By Peter James
The road to Kenora is heating up as AAA Midget hockey teams from across the country prepare for playoff
runs they hope will bring them to the national Midget championships.
Atlantic: The Dartmouth Subways still look to be the team to beat in Nova Scotia. They broke the league record for points, picking up 61 in a 36-game schedule. The dates for the playoffs have not yet been announced.
The Moncton Flyers are battling the Fredricton Canadiens for top spot in the New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Midget AAA Hockey League. The Flyers are the hottest of the two squads, with only one loss in their last 10.
Quebec: The Col. Charles-Lemoyne Riverains won the Quebec Midget AAA League regular season crown, finishing one point ahead of the Col. Antoine-Girouard Gaulois. The divisional semi-finals, which are all best-of-seven series begin Wednesday. The winner of the Quebec league gets a direct ticket to Kenora for the nationals.
Central: The Central regional championships, which represents all of Ontario except the northwest, takes place in Quinte at the end of March. The seven-team round-robin features four representatives from the member leagues of the Ontario Hockey Federation, two from the Ottawa District Minor Hockey Association plus the host team.
The Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario is already into their league semi-finals. The regular season champion Waterloo Wolves are rolling through the playoffs undefeated. They won their quarterfinal series 3-0 over Kitchener, recording three shutouts along the way. They're currently up 2-0 in the best-of-seven semi-final over Sun Country.
The other semi-final features Cambridge leading the London Reps 2-1 with one game tied.
The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is in the first round of its playdowns. There are still 11 teams in the hunt. The final tournament of champions will be hosted March 19-21 by York Simcoe. The winner of that tournament moves onto the regionals.
The Great North Midget League is also in the midst of playoffs. The Soo North Stars ran away with the
regular season crown, finishing 22 points ahead of their nearest rivals. They're up 2-0 in their best of five
quarterfinal series against the Valley East Cobras.
Kenora will host the northwestern district championships March 19-21 at the Recreation Centre. The Kenora AAA Midget Stars, Thunder Bay Kings and Superior Eagles will battle it out for a spot at the regionals in Regina.
As Kenora hockey fans have no doubt noticed, the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League are working through their playoffs. The local boys were eliminated in the quarterfinals Sunday, losing out to the Winnipeg Thrashers. Brandon and the Winnipeg Wild have also advanced to the final four. The Eastman Selects and Central Plains Capitals are still battling in the quarterfinals.
The Saskatoon Contacts are sitting atop the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League with 63 points after 41 games. They are being chased by the Tisdale Trojans, Prince Albert Mintos, Notre Dame Hounds and Moose Jaw Warriors. The Regina Pat Canadians already have a spot in the regionals as the host team. Playoffs are set to start soon.
Pacific: Hockey Alberta and Hockey British Columbia playoff for the Pacific championship, as series historically dominated by the Alberta boys.
Quarterfinals in Alberta are set to begin this week. The Calgary Royals led the league during the regular season and will face-off against the UFA Bisons in the south division semi-final. The Red Deer Optimist Chiefs finished a close second behind the Royals in league play and may give them a rough ride later in the playoffs.
The Knights of Columbus Pats and the Sherwood Park Kings were both powerful teams in the north
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