Thunder Bay – SPORTS – The Thunder Bay Chill (7-2-3) has left it to its final two games of the season to see if they can get back to the post season. A major goal set by head coach Giovanni Petraglia at the start of the season, the Chill will see its fate determined in two back to back games when they face WSA Winnipeg (0-10-2) at Tbaytel Place at Fort William Stadium on Friday July 17th and Saturday July 18th.
Both games are slated for a 7:30 pm start.
The Heartland Division playoff battle is down to two teams.
The Des Moines Menace clinched a post season spot on Tuesday with a win over Springfield Synergy FC. The Menace need at least one win in their two games this weekend against the Chicago Fire U-23 to clinch the Heartland Division title. However, any aspirations that the Fire U-23 have of making the post season rests on winning both matches against Des Moines.
A Chill win or a Chicago Fire U-23 tie or loss against the Des Moines Menace on either night will put the Chill into the Central Conference Playoffs. However, a combination of two Chill losses and two wins by Chicago and the Fire U-23 would head to the playoffs. If Chicago were to beat Des Moines twice on the weekend and the Chill accomplish the same feat against WSA Winnipeg, the Chill would win the Heartland Division.
The Chill are 15-2-1 in its history against WSA Winnipeg, and have never lost to WSA at home. WSA is winless in 2015 and are looking to end the season with something in the win column. So Thunder Bay’s path to the post season may not be as easy as it may appear. “We can’t take WSA for granted,” said Petraglia. “They had good scoring opportunities when we played them in Winnipeg in June. Had they scored, those games could have turned out differently,” he commented. “This weekend we need to focus on winning both games. We have let a few leads slip away from us this season that has put us in a position of fighting for our playoff lives, where we could have already clinched the division” he said.
Friday night’s results in both Thunder Bay and Des Moines may clear up the playoff scenarios or leave it until Saturday night to decide. The Central Conference Championship will be played the weekend of July 24th-26th at a location yet to be determined.