NWJHL concludes regular season this weekend with first place still up for grabs

PEACE RIVER — Four teams will battle for playoff positioning this weekend as the NWJHL’s regular season comes to a close on Sunday. With just three days left in the North West Junior Hockey League’s 2018-2019 campaign, much is still to be decided as the final weekend will feature the battle to determine first and second place, as well as third place overall.

In Peace River the North Peace Navigators still have a chance to take third place in the standings, despite stumbling down the stretch and collecting only one win in their last seven outings. The Navs were in control of their own destiny up until the end of January, when North Peace would drop back-to-back decisions to end the month before reeling off another three losses.

This would allow the County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings to climb up all the way to just one point back of North Peace. The Navs would have an opportunity to create a little bit of separation between themselves and the JDA Kings on Wednesday night, but would fall 7-1 to the currently first place Dawson Creek Jr. Canucks. This would cost North Peace as the County of Grande Prairie would face the league’s last place team, the Sexsmith Vipers, just a night later with a chance to move one point ahead.

While the JDA Kings would enter Thursday night’s action having won seven times in their last nine games, the team would drop a 7-6 overtime decision. This would still be enough however to move the County of Grande Prairie into a tie with the Navs, while bumping them out of third due to having less regulation losses.

This leads to tonight, when the Navs will take on the JDA Kings at the Baytex Centre.

If the County of Grande Prairie is able to earn a victory in regulation or overtime/shootout, then they will officially clinch third overall in the standings. However, if the Navs win they still won’t be able to clinch third place unless the JDA Kings, who have a game in hand, drop their last game of the season on Sunday to the Fort St. John Huskies.

The Huskies will have a lot to play for themselves come Sunday, currently just one point back of the Dawson Creek Jr. Canucks for first place in the league. After dropping three straight decisions in mid-January it would look like the Jr. Canucks would have first place all but wrapped up, however the Huskies would rebound by winning four of their last five games to pull within one point of Dawson Creek.

The Huskies are in a great position to take first place during the NWJHL’s final weekend, with three games left on their schedule. The Jr. Canucks on the other hand can only sit back and hope that the Huskies somehow manage to drop all three games over the weekend, as Dawson Creek has no games remaining.

The Huskies will first be on the road tonight against Sexsmith, before wrapping up the season with two home games on Saturday and Sunday against the Fairview Flyers and JDA Kings respectively.

Sunday’s clash will mark the season’s 108th and final game, as the league will officially conclude the 26th NWJHL regular season in it’s history.

–Alex Rodgerson, Trending 55 News

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