More spots clinched, more spots up for grabs. Let’s take a look at what was clinched last night and what could happen tonight:
What Was Clinched Last Night:
-Canisius clinched the #2 seed by beating Air Force, 4-1. They now have a three point lead over third-place Bentley, who lost to Sacred Heart on Thursday.
-RIT defeated Mercyhurst to tie those two teams up with 31 points for the final second round home series slot. RIT’s win, coupled with Air Force’s loss, clinched a first round bye for both of those teams.
-AIC’s win over Army did not clinch them the #10 seed because Niagara went out and beat first place Robert Morris, 2-1. Welcome to the Atlantic Hockey stretch run.
Updated Standings (by points)
1-x) Robert Morris – 40 points
2-x) Canisius – 36
3) Bentley – 33
T-4) RIT – 31 (currently wins head-to-head tiebreaker)
T-4) Mercyhurst – 31
5) RIT or Mercyhurst
T-6) Air Force – 27
T-6) Holy Cross – 27
8-x) Sacred Heart – 26
9-x) Army – 18
10) AIC – 15
11) Niagara – 14
The Race for 3rd-5th (Bentley, Mercyhurst, RIT):
If Bentley wins or ties (at home vs. Holy Cross) and RIT wins – the Falcons are the #3 seed, and the Lakers play at the Tigers in the quarterfinals round of the playoffs.
If Bentley wins or ties and Mercyhurst wins – Bentley is still the #3 seed, but RIT goes to Mercyhurst because of the second level tie breaker (head-to-head conference wins). Mercyhurst enters tonight with 14 conference wins compared to 13 for RIT. If the Lakers win, they’re at home in two weeks.
If Bentley loses and RIT wins – RIT is the #3 seed. The Tigers and Falcons split and would both finish with 14 conference wins. The third level tiebreaker is goal differential in head-to-head contests, which the Tigers win by losing 2-1 and winning 5-2 (-1 + 3 = +2 in favor of RIT). Mercyhurst goes to Bentley in two weeks.
If Bentley loses and RIT/Mercyhurst tie – Bentley remains the #3 seed and Mercyhurst goes to RIT next week by losing the head-to-head tiebreaker.
If Bentley loses and Mercyhurst wins – Bentley finishes as the #3 seed by virtue of their 3-0-1 finish against the Lakers this season. RIT goes to Mercyhurst in two weeks.
The Race for 6th (Air Force, Holy Cross):
Since this is only a two-horse race, the head-to-head comparison is pretty easy. They’re both tied for sixth in the standings. If Air Force wins or ties and Holy Cross loses, the Falcons finish sixth. If the Crusaders win or tie and Air Force loses to Canisius, Holy Cross finishes sixth.
If they tie in the standings, however, Holy Cross wins the tiebreaker. Back at the beginning of January, the Crusaders tied the Falcons, 1-1, before defeating them, 3-1.
This will have a huge impact on the race for 10th place because one team is going to Holy Cross and one team is going to Air Force.
The Race of 10th (AIC, Niagara):
AIC has a one point lead over Niagara for the race for 10th. If AIC gets a single point in their game at Army, they clinch 10th position. If they tie and Niagara beats Robert Morris, the teams would tie, but AIC holds the tiebreaker scenario by virtue of their two game sweep (4-1, 4-2) back in October.
The only way Niagara can pass AIC is with a win over Robert Morris AND an AIC loss to Army.
The Playoff Matchups (as of Saturday)
#1 Robert Morris vs. Lowest Remaining Seed
#2 Canisius vs. 2nd Lowest Remaining Seed
#3 Bentley vs. Best Remaining First Round Winner
#4 RIT vs. #5 Mercyhurst
#11 Niagara at #6 Air Force/Holy Cross winner
#10 AIC at #7 Air Force/Holy Cross loser
#9 Army #8 Sacred Heart