The Lac La Biche Junior B Clippers continue their winning streak last weekend wins at the Bold Center.
And if they win thier upcoming game against the second-place Wainwright Bisons on home ice this Friday, the Lac La Biche team will earn the regular season's top team award. The commissioner of the Northeastern Alberta Junior B Hockey League will be at Friday's game at the Bold Center, ready to hand out league awards following the matchup. The Clippers currently sit just three points ahead of the Bisons. Both teams have two games left in the regular season, including Friday's head-to-head.
The Clippers have run a near-perfect path in their last two dozen league games to get to the top spot. Their last two wins put them three points ahead of the Bisons.
On Friday the home team beat the Vegreville Rangers 7-3, and Sunday they beat the St. Paul Canadiens 4-1.
Although Friday’s game against the Rangers — the last-place team in the eight squad league — was an expected win, Saturday’s St. Paul win was a harder fought battle. The Canadiens are in third place in the league, and came to the Bold Center for Sunday’s game just five points behind Lac La Biche in the tight top-three spots of the league. The last time the two teams met, the Canadiens beat the Clippers, making them the only blemish in the last 22 games going back to early December.
The first period produced only one goal — putting Lac La Biche into a less than secure lead going into the second period where St. Paul scored the equalizer. Lac La Biche came to life in the third, however, with three unanswered goals by the final buzzer.
With just two games left before the playoffs begin — the next on Friday at the Bold Center against the league’s second place team (and last year’s league champs) the Wainwright Bisons, Clippers Coach Ron Tremblay knows that now is the time for his team to give it their all. It’s not the time to let up off the gas.
“Both games are important that are coming up. We have to keep working hard and play the full 60 minutes. The boys are playing well — but we have to keep playing better every game,” he told the POST after Sunday’s win.
Playoffs start in a week
The regular season will wrap up on Sunday with all eight teams starting league playoffs the following weekend with the quarter-finals. The playoff round is expected to last a full month.
The Clippers final game of the regular season is Saturday against the Vermilion Tigers.
Following all this past weekend’s league games, the Clippers sit with 49 points — three up on Wainwright and seven over St. Paul.
If the Clippers remain in first spot as the playoffs start, they will once again play Vegreville in the opening round, as the schedule for the playoffs pit the first-place team against the last, the second-place team against the seventh, the third against the sixth, and the fourth-place team against the fifth.
• with files from Rob McKinley