Fraser Valley Bandits play their last regular season game tonight at Langley Events Centre. They’re facing off against the Edmonton Stingers at 7 p.m. (CEBL/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Fraser Valley Bandits play their last regular season game tonight at Langley Events Centre. They’re facing off against the Edmonton Stingers at 7 p.m. (CEBL/Special to Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Bandits host Stinger in regular season finale tonight in Langley

Action gets underway at Langley Events Centre at 7 p.m.

By Dillon White/Special to Langley Advance Times

Edmonton Stingers will pay a visit to Langley Events Centre for an important regular season finale against the Fraser Valley Bandits tonight (Saturday, July 30) at 7 p.m.

Fraser Valley head coach Mike Taylor said he and the team are excited about the game.

“We like the way we’re playing. We’re looking forward to getting home and getting in front of our great fans. We know we’re playing with a lot on the line with playoff position,” he said.

The Bandits enter Saturday’s contest one game ahead of Edmonton in fourth place at 11-8, while Edmonton sits in sixth place at 10-9. Edmonton risks falling behind 11-9 Saskatchewan with a loss on Sunday, while Fraser Valley can leapfrog into second or third with a win and a Scarborough loss.

The Bandits would also need Niagara to lose to Hamilton on Sunday to have a shot at second place, but Fraser Valley currently holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with Niagara.

Going into the final regular season game, Edmonton has the head-to-head tiebreaker with Saskatchewan and Guelph, but a win over Fraser Valley would lead to a three-way tie at 11-9 that would revert to an overall plus/minus tiebreaker. A Scarborough loss and an Edmonton win could lead to a four-way tie.

Scarborough is currently first among those four teams in overall plus/minus, with Edmonton second, Fraser Valley third, and Saskatchewan fourth. Over 30 points separates each team, so multiple blowouts could be required to shake up the standings drastically.

Fraser Valley won its previous meeting with the Stingers at the Edmonton Expo Centre 84-81.

Thomas Kennedy had a game-high 22 points and 9 rebounds in the win for Fraser Valley, while Shane Gibson added 19 points. Brody Clarke had 19 for Edmonton in the loss, while Jordan Baker had 14 points 9 rebounds and 4 assists. However, both teams have shifted the looks of their rosters since the last matchup.

Both teams also enter the matchup after losing their previous game, with Edmonton falling to Ottawa and Fraser Valley falling to Scarborough.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge. Edmonton’s a really good team, obviously, they’re back-to-back champs,” Taylor said.

“They’ve got very good players and they’re well coached. We’ve got to get our rest and get our gameplan together and put forth a great effort on Saturday.”

Shane Gibson comes into the matchup with Edmonton as the Bandits’ leading scorer with 19.2 points per game on 48.7 per cent shooting from the field and 42.9 per cent from three, to go along with 4.2 rebounds per game and 3.2 assists per game.

U Sports developmental player Thomas Kennedy is averaging 14.5 points per game on 63 per cent shooting, while grabbing 8.3 rebounds per game. Alex Campbell is also averaging double-figures for Fraser Valley with 13.6 points per game and providing reliable defence.

Meanwhile, Demarco Dickerson and Brody Clarke enter the game as Edmonton’s leading scorers with just over 13 points per game each.

Recent acquisition Trahson Burrell is averaging 27 points through two games for Edmonton and could enter the playoffs as the Stingers’ much-needed number one option.

Jordan Baker is once again having a spectacular season for Edmonton and could be once again in contention for Canadian Player of the Year. Baker is averaging 11.4 points per game, a league-best 9.4 rebounds per game, 4.7 assists per game and 1.6 assists per game.

Fans will be able to livestream all games, including the playoffs on the CEBL’s OTT streaming service CEBL+.

As part of its playoff coverage, CBC Sports will broadcast the quarterfinal games Sunday, Aug. 7, semifinal games Friday, Aug. 12, and the championship game on Sunday, Aug. 14. All times are subject to change.

The CEBL’s fourth regular season began May 25 and ends Aug. 1.

A league created by Canadians for Canadians, the CEBL is the largest pro sports league in the country with 10 teams located in six provinces. It has the highest percentage of Canadian players of any professional league in the country, with 71 per cent of its current rosters being Canadians.

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Is there more to the story? Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

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