Saturday, March 2, 2013

Men's Hockey Playoff Possibilities

After a wild Friday night in the ECAC that saw Harvard knock off the top-ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats, the playoff picture has become a little clearer for the Crimson.

Remarkably, Harvard still has a chance to climb out of last place in the conference. The Crimson sit one point behind the Colgate Raiders and will finish 11th in either of the following scenarios:

1. Harvard wins, Colgate loses
2. Harvard wins, Colgate ties

Harvard will finish last, however, if:

1. Harvard loses
2. Colgate wins

If Colgate loses and Harvard ties, a complicated system of tiebreakers kicks in to determine which team receives the odious honor of twelfth place.

Regardless of Harvard's finish, possible first-round destinations are now down to four teams. Harvard could be travelling to Yale, Dartmouth, St. Lawrence, or Union next weekend. Yale currently sits in third place with 23 points, while the other three are tied at 22, with Dartmouth owning the three-way tiebreaker for the first-round bye. However, none of these four teams play each other in their final game, so the various combinations of final standings remain numerous. None of these teams can be caught for sixth place by Cornell or Clarkson, three points behind, should Harvard finish 11th. Quinnipiac and RPI have clinched byes.

Of the four possible opponents, Harvard has looked best against Dartmouth, losing a tight contest in Hanover 3-2 before tying at the Bright at 1 goal each. Harvard also has looked strong against St. Lawrence, dropping the home game 4-3 in overtime before wasting a solid first two periods in a 4-2 loss in Canton. Union and Yale swept the Crimson this season by combined scores of 10-3 and 9-1, respectively.

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