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Three things I learned from Atlantic Hockey this weekend:

Every point and (sometimes goal) mattered. Those wins that turned into ties late in the game? The ones that got away early in the season? That extra goal allowed in a game already lost? How close was it? Two points separated the first and fifth seeds.

In the third period of Saturday’s games, there were still three teams who could have captured the top seed. Air Force wound up clinching by defeating Robert Morris 3-0, but Niagara was six minutes and change away from sharing the regular season crown with the Falcons. They settled for a 2-2 tie at Rochester Institute of Technology, and that tie was the difference between third (and a first round bye) and fifth place for the Tigers. RIT, Mercyhurst and Holy Cross ended in a three-way tie for third, but the Tigers got the third seed and the Lakers the fourth based on tiebreakers.

– The first round playoff pairings feature all six East pod teams and two teams from the West:

No. 12 Army at No. 5 Holy Cross
No. 11 Sacred Heart at No. 6 Bentley
No. 10 AIC at No. 7 Robert Morris
No. 9 Canisius at No. 8. Connecticut

Just for fun, under last years’ playoff format, Air Force, Niagara, Holy Cross and Bentley would have gotten byes, with RIT, Mercyhurst, Connecticut and AIC hosting first round games (now series). That would have been a travesty.

 

Getting my vote

Here’s my ballot for Monday’s USCHO.com Division I Men’s poll:

1. Boston College
2. Minnesota-Duluth
3. Ferris State
4. Boston University
5. Minnesota
6. Michigan
7. Maine
8. Union
9. Cornell
10. Denver
11. Merrimack
12. Mass-Lowell
13. Miami
14. Western Michigan
15. North Dakota
16. Michigan State
17. Notre Dame
18. Northern Michigan
19. Ohio State
20. Air Force