by Allan Bristowe
February 28, 2014, Prince George (ISN) – The Cariboo Cougars close out the regular season on home ice this weekend against a BC Major Midget League powerhouse.
The Cougars host the Vancouver NW Giants with playoff positioning for both teams at stake.
The Cougars (17-19-2) head into the final weekend in sixth place, but are only two points up on the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds. Fraser Valley closes out its season against ninth-placed South Island, so the Cougars may need to get some points this weekend to maintain their standing.
“If we win a game or two this weekend that will be a huge confidence boost for us and beating those guys is going to keep us in the position we’re at, which is where we’d like to be,” Cougars head coach Bryan MacLean said.
The Giants (31-5-2) enter the weekend level on points with first-place Okanagan, but it’s the Rockets who hold the tiebreaker. The Giants need points this weekend and for the Rockets to slip up against the Vancouver NE Chiefs to have a chance at the pennant.
While wins are important at this time of year, MacLean said the team is also focused on getting its game into playoff shape.
“It’s game 39 and it’s game 40, you’ve got to work on a few little things, like we have been all week and just get your game to be at its best for playoffs,” he said.
MacLean said in last Saturday’s 9-2 loss to Okanagan the Cougars got caught standing in awe of the league-leading Rockets, but the team did a much better job in a 5-4 loss in Sunday’s rematch. In order to take it one step further this weekend and get a win against the Giants, the coach said the Cougars need to be the ones dictating the play from the outset.
“It’s our home rink, we’ve got to make sure it’s our game that’s being played,” he said. “We need to focus on what we do and if we do it well we’ll have success.”
The Cougars and Giants open the weekend set at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday and conclude the series at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Both games will be at Kin 1.