It’s not a David versus Goliath matchup. Actually, their records would suggest there is probably little to choose when it comes to comparing the strength of their respective rosters.
The disparity is in their history.
The London Lightning are founding members of the National Basketball League of Canada. They are defending NBLC champions and winners of three titles overall, more than any other club in the circuit.
The St. John’s Edge are an expansion team, one that was hastily put together, but nevertheless put together well, so well the Edge finished third overall in the 10-team league and in second place in the Central Division, just behind the Lightning.
The standings tell you St. John’s-London is the matchup that was to be expected for the divisional final. And the Edge, who went 25 -15 in the regular season (including 3-4 against the Lightning) certainly appeared to anticipate they would be facing London (27-13) in a best-of-seven series that will begin Tuesday night in London, Ont.
They at least played the odds that this is what would come to pass.
After sweeping their opening-round series against the Windsor Express with a win Wednesday night in Windsor, the Edge decided against returning to St. John’s and remained in southern Ontario for the conclusion of the other division semifinal between the Lightning and Niagara River Lions.
London took that series 3-1 with a victory Friday night in St. Catharines, Ont., but if the River Lions had managed to push it to a Game 5 and had then upset the Lightning in that deciding game, it would have been the Edge that would have held home-court advantage in the division final, meaning they would have had to return to St. John’s for the start of the series.
As it is, Games 1 and 2 (Thursday night) will be in London, with the middle three contests in the series set for Mile One Centre in St. John’s as the league exercised its prerogative to make it a 2-3-2 series (as opposed to 2-2-1-1-1) in order to cut down on travel.
As of Sunday night, the Edge had not announced the dates for their home games in the series, although it’s expected Games 3 and 4 will be Saturday, April 21 and Monday, April 23. Any necessary Game 5 at Mile One wouldn’t come until at least Thursday, April 26 because of the Johnny Reid concert and Harlem Globetrotters game that are being held on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Games 6 and 7, if necessary, would be in London.
Even before exact dates for Games 3, 4 and 5 had been established, the Edge began selling tickets for their home games in the divisional final, with prices ranging from $12.68 to $43.65, plus applicable fees.