The Pacific Junior Hockey League’s playoffs series dates are set for the first round — except for the Aldergrove Kodiaks, as the Mission City Outlaws and Port Moody Panthers are still battling for the playoff spot against the league’s top team.
Mission is currently leading that battle with 25 to Port Moody’s 24 points but both teams have one regular season game left in which to confirm their fates. Mission faces the North Vancouver Wolf Pack on Feb. 13 and Port Moody’s final game is against the Kodiaks on Feb. 15.
The Ridge Meadows Flames open their series at Abbotsford Pilots on Feb. 18, the Wolf Pack starts the same night at Delta against the Ice Hawks and the Grandview Steelers open theirs against the Richmond Sockeyes.
With two regular season games left the Kodiaks sit firmly atop the Harold Brittain conference with 68 points. The Kodiaks are also first in the league, with Tom Shaw conference leaders, the Sockeyes at 67 points and with three games left before the playoffs start.
The Kodiaks took a convincing 5-1 win over the North Delta Devils on Feb. 8 to post their 68 points after 42 games (32-6-2-2), while the Devils have been eliminated from playoffs and will play their final game of the season against the Sockeyes on Feb. 15.
The Kodiaks host their division rivals, the Pilots on Feb. 12 and play the Panthers on Feb. 15, before they start their round of playoffs.
The Kodiaks will be going into the series strong as the team has gelled under the coaching of Brad Rihela and have shone for almost all of the season.
Their win on Feb. 8 was led by the game’s first and second stars, Jonathan Philley and Stephen Ryan, who earned two points apiece that night. Ryan’s two points gave him 83 after 42 games, making him far and away the league’s top scorer. Adam Callegari is third in this category with 66 points after 36 games with the Kodiaks.
Kodiaks’ Philley and Nolan Wallinger scored one each in the first period, followed by Joshua Poitras and Spencer Unger in the second, before Devils’ Tristan Craighead notched their only goal in the third. Kodiaks’ Aaron Markin finished the scoring for the 5-1 win.
Assists were from Ryan (2), Robert Jang, Kodi Schwarz, Brandon Dolby, Philley, Spencer McHaffie (2), Callegari, and Quinncy Leroux.
Both teams were unable to score on four power plays each, and the Kodiaks outshot the Devils 45-32.