The West Division regular season champion Rayside Balfour Canadians will open the West Division best-of-seven semi-final playoff round with back-to-back home games this week against the Soo Michigan Eagles.
Game one of the series goes Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at the Chelmsford Arena, with game two slated for Friday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m.
There are plenty of admission tickets for both home playoff games available at the door.
The West Division semi-final series promises to be a close-one as the Canadians played the Eagles tough all season in their eight-game regular season series. In the first six meetings of the season, the games were all decided by just one goal.
In the final two meetings of the regular season, the Canadians defeated the Eagles by identical scores of 6-3. The Canadians claimed the regular season series with a record of 6-1-1.
The Canadians will be relying on their offensive prowess as the Canadians scored the second-most goals in the NOJHL with 260 while the Eagles scored 75 goals less with 185 goals. The two teams are closely matched in goals against with a goals-against differential of just eight - 171-163.
The Eagles have entered the play-offs on a winning roll having comprised a record of 5-0-1 heading into their quarter-final series against the Espanola Express. The Soo Eagles made short-work of the Express, sweeping the quarter-final series in two straight games. The Eagles are now undefeated in regulation time in their last eight games.
The Canadians enter the play-offs on a winning note as well with two wins in the final weekend of the season and a 8-1-1 record in their last 10 regular season games. The Canadians watched the Eagles sweep the Express last week and Head Coach Danny Cuomo has had time to prepare his players for the tough series ahead.
“The series promises to be a fast and highly-skilled game,” said Cuomo. “The Eagles are one of the fastest teams in the NOJHL and our young team will need to match their speed. The Eagles showed how stingy they are defensively allowing only two goals against in their two play-off games with Espanola. Our work is cut-out for us but our guys are chopping-at-the-bit to get the playoffs started.”
The Canadians will be looking for a repeat of last season’s semi-final series where the Canadians eliminated in six games. The Canadians won the first two games of the series by 2-1 and 1-0 scores.
Fans can expect the same kind of tight play-off hockey in this year’s semi-final series starting Thursday night at the Chelmsford Arena.
The first-round of the playoffs is sponsored by Canadian Tire Chelmsford store with cash-saving offers being made available to every ticket-buyer at Thursday and Friday night’s home games.