For the third consecutive HJHL post-season, the Red Deer Vipers and Airdrie Thunder will play in a best-of-seven playoff series.
The two clubs met in the Northern Semi Final in the 2016 playoffs. The Thunder were heavily favoured, but the Vipers, who hosted Hockey Alberta provincials that year, unexpectedly took Airdrie the distance before losing game seven on the road by a single goal.
Last year, the clubs met again under the same circumstances as the third-seeded Vipers went up against a juggernaut offence led by Clay Murray as they battled the second-seeded Thunder, again in the North semi. This time it was the Vipers successfully pulling off the upset in six games en route to an HJHL championship.
Tthis time, the Vipers are the favoured club with Red Deer finishing 11 points ahead of Airdrie in the regular season standings and winning three of the four match-ups between the clubs this season.
The series kicks off Wednesday night in Red Deer at 8:30 p.m. at the Servus Arena. Game two is scheduled for Friday at 8:00 in Airdrie. Game three will come back to Red Deer Saturday night at 8. Games 4-7 have not yet been confirmed. The full schedule is expected to be set early this week.
The winner of the best-of-seven will move on to the HJHL Final against the winner of the Coaldale Copperheads and Okotoks Bisons series. The winner will also earn a berth in provincials to be held later this month in Fort St. John, BC.
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