Sunday’s regular season finale between the VIU Mariners and Capilano Blues will more than likely be a first place showdown. As the teams enter this weekend there is just three points between them in the standings and to make it more exciting this is the rubber match in the seasonal series. On September 17th the Blues beat the Mariners 2-0, then the Mariners returned the favour with a 2-0 victory on October 1st.
The Mariners are ranked #1 and are on a four game winning streak outscoring their opponents 13-0. Keeper David Turkstra and the defence has been solid not allowing too many opportunities. As a matter of fact, he’s made just seven saves during this run.
On the offensive side the Mariners lead the PACWEST with 31 goals and it appears Aly Adib is starting to heat up with three goals on this win streak while Jordan DeGraaf has a pair and now has seven overall. He also has one of the two goals in this seasonal series.
“This Sunday's game against Capilano could turn out to be a battle for first place in the PACWEST,” says Mariners head coach Bill Merriman. “I know both teams have players that can score goals and play entertaining football so it should make for a great ending to the PACWEST regular season. Field conditions will also play a role in the game, something we will have to be aware of. The other side of it is both teams will be making sure they don't have any players going into Provincials with injuries or card trouble. Because we are fortunate enough to host Nationals our goal was to prove we belong there and I think the players have worked hard to prove that and Sunday will be another opportunity to prove it against a strong team.”
The Blues offence has been just as good as the Mariners. They have scored 25 goals led by the PACWEST’s leading scorer Keith Jackson who has nine and Nicolas Morello has seven. In the last four games the Blues have three wins and a tie, outscoring their opposition 11-2.
Keeper Hudson Nelles as the ability to steal a game with his stellar play. He is second to only Turkstra with a tiny 0.67 goals against average and five shutouts. One of those shutouts coming against the Mariners.
Home field advantage could come into play on the natural surface at Lillooet Park on the campus of Capilano. With the recent rainfall it could make for wet and muddy conditions.
Blues’ head coach Paul Dailly knows this will be no easy task against one of the best in the country, “The game this Sunday versus VIU will be a tough test. They have a lot of experience in their line up and are a very good team. This should be an entertaining game as both teams will be gearing up for Provincials the following week at Quest.”
If both teams win on Saturday, the winner of Sunday’s game will take control of first place in the PACWEST and be the #1 seed heading into the PACWEST Championships.
Kick off in North Vancouver is set for 2:30pm on Sunday afternoon to wrap up the regular season.