Tonight the St. Albert Nektar Raiders host the Red Deer Chiefs in the last home game before the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League playoffs.
Puck drop is 8 p.m. at Jarome Iginla Arena and the Raiders are 12-1-2 in St. Albert.
The Raiders (25-1-4) have the top spot locked up in the north division for the second year in a row and Red Deer (16-10-3) is tied for third in the south division.
The 2019 AMHL provincial finalists also have a first-round bye for a berth in the best-of-five north semifinals.
The Raiders are 17-0-2 since the team’s lone loss, 2-1 against the Sherwood Park Kings (9-14-6) Nov. 6.
The Raiders also finished 2-1-1 at the Mac’s Cup in Calgary during the Christmas break as the defending champions.
League play wraps up Feb. 15 for the Raiders against the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers (14-11-4) at 2:30 p.m. at JRC Arena.
The St. Albert Merchants have one game left before the playoffs kick off in the Capital Junior B Hockey League.
Sunday’s start time is 8 p.m. against the Stony Plain Flyers (19-16-1) at Jarome Iginla Arena
The best-of-three qualifing round in the west division between the third-place Merchants (23-14) and sixth-place Spruce Grove Regals (4-29-3) starts 8 p.m. Friday in St. Albert. Game two is 7:45 p.m. Feb. 16 at Spruce Grove and game three, if needed, is 1 p.m. Feb. 17 at St. Albert.
The winner plays the defending Founders Cup champion Beverly Warriors (29-7-1) or North Edmonton Red Wings (29-7-1) in the best-of-five west quarter-finals.
Last year’s Merchants finished fourth in the west at 14-19-5 and in the playoffs swept the fifth-place Mustangs in the first round and lost the quarter-final series to first-place Beverley in three games.
The fifth consecutive victory and seventh in eight games for the Merchants was Wednesday’s 12-2 dismantlement of the last-place Edmonton Mustangs (3-34) at Bill Hunter Arena.
Aidan West's two goals and two assists, Ryan Cooper's hat-trick and Scott Lancaster's three assists and four points paved the way to victory.
Josh Antunes and Jack Langenhahn potted a pair apiece, Jacob Karran and affiliate Jayden Antunes also scored and Landon Bishop and Marco Runco had three helpers each.
Shots were 53-32 and Mitchell Reidy (10-8, 3.77 GAA) was in net.
The next game for the St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres is Monday in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League.
Faceoff is 6:45 p.m. against MLAC (21-5-2) at Jarome Iginla Arena.
The Sabres (21-5-2) are the top team in the north conference with five games remaining before the best-of-three nitro division opening round starts.
In the overall AMBHL standings, the Sabres and Calgary Flames (22-5) are tied for second behind the Red Deer Rebels (22-2-3).