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CONTRIBUTION · 28th December 2009
Allan Hewitson
Steelheads are looking for help as Ice Demons have games in hand while Smithers meets with Burns Lake Braves for final game. Terrace battles with Houston to take playoff berth from Hazelton.

A pair of games for the Kitimat Ice Demons on home ice against East Division basement dwellers, the Omineca Ice this weekend could settle first place overall in the CIHL for the 2009-2010 season. Smithers Steelheads hold down first place going into the final two weeks of the season, but they have only one game remaining against East Division co-leaders, the Burns Lake Braves, for their final game of the year. Saturday wins for both the Demons and the Steelheads would leave the Smithers team looking for outside help from the Ice and from the Terrace River Kings, the Demons’ opponents in the final two games of the season.

Another game this weekend which could have an impact on travel plans and playoff positions is the anticipated match-up in Houston between the charging Luckies and the slumping Terrace River Kings.

The Kings are two points back but have a game in hand over the Hazelton Wolverines who are holding down the final playoff spot in the West Division. The Wolverines will be looking for a win over the Prince Rupert Rampage in the Hazelton barn in their final games, Saturday, Jan. 9 and Sunday, 10.

Terrace will play against their perennial rivals, Kitimat, on Friday, January 8 in Terrace and Saturday January 9 in Kitimat.

There are a lot of questions in the East Division as well where three teams are currently tied for first place with 16 points – the Luckies and the Braves, each with three games remaining - and the Williams Lake Stampeders, with only two games left in their regular season.

No team appears to have much of an advantage. The Luckies face Terrace this weekend and wind down with a paid of road games in Vanderhoof against the Ice. Burns Lake will host the Smithers Steelheads and have two road games against the Williams Lake Stampeders. The Stamps will host the Burns Lake Braves at home for their final two games.

So it’s anybody’s guess which teams will be “on the road” for the opening game of the playoffs, which start on January 16. The two highest placed teams will visit the two lower placed teams for game one of the match up. The second game of the ‘best of three’ playoff round will take place in the higher ranked teams’ arenas on January 23. If needed, the third game will take place the following day, Sunday January 24.