The Biggar Nationals have a pivotal next couple weeks before the Sask West Hockey League playoffs begin in February.
After last night's disappointing 11-3 loss from the Wilkie Outlaws at the Jubilee Stadium in Biggar, the Nationals have some work to do if they want to take back third place. Third is currently occupied by the Macklin Mohawks, who are winners of their last five games, while the Nationals are four points below in fourth with a game in-hand.
Nationals manager Chad Ireland can't stress enough how important this weekend's matchups are for Biggar. It has been an average month so far for the Nationals who have split their record at three wins and three losses. Credit is due on their overtime win against Macklin at the beginning of the month and their shootout victory over the Kindersley Sr. Klippers last Friday, but their latest loss has Ireland and the staff wanting the team to work on a few things before their games Friday and Saturday.
This weekend will consist of one home and one away game for the Nationals. Friday night, they head out to Luseland for a date with the Mallards at 8:30 p.m., then back at the Jubilee Stadium Saturday at 8:00 p.m. to face the Unity Miners. While the Mallards have unfortunately endured an abysmal season thus far, the Miners are right on Biggar's tail.
Both Unity and Biggar are even on games played with the Miners holding 12 points on the year to the Nationals' 15 points. Although the Nationals might have the advantage when comparing schedules to finish off the regular season.
While the Miners have to go against difficult opponents in the Outlaws and the Mohawks, the Nationals have the Mallards twice. And with the Nationals owning more points than Unity, it's a favourable situation for Biggar to end the year above the Miners.
Ireland discusses how crucial this weekend's games are to assure they stay above their Saturday foes.
Biggar can catch up to Macklin in the standings, but they will need a little help from Unity, Luseland and Kindersley if they want to accomplish it. The Mohawks will clinch third place if they win their two games this weekend against the Klippers and Mallards and if the Nationals lose one either Friday or Saturday.
With the table as tight as it has ever been this season, fans in Biggar and throughout west central Saskatchewan will be able to catch some of the best senior hockey they have seen this winter.