Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ten Games To Go

SOMEWHERE – It’s hard to believe, but there are just 10 games left in the 2011-12 regular season for the Saint John Sea Dogs and Shawinigan Cataractes.

After 58 games, the Sea Dogs find themselves just one-point ahead of the Cataractes for first overall in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 86. The regular season’s best team will have home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. For Saint John, it would be their third straight regular season title.

This is basically a two horse race. Although Quebec is seven points back of Saint John with 10 to play and Victoriaville eight points back, it would take quite a turn a events for either them to finish in first-place. Remember, even if those teams won all of their remaining games, they would still need the teams ahead them to lose a few. Considering how Saint John and Shawinigan have played of late, that probably isn’t going to happen.

This is what the standings currently look like (click to enlarge).

Here’s what Shawinigan’s remaining schedule looks like, which includes at 7pm date with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles tonight at Centre 200.

DateTeamWin %
Thurs., Feb. 23at Cape Breton0.395
Sat., Feb. 25at Halifax0.621
Sun., Feb. 26at Moncton0.518
Fri., March 2at Chicoutimi0.578
Sun., March 4at Baie-Comeau0.509
Thurs., March 8vs Rouyn-Noranda0.362
Fri., March 9vs Rimouski0.608
Sun., March 11vs Saint John0.741
Fri., March 16at Victoriaville0.672
Sat., March 17at Drummondville0.483

The Cataractes will play seven of their final 10 games against teams over .500. They’ll play just three games at home.

Here’s what Saint John’s schedule looks like.

DateTeamWin %
Sat., Feb. 25at Moncton0.518
Sun., Feb. 26vs Cape Breton0.395
Tues., Feb. 28vs Moncton0.518
Fri., March 2vs PEI0.328
Sat., March 3vs Bathurst0.500
Fri., March 9at Chicoutimi0.578
Sun., March 11at Shawinigan0.733
Wed., March 14at Halifax0.621
Fri., March 16at Cape Breton0.395
Sat., March 17at Cape Breton0.395

Six of Saint John’s final 10 games will be against teams .500 or better. They’ll play four of the 10 matches at home. The Dogs close out the season by playing five road games because of the always thrilling RV and Home Shows at Harbour Station (*inserts Moncton Coliseum joke*).

The Sunday, March 11 game between the Cataractes and Sea Dogs has the potential to be a very important match - as if it wasn't already. If it’s anything like the last time they met, it should be a good show.

Sea Dogs fans have witnessed a lot of unreal stuff over the past two-and-a-half seasons, but a race for first-place is not one of them. They could afford a loss or two down the stretch in previous years. But this season, every point matters.

Although it may be stressful, it will also be fun. You will probably break speed limits to get home, fire up the Windows 98, and sweat as you analyze the Q site scoreboard and standings, wondering “what does this all mean?” on a nightly basis.

Buckle up. The final countdown is on.

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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