Heading into final stretch
We’re into that time of the year again.
Western Hockey League games, B.C. Hockey League games, Canada West basketball games and BC Hockey Major Midget League games.
That’s only covering the main organizations. Then there are the Prince George teams competing in all those minor sports and high school sports.
There’s no complaining going on here, especially since I had an enjoyable holiday break. But I just thought I’d give my readers a little taste of how busy I am.
On the weekend, I took photos of the Spruce Kings, peewee hockey, boys basketball, an archery meet, indoor women’s soccer and the P.G. Skates event at the Outdoor Ice Oval. UNBC sports information officer Jesse Olynyk sent in photos of the Canada West basketball action at UNBC on the weekend.
Then I discovered on Monday morning I had four sports pages. At least we have the daily edition for extra photos, since I had an abundance of them when the week began. There’s also the Friday issue.
Here are a look at P.G.’s main sports teams entering the final week of January.
The Prince George Cougars enter another busy stretch of WHL games. Starting tonight, they’ll play seven contests in the next 11 days.
The Cats carry a record of 14 wins, 26 losses, two overtime setbacks and four shootout defeats (14-26-2-4) into tonight’s home game against the Prince Albert Raiders. It’s no secret they need to string together wins to claw into a playoff spot. They can’t depend on teams above them to continue losing.
The eighth-place Seattle Thunderbirds, despite having snapped a 15-game losing streak with Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the Portland Winterhawks (yes, you read that right), had a five-point lead on the ninth-place Cats when Tuesday began.
Eight of the Cougars’ next 10 games are on home ice. They’re 9-11-0-2 at CN Centre this season. On the road, they’re 5-15-0-4.
The lowest scoring team in the 2011-12 season (166 goals in 72 games), the Cougars continue to suffer from offensive futility. At the moment, they have the fewest goals this season, with 114 goals in 46 games.
The Prince George Spruce Kings play at Chilliwack tonight, their third in a row against the Chiefs. Two losses on the weekend dropped the team’s record to 19 wins, 14 losses, one tie and six overtime defeats (19-14-1-6).
Scoring continues to present a challenge for the Spruce Kings. They rank 13th out of 16 BCHL teams in the category, with 117 goals, having scored more than only the Vernon Vipers (101), Salmon Arm SilverBacks (99) and Cowichan Valley Capitals (99).
Two teams, two directions.
The UNBC Timberwolves’ men’s basketball team is 0-4 in the new year. After losing their first game of 2013, the women have won their last three contests. With the shift, the women (6-8) now have a higher winning percentage than the men (5-9). However, it’s the men who sit closer to a playoff spot. Despite their four-game losing streak, UNBC sits only half a game behind the Kamloops-based TRU WolfPack (6-9) for the fourth and final playoff spot. Although the women are also in fifth, they’re four games behind the fourth-place Victoria Vikes (10-4).
With 30 of 40 games played, the Cariboo Cougars have completed 75 per cent of their 2012-13 schedule.
With 22 wins, seven losses and one tie (22-7-1) for 45 points, the Cougars sit tied with the Okanagan Rockets (20-3-5) for second in the 11-team Major Midget League standings. The Rockets have two games in hand.
The Cougars host the Rockets in a CN Centre doubleheader on Feb. 2 and 3. It’s one of only two doubleheaders remaining against teams currently sporting above .500 records, the other a regular-season ending set against the Vancouver North East Chiefs (March 2 and 3).