NOTE: Use of this material is free provided credit is given to NPHL.com writer Chris Clegg. This material is embargoed until 11 a.m. MST March 6.
Game 1 of the NPHL Final marks the 100th meeting between DC and GP in their NPHL history [regular season and playoff history combined].
Overall, DC leads the series 50-49 so if GP wins Game 1 the teams will have split the first 100 games.
DC has a 27-23 record in games played in GP; but GP has a 26-23 record in games played in DC.
For everything else you need to know about the Grande Prairie vs Dawson Creek NPHL Final, including history, stats, analysis and prediction, continue to read.
NPHL Championship Final
Grande Prairie Athletics vs Dawson Creek Canucks
Playoff Series Schedule
Game 1 – Sat., March 9 – Grande Prairie at Dawson Creek
Game 2 – Tue., March 12 – Dawson Creek at Grande Prairie
Game 3 – Wed., March 13 – Grande Prairie at Dawson Creek
Game 4 – Sat., March 16 – Dawson Creek at Grande Prairie
*Game 5 – Tue., March 19 – Grande Prairie at Dawson Creek
*Game 6 – Thu., March 21 – Dawson Creek at Grande Prairie
*Game 7 – Sat., March 23 – Grande Prairie at Dawson Creek
* If necessary
NPHL Finals History – DC & GP
* This is DC’s fourth NPHL Final and first in 16 years since 2002-03. The last final DC played in was their third straight.
* DC is 2-1 in NPHL Finals.
– 2000-01 – DC lost to SR in 4 games.
– 2001-02 – DC defeated LAKE 4-1.
– 2002-03 – DC defeated SR 4-1.
* This is GP’s fifth NPHL Final and the first since 2014-15.
* GP is 1-4 in NPHL Finals. The title GP won in 2009-10 was in 5 games over LAKE, and the only final in NPHL history that was a best-of-five series.
– 2005-06 – GP lost to SR 4-2.
– 2008-09 – GP lost to FSJ 4-2.
– 2009-10 – GP defeated LAKE 3-2.
– 2011-12 – GP lost to FAL 4-3.
– 2014-15 – GP lost to SR 4-2.
DC & GP Playoff History
DC and GP have played in four series with GP winning twice, DC once, and both teams eliminated in the other series. In all, DC and GP have played 20 games. Following are some highlights:
* In 20 games played: GP has won 12 games; DC has won 8 games.
* In 10 games played in DC: GP has won 6 games; DC has won 4 games.
* In 10 games played in GP: GP has won 6 games; DC has won 4 games.
* The teams have played 4 overtime games: each team has won twice.
* In the 20 games played, GP has outscored DC 98-84.
Following is a series rundown:
2000-01 – DC vs GP [NPHL Semi-Final]
DC defeated GP in the best-of-seven series in six games. DC won Game 1 and stole home ice advantage in GP 7-6 in OT, then won at home 5-4 to take a 2-0 lead. GP thumped DC 9-1 in Game 3 but DC held home ice advantage with another 5-4 win in Game 4. Again, GP thumped DC 11-2 at home in Game 5 but DC won the series with a 9-3 win on home. DC, however, would get swept in the NPHL Final by Spirit River.
2009-10 – DC vs GP vs Hythe – West Preliminary Round-Robin
The 3 teams played a three-team round-robin with the first team to lose 4 games eliminated. The remaining two teams continued a best-of-seven series including games already played. Hythe [1-4] was eliminated while GP [4-0] and DC [2-3] advanced. GP led the series 2-0 based on a 7-6 OT win at home and a 6-4 win in DC. In Game 3, DC won 4-3 in OT at GP but GP rebounded for a triple OT win in DC to take a 3-1 series lead. DC won 7-2 in GP and 7-4 at home to force a deciding Game 7 in GP, which GP won 7-3. GP would advance to the NPHL Final where they would defeat the Lakeland Eagles in the best-of-five series 3-2 to win their only NPHL title.
2013-14 – DC vs GP – NPHL Quarter-Final
A series to remember! This series was all GP as they swept DC four straight games, but all games were decided by one goal and each one in regulation time. GP won 4-3 and 2-1 at home and 2-1 and 4-3 in DC. Overall, GP outscored DC 12-8. GP would advance to the NPHL Semi-Final where they suffered the same fate as DC, being swept 4 straight by Spirit River. Of note, this playoff season, SR swept FSJ, GP and Falher in the NPHL Final as they ran the table with a 12-0 record.
2017-18 – DC vs GP vs FSJ – NPHL Semi-Final
A double round-robin schedule was set up with the first team to clinch the series advancing to the NPHL Final. FSJ would win the series so DC and GP were both eliminated. An odd occurrence in the series occurred where GP was eliminated, and went to DC with a chance to eliminate DC and send FSJ to the NPHL Final without FSJ playing. GP won the game 7-6. Earlier in the series, GP won 6-2 in DC while DC won 5-3 in GP so the road team won all three games. FSJ advanced to the best-of-seven NPHL Final where they defeated Falher 4-1.
The Season Series – 2018-19
DC won 4 of the 6 games played, but two wins were in OT. DC won two of three games at home and two of three games in GP. DC outscored GP 26-25 in the 6 games. Three games were decided by one goal, one game by two goals and two games by three goals.
1. Thu., Nov. 8 – Grande Prairie 2 at Dawson Creek 3 [OT]
2. Thu., Nov. 29 – Grande Prairie 8 at Dawson Creek 5
3. Thu., Dec. 6 – Dawson Creek 6 at Grande Prairie 3
4. Thu., Jan. 3 – Dawson Creek 4 at Grande Prairie 3 [OT]
5. Thu., Jan. 17 – Dawson Creek 3 at Grande Prairie 5
6. Thu., Jan. 24 – Grande Prairie 4 at Dawson Creek 5
Regular Season Series History
DC and GP have met 79 times in NPHL regular season play: Here are some highlights of the series:
* Games in DC – 39 games played – GP has won 20 games, DC has won 19 games.
* Games in GP – 40 games played – DC has won 23 games; GP has won 17 games.
* Overall – 79 games played – DC has won 42 games; GP has won 37 games.
* In one of the great streaks in history in any sport, from Nov. 12, 2009 to Nov. 8, 2012 DC and GP played an incredible 12 straight one-goal games. GP won four of six in DC; the teams split the six games in GP. Overall, GP was 7-5 in the 12 games. And five of the games were decided in overtime and two more in a shootout.
* DC and GP have played 12 OT and/or SO games in their history. DC has a 9-3 record in the 12 games; DC is 4-2 at home and 5-1 in GP.
* The teams have been involved in 3 shutouts in their history:
– Jan. 27, 2000 – GP 0 at DC 15
– Jan. 7, 2006 – DC 0 at GP 9
– Feb. 7, 2006 – DC 0 at GP 16
* From Jan. 13, 2011 to Jan. 5, 2017, GP won 10 straight games in DC.
* DC won the first 10 meetings between the teams and outscored GP 81-25.
Regular Season Plus Playoff History
* Games Played: 99; DC has won 50; GP has won 49.
* Games Played in GP: DC has won 27; GP has won 23
* Games Played in DC: GP has won 26; DC has won 23.
Regular Season Stats Analysis
When all is said and done, and when you analyze the stats, these were the two best teams in the NPHL this season so it’s fitting they meet in the NPHL Final. DC led the NPHL in win percentage at .800 while GP was second at .725.
DC and GP led the NPHL in 19 of 28 stats categories, including the most important categories. More on that later.
These teams are evenly matched. DC won the race for first in the West by three points. DC won 4 of the 6 games played between the clubs, but two wins were in OT. DC won two of three games at home and two of three games in GP. DC outscored GP 26-25 in the 6 games. Three games were decided by one goal, one game by two goals and two games by three goals. And except for one game where GP scored eight goals and one game where DC scored six goals, each team scored from 2-5 goals in each game. As noted above, the teams have a long history of close games, and they played an incredible 12 straight one-goal games from Nov. 12, 2009 to Nov. 8, 2012.
DC led the NPHL in power play percentage, penalty killing percentage, shots on goal for per game, shots on goal against per game, shots on goal for and against per game, and DC was the least penalized team in the NPHL. That is very, very impressive.
Meanwhile, GP ranked fourth to sixth in each category except for shots on goal for per game where they ranked second.
One difference which could come into play is penalties. DC was third in the NPHL with +45 PIMs while GP was fifth at -67 PIMs. If that trend continues, GP’s PK units will have to excel.
DC led the league in scoring first in 65% of its games while GP was second so both teams start quickly. That quick start paid off as DC was first in the NPHL when scoring first at 13-0 while GP was 10-2 to rank second.
Surprisingly, both teams had losing records when allowing the first goal DC as 3-4 and GP 3-5. No matter what league, scoring first is vital.
The trend continues when DC and GP lead. After one period, DC was 9-0 and GP 10-0; after two periods DC was 14-0 and GP 11-2. When DC gets a lead, they lock it down. The have yet to lose the entire season – including playoffs – when leading after one or two periods, or scoring first.
But fall behind and the story changes. DC is 1-4 when trailing after one period and 2-3 when trailing after two, while GP is 3-4 when trailing after one period and 0-5 when trailing after two.
DC was strong throughout the season in period scoring. They ranked second in the first period at +10 goals, were tied for first in the second period at +23, and were second in the third period at +16.
Regular Season Stats Analysis Continued
GP definitely got stronger as the game progressed. They were +5 goals in the first period to rank fourth, +14 in the second period to rank fourth, but +33 in the third period to rank first. Does this mean GP can break DC’s run of third period success?
Both teams have proven they can come from behind in games. DC ranked second in the NPHL in winning 30% of its games [six wins] when trailing at one point, while GP was tied for third after winning 25% of its games [five games].
DC did not blow a lead all season long to lose a game, while GP did blow leads in 20% of its games. It means in five of their seven losses this season, GP actually held a lead.
GP was the most penalized team in the NPHL this season in terms of stick foul penalties at 4.60 PIMs per game while DC was second lowest at 2.60 PIMs per game.
Playoff Stats Analysis
GP is battle tested having defeated FSJ and FAL to reach the final, while MAN had a much easier road, earning a first round bye, the sweeping MAN.
With the easier road to the NPHL Final, DC has strong stats led by the top goalie, Kenton White and his 1.50 GAA. Kiefer Smiley, of GP, is second with a 3.40 GAA.
With only 4 games played, no DC player shows up in the Top 10 in scoring; in fact, Brett Norman ranks 17th in scoring with 7-2-9 points.
Dennis Rix leads GP with 5-9-14 points, good enough for seventh. Blake Clement is 9th.
In all, 33 players have recorded at least six points. GP has outstanding balance with 12 players recording at least six points; DC has only 3 players.
In a reverse to the regular season, DC’s PP has slipped to 6 of 7 teams in the playoffs at only 12.50%. GP is fourth with a 21.15% efficiency.
GP’s PK units were a major factor in their playoff wins over FSJ and FAL, GP is 83.13% to rank second while DC is ranked fourth at 80%. GP’s PK will have to continue to excel for them to win.
DC continues to rank first in shots on goal for per game [54.50] and shots on goal against [27.00] while GP ranks third in shots for [39.92] and second in shots against [32.64].
DC is also the second least penalized team in the playoffs with 14.50 PIMs per game while GP is fifth but over 9 minutes more per game at 23.64.
There is little difference in PIMs against, with DC ranks second at 19.75 PIMs per game while GP is 22.18 PIMs per game to rank fifth.
DC has proven they were the best team all season. GP is battle tested having defeated defending champion FSJ and FAL to reach the final while DC received a bye and defeated a much weaker opponent in Manning, no disrespect intended.
Despite the stats giving a clear advantage to DC, I view this as a pick ‘em series. Their history of close games should continue and a lucky bounce here or there could decide the title.
I think the series comes down to two factors: GP’s physical play will mean they will take penalties. The big questions is will DC score on the power play? DC did rank first in the NPHL this season.
So I went to the stats involving the two teams looking for an angle. In the six games this season, DC had 89 PIMs and GP 142 PIMs. However, in one game DC had 10 PIMs and GP 68 PIMs so in the other five games DC actually had more PIMs than GP.
In the six games between the clubs, DC was 12-for-37 on the PP for 32.43% but GP had only 26 power play chances; GP was 6-for-26 for 23.08%.
So I turned to shots on goal. DC outshot GP in four of the six games [they tied in another] and overall DC outshot GP 286-243. It is a difference of 7.17 shots on goal per game.
The bottom line: every stat proves DC is the better team. DC has home ice advantage. DC won two of three in GP this season. DC won two of three vs GP at home this season.
And in case you are wondering, home ice in the NPHL Final is only a slight advantage. The team with home ice advantage in the NPHL Final is 12-8 since in the last 20 years since 1998-99.
One final very odd statistic: in the last nine NPHL Finals starting in 2009-10, the team with home ice advantage has alternated winning and losing the final. This year, if the trend continues, GP will win.
Which brings me to my second factor: depth. GP is receiving scoring from several different players. It seems every night there is a new hero leading them to a win. GP does not need Dennis Rix or Blake Clement to score for them to win. I am not sure DC has the depth GP does. For that reason, I am going with an upset, if you can call it that.
PREDICTION: GP to win in 6 games.
Playoff Stats Package
[Ranking in Parenthesis]
Category Grande Prairie Dawson Creek
Record 8-3 4-0
Power Play 11-52, 21.15%  2-16, 12.50% 
Penalty Kill 14-83, 83.13%  3-15, 80% 
Shots For 39.82 per game  54.50 per game 
Shots Vs 32.64 per game  27.00 per game 
Shots For/Against +79  +110 
PIM For 23.64 per game  14.50 per game 
PIM Vs 22.18 per game  19.75 per game 
PIM For/Against -16  +21 
Regular Season Stats Package
[Ranking in Parenthesis]
Category Grande Prairie Dawson Creek
[Ranking in Parenthesis]
Record 13-4-3-0 [2-West] 16-4-0-0 [1-West]
Power Play 22-92, 23.91%  27-80, 33.75% 
Penalty Kill 29-115, 74.78%  14-74, 81.08% 
Shots For 44.80 per game  45.90 per game 
Shots Vs 37.75 per game  34.00 per game 
Shots For/Against +141  +238 
PIM For 28.15 per game  13.75 per game 
PIM Vs 24.80 per game  16.00 per game 
PIM For/Against -67  +45 
Scoring 1st 60.00%  65.00% 
Record Scoring 1st Goal 10-2  13-0 
Record Allow 1st Goal 3-5  3-4 
Lead After 1 Period 10-0  9-0 
Trail After 1 Period 3-4  1-4 
Lead After 2 Periods 11-2  14-0 
Trail After 2 Periods 0-5  2-3 
Goals Scored in 1st 1.65 per game  1.80 per game [T3]
Goals Scored in 2nd 1.85 per game  2.20 per game 
Goals Scored in 3rd 2.65 per game  1.85 per game 
Goals Allowed in 1st 1.40 per game  1.30 per game [T1]
Goals Allowed in 2nd 1.15 per game  1.05 per game 
Goals Allowed in 3rd 1.00 per game  1.05 per game 
Goal Diff in 1 +5  +10 
Goal Diff in 2 +14  +23 [T1]
Goal Diff in 3 +33  +16 
Come From Behind Wins 25.00% [T3] 30.00% 
Blown Leads 20.00%  0% 
Team Stick Fouls 4.60 PIM/Game  2.60 PIM/Game