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With just three weeks left in the regular season, it’s time to start some serious scoreboard watching. I’ll be using this space over the coming weeks to break down each team’s playoff possibilities.

RIT – The Tigers can clinch the regular season title with three wins in their last five games. Two wins will be enough to earn a first-round bye. Still, RIT can finish as low as sixth if the Tigers go 0-5 the rest of the way.

Robert Morris – The Colonials do not control their own destiny in terms of a bye but can lock up home ice in the first round by winning four of their last five games.

Niagara – The Purple Eagles control their own destiny for a bye – but they need to win out to clinch without any help.

Air Force – See Niagara. Same thing for the Falcons. Win out and they get a bye. They play Niagara this weekend so something’s gotta give.

Holy Cross – Four wins in their last six games will lock up a first round bye for the Crusaders.

Mercyhurst – The Lakers need five wins in their final six games to clinch a home playoff game.

Canisius – As the bottom team in the West pod, the Griffs need some help to avoid traveling in the first round of the playoffs. Getting a win or two against RIT this weekend will be a step in the right direction. Anything less than a sweep will mathematically eliminate Canisius from the AHA regular season title.

Army, Bentley, Connecticut – One of these teams will get a bye in the first round. Bentley and UConn control their own destinies in this regard.

American International and Sacred Heart – Both need to win out to assure themselves a home playoff game in the first round.

The cloudy crystal ball will be clearer in a week.

USCHO.com AHA Player of the Week:

Cory Conacher, Canisius (Senior, Forward, Burlington, Ontario) – Conacher had four of his teams’ six goals last weekend, helping them to a split with Robert Morris. He had a hat-trick including the game winner on Thursday. He’s now the all-time leading scorer at Canisius with 135 points and counting.

Honorables:

Kyle Fletcher, Holy Cross – The sophomore had a whopping eight points last weekend to lead the Crusaders to a sweep of AIC. He had five points on Saturday, including a pair of goals.

Ryan Zapolski, Mercyhurst – Zapolski had a fantastic weekend to lead his team to a sweep of Niagara. He stopped 86 shots on the weekend, including 43 in a shutout on Saturday.

Michael Penny, AIC – The junior had a five-point weekend in a losing effort against Holy Cross. He’s second on the team in point with ten goals and 19 points.

Cody Omilusik, Army – Omilusik had a natural hat-trick on Saturday, the first for a Black Knight in over nine years, to help his team to a split with Connecticut.

Scott Pitt, Mercyhurst – The senior scored four goals and added an assist to help the Lakers to a sweep of Niagara. Pitt leads the team with 12 goals and 29 points.

Ben Ketchum, Sacred Heart – Ketchum had three goals and three assists last weekend as the Pioneers earned a split, including their first road win of the season, against Bentley.

Getting My Vote

My USCHO.com Men’s D-I Poll ballot this week:
1. Boston College
2. Yale
3. Duluth
4. Denver
5. North Dakota
6. UNH
7. Miami
8. Merrimack
9. Union
10. RPI
11. Wisconsin
12. Michigan
13. Notre Dame
14. Western Michigan
15. UNO
16. Boston University
17. Colorado College
18. Dartmouth
19. Maine
20. RIT

  • Smussey

    No one seems to agree with you on Miami. And Wisconsin at number 11 with 19 wins? What are you thinking?

  • Css228

    Not ranking Cornell after the 7-1-2 tear they’re on?

  • Anonymous

    If Wisconsin is gonna sweep, they are going to have to do it in an extremely hostile environment. They are going to be playing in front of upwards of 16,000 on Friday night and 10,000 plus on Saturday night as well. This, in arena that not only serves beer but has a ginormous full service bar at one end of the arena that has a sweeping full view of the ice. A place that nobody on their team has ever even so much as seen before.

    Further, Wisconsin has exactly ONE win all season against a team with a winning record, January 15th against Minnesota-Duluth. So, you expect them to all of a sudden reverse that trend in one of the more hostile situations they are likely gonna face all year? They better hope THEY don’t get swept.

    • Goalie Fan30

      Ya I have to agree! This is not an easy sweep and it could definetly go the other way in favor of UNO. Should be a great series but I see a split either way….

      • hockeytimeincapitalcity

        Wisco is not afraid of an environment like UNO’s. They play in filled venues all the time. UW was a different team when they played NoDak, Denver, and UMD early in the year. Now Wisconsin is playing very well. Schultz and Gardiner might be the best scoring defenseman duo in the country and Gudmandson might be the best goalie in the country right now. That said, it’s a conference game and UW hasn’t seen much of UNO.

  • Marmoset2

    UW sweep of UNO? Unfortunately, UNO spoiled that prediction by winning 4-1 tonight. UNO sweep of UW????

    • Anonymous

      An interesting aside to this is that UNO won with it’s best player sitting on the bench. Supposedly, Terry Broadhurst slipped and fell on his way to class the other day and they don’t know how long he’s gonna be out.

  • Anonymous

    Shucks, we only managed to get 15,137 into the building tonight for the Badger beat-down.

    Having attended the game, considering Wisky’s record against team’s with winning records this year, I can say I wasn’t terribly surprised by the outcome. I consider it insulting that the Omaha World Herald’s headline tonight says “Mav’s upset #7 Badgers”. This, despite the fact that Wisconsin has NEVER been ahead of UNO in the conference standings the entire season!!! By the way, in UNO’s various games/series, all in the last 365 days, against Michigan, Miami of Ohio, Notre Dame, North Dakota, and Minnesota, their record is 9-5-0.

    A more appropriate headline would have been, “Badger woes against teams with winning records continues”.

    It was pretty obvious, even at a casual glance, that UNO is a better skating team than Wisconsin. I’m sure we’ll see a better effort out of Wisconsin tomorrow night, but, no matter what happens, they are leaving town STILL behind UNO in the standings.

    • Anonymous

      Wisconsin was higher the in the league standings then UNO. That was the weekend that UNO played UAH. If Wisconsin would have won tonight they would be tied with UNO at 26 points.

  • Fred

    UNO looked better than Wisconsin on Fri. night. The Wisc. fan next to said so halfway through the game and he was quite impressed with UNO. And they did it without Terry Broadhurst, who slipped on some ice going to class (!–yes, I know, these are not football players). Broadhurst has been scoring over one point per game this season. He won’t play on Sat. and the coaches didn’t say what was the injury, but he was at the game, limping.

    One hallmark of UNO this season is balanced scoring. Again, four different players got goals on Friday.

  • Jdorf40

    I can’t believe Theresa Spisek still has a job.