It will be last season’s National Basketball League of Canada expansion team taking on this year’s model as the St. John’s Edge play host to the Sudbury Five this coming weekend at Mile One Centre in the opening games of their first-round playoff series.
The Edge-Five matchup was set over the weekend when the defending champion London Lightning swept two games from the Windsor Express, giving the Lightning (22-18) first place in the league’s Central Division.
The Edge, who entered the NBLC in 2017, and Five, who joined the league for the present campaign, both finished just behind London with 21-19 records, but it was the Edge who earned second place and gained home-court advantage in the upcoming series. That’s because they had won two of the three head-to-head meetings between the teams. The Five had prevailed in a late February game in Sudbury, while the Edge had won both ends of a midweek back-to-back in November.
Game 1 of the best-of-five series is Friday night, with a rematch at Mile One Sunday afternoon. The series switches to Sudbury for Games 3 and 4, the later if necessary, on April 10 and 12.
Should things go the distance, Game 5 would be on the afternoon of April 14 at Mile One.
Much has changed on both teams since fans in St. John’s last saw the Five, including the status of one player who was with the Edge at the time, but is now playing for Sudbury.
That’s guard Maurice Jones, who was traded from St. John’s to the Island Storm in January for Russell Byrd. Jones never played a game for the Storm, who eventually flipped his rights to the Sudbury, where he’s averaged better than 22 points per game as a member of the Five’s starting rotation.
Another former Edge player traded away mid-season was honoured by the league over the weekend.
Island forward Guillaume Boucard has been named the NBLC’s top Canadian.
Boucard had mostly come off the bench during his time in St. John’s, averaging just over six points per game in 15 games for the Edge. But soon after being dealt to the Charlottetown, P.E.I.-based Storm for Brad States in a Canadian-for-Canadian swap, Boucard became a regular starter, averaging nearly 20 points, 8.5 rebounds and almost five assists in 27 games with his new team.