Cougars set for final road trip

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by Allan Bristowe

February 14, 2014, Prince George (ISN) – The Cariboo Cougars are looking to lock up a playoff spot this weekend as they head out on the road for their final trip of the regular season.

A pair of wins this weekend against the North Island Silvertips will clinch a post-season berth for the Cougars.

“We want to make sure we can solidify a playoff spot as early as possible and we can that this weekend so we want to make sure we get it done,” head coach Bryan MacLean said.

The Cougars, 15-17-2 on the year, enter the weekend in sixth place in the BC Major Midget League. The Silvertips, 11-18-5, are clinging to the eighth and final berth.

After splitting its games during each of the past two weekends, Cariboo is looking to get maximum points out of its Island visit and build some momentum as the playoffs approach.

MacLean said his team needs to do a better job of levelling out the peaks and valleys that occur over the course of a game.

“We’ve got to be consistent for 60 minutes,” MacLean said, noting a mid-second period let down cost the team a chance for a weekend sweep last weekend against South Island. “We can’t have that happen, we need to be mentally strong when we get scored on. The other team is working hard to score goals too, so you need to accept the fact when it goes in the net and keep plugging away.”

After this weekend the Cougars host the league’s top two teams, Okanagan and Vancouver Northeast, the final two weeks of the season, so clinching a playoff spot now is important.

“For us it would be nice to solidify it heading into the final two weekends because then you get some free hockey out of that,” MacLean said. “You can work on some stuff and not play with a lot of pressure against those teams and you might gain a bit of confidence going forward.”

The Cougars and Silvertips meet on Saturday at 4:45 p.m. in Alberni Valley and on Sunday at 9:15 a.m. in Courtenay.