Great way to end PacWest affiliation
The UNBC Northern Timberwolves have risen to the top of the provincial college basketball league again.
But this time, the men and women can enjoy each team’s success together.
A double gold weekend in North Vancouver is something the Timberwolves can hang their hats on, UNBC being the first B.C. post-secondary institution to accomplish such a feat in college basketball since the University College of the Fraser Valley (now University of the Fraser Valley) in the 2003-04 campaign.
Regardless of how they finish at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association national championships this month, hanging up provincial banners in both basketball leagues is the perfect way to wrap up their final season as a PacWest member.
It’s easy to get caught up in the whole Canada West transition. What will the makeup of the Canada West Universities Athletic Association look like in 2012-13 with UNBC in the fold? When will the full-time soccer coaches get hired?
The Canada West situation for next season still has more questions than answers, which isn’t surprising since major Canada West meetings aren’t held until after the current season wraps up.
But for now, let’s enjoy this. It’s a big accomplishment for UNBC, but also for Prince George. Not only do both teams feature Prince George talent, but head coaches Todd Jordan (men) and Loralyn Murdoch (women) grew up in this city.
It’s easy to understand why Sunday’s B.C. Hockey League result in Vernon happened.
The visiting Prince George Spruce Kings were coming off a pair of emotional victories in Trail before travelling to the Okanagan to meet the Vipers. Friday night’s 6-1 triumph clinched a playoff spot. On Saturday evening, it took overtime for the Spruce Kings to edge the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-3 in a come-from-behind win.
Coming off a 3-1 loss in Kelowna to the Westside Warriors on Saturday night, the Vipers were in must-win territory on Sunday. They needed a victory to keep slim playoff hopes alive, and prevailed in a 7-3 win.
In an interesting twist, the Spruce Kings would’ve been cheering for the fifth-place Vipers against the fourth-place Chilliwack Chiefs on Tuesday night.
Why, you may ask? With the Spruce Kings already playoff bound and now eyeing second or third, a Vipers regulation victory over the Chiefs would’ve left the Spruce Kings one point away from clinching third place.
Nothing is certain. But for now, let’s assume Merritt finishes second. After all, they wrap up their schedule with a home-and-hone doubleheader against the last-place Smoke Eaters this weekend, and played the seventh-place Salmon Arm SilverBacks on Tuesday night.
For the Spruce Kings, third would mean starting the playoffs at Merritt. Fourth would mean they begin playoffs at the South Okanagan Events Centre against the Penticton Vees. The Vees, in case you haven’t heard, are shattering league records this season and went for their 41st straight victory at home against Trail on Tuesday night. They carried a record of 52 wins, three losses, zero ties and two overtime defeats (52-3-0-2) into that contest. At home, they were 28-0-0-1 when they started the game against Trail.
The Spruce Kings, who sport a 32-20-2-4 record, happen to play Penticton on Friday and Saturday at the Coliseum.
The Chiefs had a 30-22-1-3 record for 64 points entering Tuesday night’s game. They have to travel all the way to Coquitlam for a Friday evening game before home games against the Warriors (Saturday) and Smoke Eaters (Sunday).
Now you see why Sunday’s loss could prove costly for the Spruce Kings? They might end up cheering for the Smoke Eaters on Sunday, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
All that considered, the Spruce Kings still control their own destiny in the battle for third. And how sweet would it be if the Spruce Kings ended the Vees’ winning streak at the Coliseum this weekend?
Like the BCHL’s Vipers, the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars were also clinging to slim playoff hopes this week.
The Cats entered Tuesday night’s home game against the Seattle Thunderbirds with a record of 20 wins, 43 losses, zero overtime setbacks and two shootout defeats (20-43-0-2). They were five points behind the Everett Silvertips (19-37-1-8), who held the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, and six in arrears of the seventh-place Victoria Royals (21-39-2-4).
The Cougars, by the way, have only six regular-season games remaining. Their final contest is March 17, a home date against the Kamloops Blazers.