Saskatoon Royals on Sunday has lowered the Icehawks’ number to four if they hope to overtake the Delisle Chiefs for the final spot in the North Division Survivor Series.
Prince Albert trails the Chiefs by seven points and with just seven games left on the regular schedule any combination of Delisle wins or Icehawks’ losses totalling four will put Prince Albert on the outside looking in when the playoffs begin for the second straight season.
The Icehawks will try and do their part tonight when they begin their final homestand of the season as the Saskatoon Westleys visit the Kinsmen Arena at 7:30 p.m.
Prince Albert basically has to win the remainder of their games and hope Delisle, and even the Westleys, falter down the stretch. The Westleys are also in the running for the final spot as they trail the Chiefs by just one point, but they have played two extra games than their neighbours to the southwest of Saskatoon.
The Icehawks haven’t had much luck since returning from the Christmas break as they have just one win in eight games and have lost seven in a row. After a strong December in which they won five of seven games, there was plenty of optimism heading into the final stretch of the regular season, but injuries and other commitments have shortened the Icehawks’ bench in almost every game resulting in those who have shown up being stretched to the maximum.
Outside of the lopsided result on Sunday, the Icehawks have been in every game they have played in 2014, but wins are what matters now and it is going to have to start tonight.
Following the game against the Westleys, the Icehawks will remain at home to face the West Central Rage on Saturday, Tri-Town Thunder on Feb. 5 and Fort Knox on Feb. 9. Prince Albert will then conclude the regular campaign with three games on the road with the regular schedule ending on Feb. 14 in Delisle. Time will tell if that game has any impact on the final standings.