A trip to the National Ringette League Championships in Prince Edward Island will be on the line when the BC Thunder host the Manitoba Intact in a best-of-three playoff series next weekend at Minoru Arenas.
Under longtime Richmond Ringette coach and first-year Thunder boss Troy Takasaki, BC earned home ice advantage thanks to edging out Manitoba by two points in the final regular season standings.
The series will feature a doubleheader on Saturday — with a noon start for the opener and 6:30 p.m. for the nightcap. If necessary, a deciding game would be played Sunday at noon.
The teams met two weeks ago in Winnipeg where BC clinched home ice with a 9-4 victory. The Intact bounced back to win the next two — 9-1 and 6-5 — but BC won the season series (3-2) thanks to a pair of home ice wins back in October.
BC is looking to secure its first trip to the NRL Nationals since the 2103 season after winning gold a year earlier in Burnaby.
The Thunder’s roster ranges from 18 to 42 years of age and features talent from throughout B.C. and beyond. There are Finnish imports Salla Naakka and Petra Ojranta along with additional players from Manitoba and Ontario.
The line-up also includes Takasaki’s daughter Hailey who was among Team BC’s leading scorers at last month’s Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
Hailey also helped Richmond capture the U19 Western Canadian Championship last season before taking her career to the NRL. She has enjoyed an impressive freshman campaign with 25 points in 21 games and led the Thunder in the big win in Winnipeg with four points, including a pair of goals.
BC’s 11-12-0-1 regular season record was highlighted by splitting its six-game season series with Western Conference champion Edmonton WAM! (19-4-0-1).
The NRL Nationals are slated for April 7-13.