The Alberta Junior Hockey League playoffs begin this weekend and the Olds Grizzlys will be playing in the south division's fourth vs. fifth place series on the road in Calgary.
The Grizzlys wrapped up their regular season schedule with a pair of losses during a northeastern road trip to Fort McMurray and Lloydminster, meaning the Calgary Mustangs passed the Grizzlys into fourth place and home-ice advantage in their first-round series.
Game one of the best-of-five series begins Thursday night in Calgary at the Father David Bauer Arena with the second game set for Friday night at the same venue. Game three will be at the Olds Sports Complex on Sunday evening.
If necessary game four will be at the Sports Complex on Monday night with a potential fifth game set for Calgary if needed.
Last Tuesday, the Grizzlys lost 5-2 to the Mustangs in the final regular season matchup at the Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary. In seven meetings over the course of the season the Grizzlys won twice and lost five.
Friday night in Fort McMurray the Grizzlys lost 4-1 while Saturday they ended their regular season with a 3-2 loss to the Bobcats in Lloydminster. Overall the Grizzlys finished 23-30-7
The other series in the south division will feature second place Brooks facing Canmore and third place Camrose hosting Drumheller. First place Okotoks receives a first-round bye while the Calgary Canucks missed out on the playoffs, finishing eighth in the division.
This year's playoffs feature full intra-divisional play all the way through the league semifinals. The new format ensures a south versus north Enerflex Cup final as opposed to the semifinal crossovers of the past few seasons.
In the north division, Spruce Grove clinched the first-round bye while Drayton Valley will miss the playoffs again this season. Fort McMurray will play St. Albert, Bonnnyville plays Sherwood Park and Grande Prairie hosts Lloydminster.
North division playoffs begin Friday night.
Grizzly Pause ñ Two Olds Grizzlys team personnel will be up for end of the year awards. Defenceman Corbin Karl is up for the league's top defenceman honour while first-year head coach Kevin Willison was nominated for coach of the year Ö Karl was also named to the south division first all-star team while 16-year-old winger Zane Jones was named to the south division's all-rookie team thanks to 21 goals and 19 assists in 50 games. Karl - the team's captain - finished with career highs in goals (12), assists (27), points (39) and penalty minutes (79).