And then there were four.
The Princeton Posse faces the Revelstoke Grizzlies in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) conference finals starting Friday, March 17.
Friday and Saturday, March 18 the action is at home, and then Princeton travels to Revelstoke Tuesday, March 21 and Wednesday, March 22 for games three and four of the series. If necessary, the home-ice advantage then bounces back and forth between the two centres.
It is only the second time in the franchise’s 20-year history the Posse has advanced this far in the post season, noted head coach Mark Readman.
“There are only four teams left. It’s hard not to be happy about what we have done but I think, internally, we know we have more we can give.”
Readman acknowledged Revelstoke is a formidable opponent. They were last year’s playoff champions and also won the cup in 2018-19. The intervening finals were cancelled due to COVID.
“They are kind of the jealousy of the league. Really, they’ve been one of the top dogs for, I want to say, seven years.”
However, Readman is not selling his team as a dark horse.
On paper, there is little to choose between the clubs at present.
Princeton won the regular season, just one point ahead of Revelstoke.
In October, the Posse lost to the Grizzlies, 4-3 in a shoot-out, but won 5-3 against them in January. In both those meetings shots on goal were the same for both sides, 40 and 43 respectively.
“Both of those games were exceptional hockey,” said Readman.
“I’m expecting it to be a dog fight here for the next two-and-a-half weeks. I’m expecting some low-scoring hockey games, well fought.”
The winner will be “whichever team is willing to fight their way through. We are ready to go. This team has risen to the occasion multiple times during the regular season…At the end of the day we know it’s going to be hard and it’s going to be a grind.”
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