The top two teams at the end of the regular season schedule will meet in the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League final.

The defending champion Ste. Anne Aces host the Warren Mercs Saturday night in game one of their best-of-seven series.

"This is something kind of what we expected from the regular season and obviously it was pretty intense matchups we had," said Aces coach Kevin Lansard. "We expect to be very physical, and we'll try to play as fast as we can."

Ste. Anne finished in first place with a 14-4 record.

Warren was next at 13-5.

Both teams are solid from goaltender out.

"I think we're just going to focus on our game plan," answered coach Lansard when asked what the key is against a very talented Mercs squad. "We know their strengths. They really like to play physical, so we'll just focus on what we need to do. We'll play fast and do what we've been doing all season that has made us successful."

Ste. Anne swept the Winkler Royals in round two.

Warren rallied from an 0-2 series deficit and eliminated Morden in the semifinals.

The Mercs defeated the Bombers 7-3 in the deciding fifth game Tuesday night in Warren and punched their ticket to the SEMHL final against the Aces.

"The guys are pretty excited about it," said coach Gerry Minaker. "If you take in the last five years, the final is not an uncommon place for the Mercs."

Warren swept the Notre Dame Hawks in the final two years ago.

Ste. Anne won four straight after losing the first three games to Morden in last year's memorable final. 

Coach Minaker is expecting a tough series with the defending champion Aces. 

"They have a lineup that is top to bottom very deep and we're going to have to give it our very best effort and be cautious of where they attack us on the ice. I think game one will be kind of a feel out period to see where we're at. We had two very good games with them during the regular season. They beat us by a goal in their barn and we beat them by a goal in our barn. We're going to give it our best effort."

SEMHL finals schedule:
Game 1 - Warren @ Ste Anne - Saturday, March 16 - 8 pm
Game 2 - Ste Anne @ Warren - Monday, March 18 - 8 pm
Game 3 - Warren @ Ste Anne - Wednesday, March 20 - 8 pm
Game 4 - Ste Anne @ Warren - Saturday, March 23 - 8 pm
Game 5 - Warren @ Ste Anne - Sunday, March 24 - 8 pm (if necessary)
Game 6 - Ste Anne @ Warren - Tuesday, March 26 - 8 pm (if necessary)
Game 7 - Warren @ Ste Anne - Thursday, March 28 - 8 pm (if necessary)