by Allan Bristowe
February 20, 2014, Prince George (ISN) – With a playoff spot locked up, the Cariboo Cougars get a chance to test themselves against the BC Major Midget League’s best this weekend.
The Cougars make their debut in the newly renovated Kin 1 arena on Saturday night and welcome the league-leading Okanagan Rockets as the inaugural guest.
“We’ve got some free hockey now and I think it’s great for the guys too take a breather,” Cougars head coach Bryan MacLean said.
But with just two points separating the 17-17-2 Cougars with both the Vancouver NE Chiefs (17-15-4) and Greater Vancouver Canadians (18-18-2), the Cougars can still climb the standings over the final two weeks of the season. The Cougars enter the weekend in sixth place, but fourth place and home ice advantage is still within reach.
“We’ve got to keep plugging along here and get as many wins as we can and finish as high as we can,” MacLean said.
To climb the standings, the Cougars will need to nab points either from the Rockets this weekend or the Vancouver NW Giants next weekend, two teams involved in their own battle for the BCMML regular season pennant. Both squads have identical 29-5-2 records.
“The road to the championship is going to go through either Okanagan or Vancouver, they’ve been at the top of the league all along,” MacLean said. “It’s not an easy task [these next two weeks], but at the same time we’ve worked really hard too and done some really good things this season, especially after Christmas.”
The weekend kicks off at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday with the annual Jameson Jones cancer charity night. The team will be honouring children who have overcome or are battling illnesses and will be collecting donations to help a local family with medical bills for their daughter with cancer.
The set wraps up on Sunday morning at 10 also in Kin 1.