American Conference Championship Preview
Who, Where, When:
The Green Bay Blizzard (11-7, #6 seed) head to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania this week to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers (16-2, #1 seed). Game time is set for 6:00 p.m. CST this Saturday, August 18th. The home site of the Pioneers is Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza. The game will be broadcast on the B2 Network online; fans can watch the game online by logging onto the Blizzard homepage and following the link at the bottom of the page. It will also be broadcast live at 6:00 p.m. at Stadium View Bar and Grill.
2007 was the first year since 2003 that Green Bay and Wilkes- Barre/Scranton did not meet in the regular season. From 2004-06 the Blizzard and the Pioneers were Eastern Division rivals. The two teams have met five times in the regular season; Wilkes-Barre/Scranton holds the series advantage in regular season winning three of the teams' five meetings. The 2007 American Conference Championship will mark the second time the two teams have met in the postseason; the previous playoff meeting was on August 6, 2005 when the Pioneers narrowly defeated the Blizzard 48- 41 in Wilkes-Barre.
While the Pioneers were playing top notch football until the last few weeks of the regular season, the Blizzard did not begin playing their best football until the later weeks of the season. The Blizzard were trading wins and losses week in and week out until July when the team began hitting its stride. From March through June the Blizzard compiled a 6-6 overall record. In the month of July the Blizzard put together three straight wins; the Blizzard finished the month 3-1 to complete the regular season at 9- 7 and secure a playoff berth. The Blizzard are also 5-1 in their last six games gaining momentum throughout the post season.
In the playoffs the Blizzard were forced to overcome some of their road woes to tally a win against the Quad City Steamwheelers. The Steamwheelers led the Blizzard 21-0 with only seconds remaining in the first half, but the Blizzard would come alive from there. WR Gerald Harris would return a Quad City missed field goal for a touchdown with no time remaining in the first half. The Blizzard would get the ball to start the second half as well, which gave Harris his chance to take the opening kick of the half back for his second return touchdown of the night. Harris would do just that, and in just two plays the Blizzard now trailed the Steamwheelers by only eight. The Blizzard would outscore the Steamwheelers 32-13 in the second half and go on to win 39-34. In week two of the postseason the Blizzard would again be forced to come from behind to defeat the Louisville Fire. The Blizzard and the Fire would trade touchdowns through much of the first half until the Fire led the Blizzard late in the second quarter 20-14. The Fire's second quarter lead would be their last of the night as the Blizzard would score two touchdowns in the final three minutes of the first half to take the lead and hold on for the win by a final score of 37-27.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers will hold a silent jersey auction this Saturday night during the American Conference championship to honor the passing of Green Bay Blizzard Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Kerry Brown. Proceeds from the silent auction will be given to the Kerry Brown Memorial Fund which was created by the Green Bay Blizzard to benefit Brown's three children. Pioneers fans can make bids on the Pioneers authentic game jerseys during the game and the individuals with the highest bids will be awarded their jerseys within a week after the ArenaCup championship on August 25, 2007. Additional donations may be made to the memorial fund by contacting the Blizzard front office at (920) 405-1264.
In 2007 the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers have had the ArenaCup on their minds from day one. The Pioneers opened their season on March 31st with a 50-36 win over the Manchester Wolves; the Pioneers would continue that winning streak for 13 games, the third longest regular season streak in af2 history. The Pioneers also topped the af2's weekly coaches poll for a record 14 straight weeks. There was little doubt through much of the regular season that the Pioneers were among the best in the league, but late in the season the dominant Pioneers seemed to stumble. Heading into the playoffs the Pioneers lost two of their final three regular season games; both losses came at the hands of teams that they had beaten earlier in the season. The Pioneers secured the top seed in the American Conference Playoffs regardless of their late season struggles, but their struggles would continue in week one of the postseason. The Pioneers barely defeated the number eight seeded Tri-Cities Fever in the first round of the playoffs. Tri-Cities led the game 54-49 for most of the fourth quarter, but the Pioneers would score with only 1:21 remaining in the game to go ahead 57-54. The Pioneers would hold on to their three point lead and advance to week two of the post season. In week two of the playoffs the Pioneers seemed to get back to midseason form as they dominated the Central Valley Coyotes from start to finish winning 70-53.
2007 American Conference Championship:
This week's trip to Wilkes-Barre marks the Blizzard's second consecutive trip to the American Conference Championship. In 2006 the Blizzard went south to take on the heavily favored Florida Firecats in the conference championship. The Blizzard defeated the Firecats 60-47 before going on to lose the 2006 ArenaCup in Puerto Rico to the Spokane Shock. If the Blizzard capture their second consecutive American Conference Championship and head to the 2007 ArenaCup, the Blizzard will be headed to Bossier City, Louisiana where the ArenaCup is being held.
For more information contact the Blizzard office at 920-405-1264.
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