Home stretch

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:30 AM ET

There's still plenty to play for.

With the WHL regular-season entering its final week, 12 of the league's 20 teams are fighting for playoff positioning and only two clubs -- the Swift Current Broncos and Regina Pats -- have been eliminated from post-season contention.

Here's how the stretch run will play out:

B.C. DIVISION

This will be the most interesting race to keep an eye on over the final week of the season.

The Kamloops Blazers and Prince George Cougars have been staging a turtle derby for months now and they'll face each other twice this weekend in the Spruce City to decide who wants the final playoff berth.

The Cougars, five points back of Kamloops, must gain at least one point, either tonight in Vancouver or tomorrow in Kelowna, to make the weekend series meaningful.

They'll then need to sweep the Blazers -- in regulation time -- to avoid missing the post-season for the third straight year.

If the two squads finish tied at the end of the season, a one-game playoff will decide who moves on.

There's also a battle brewing at the top of the division.

The Kelowna Rockets and Kootenay Ice are vying for home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

The defending Memorial Cup champion Rockets have a two-point edge, with each team having three games left on the docket.

The No. 1 team also would avoid a first-round matchup with the potentially dangerous Vancouver Giants.

U.S. DIVISION

The final playoff spot is still up in the air south of the border.

The Tri-City Americans are in the driver's seat, holding a slim two-point lead on Spokane.

The Ams, who also have a game in hand, play Everett twice, Kootenay and Portland, while the Chiefs will face Portland and Kootenay twice.

Everett and Portland will meet in the opening round but will battle for home ice over the final week.

Thanks to Sunday's 3-1 win over the Hawks, the Silvertips enjoy a two-point cushion.

Each club has four games left.

CENTRAL DIVISION

None of the playoff seedings have been finalized but Medicine Hat and Lethbridge have locked up home ice.

The Tigers are on top by a point, with each team playing three times this week.

The Hitmen and Rebels, who'll clash in Red Deer Saturday night, are still fighting for a largely meaningless third seed.

However, if the Tigers are successful in wrapping up the division crown, finishing third would take on added importance for the Hitmen, who could avoid an unfavourable matchup against Medicine Hat in the opening round.

EAST DIVISION

The travel plans are already set in the east where the top-ranked Brandon Wheat Kings will take on Moose Jaw and Saskatoon faces Prince Albert.

The Warriors received an unlikely invitation to the post-season party.

Despite going winless in the first 19 games of the 2004-05 season, Moose Jaw battled its way back into contention and eventually surpassed the imploding Regina Pats.

The Pats, winless in their last 29 games, will watch the playoffs from the sidelines for the first time in six WHLcampaigns.


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