By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
One of the beauties, and one of the frustrations, of sports is the difference between winning or losing, the contrast between what is and what isn't successful, as a team or an as an individual, can be a times a very, very tiny margin.
The best local example is the Owen Sound Junior NorthStars Lacrosse team who missed the OLA Junior B Playoffs for the first time in 3 years this season, falling short by 4 points.
Four points does represent a decent gap between the St Catharines Spartans who qualified in the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference and the Junior NorthStars who did not earn a berth in the post season.
However, in a 20 game schedule, the final result was decided by 1 game, a loss on home floor on Saturday May 26th to St Catharines.
IF, and as it turns out it's a BIG IF, Owen Sound wins that game then both the Junior NorthStars & St Catharines finish with identical records and Owen Sound would have had the tie-breaker advantage and we'd be talking playoffs instead of what might have been.
But the reality is St Catharines broke a 5-5 tie that night and scored 6 unanswered goals on their way to an 11-5 win and essentially a playoff berth.
The difference was that tiny.
Yes, there were other factors that contributed to the NorthStars absence from the Junior B playoffs, most notably a record of 2-7 & 1 on home floor, but in the end, a loss, ONE loss, at home, on Saturday May 26th, was the difference between elimination from contention and a 3rd straight trip to the Western Playoffs.
I'm Fred Wallace
FINAL JR B WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
cSix Nations Rebels 20 18 1 1 37
yElora Mohawks 20 17 3 0 34
xWindsor Clippers 20 17 3 0 34
xWallaceburg Red Devils 20 16 4 0 32
xHamilton Bengals 20 15 5 0 30
xOrangeville Northmen 20 13 7 0 26
xNiagara Thunderhawks 20 10 10 0 20
xSt. Catharines Spartans 20 7 12 1 15
Owen Sound North Stars 20 5 14 1 11
Guelph Regals 20 4 15 1 9
Point Edward Pacers 20 3 17 0 6
London Blue Devils 20 2 18 0 4
Welland Generals 20 1 19 0 2