With one game to go, things are looking much clearer in ECAC Hockey. Here’s how things are shaking out. (Current standings are listed here.)
First-Round Byes are Set
• Yale has clinched the No. 1 seed in the tournament and at least a share of the Cleary Cup.
• Cornell has secured the second seed and has a shot at sharing the regular-season crown.
• Union is locked into third place.
• Colgate earned the final first-round bye in defeating Rensselaer, and St. Lawrence falling to Dartmouth.
Hunt for Home Ice
• Rensselaer is playing for fifth place, but can’t fall far – sixth is the worst-case scenario for the Engineers, who own the tiebreaker over current No. 7 Quinnipiac.
• St. Lawrence can jump Rensselaer for fifth, and holds the tiebreaker over both RPI – which is a point ahead – and Quinnipiac, which is a point back. Seventh is the basement for the Saints at this point in time.
• Quinnipiac can only improve on its seventh seed, holding a three-point lead over eighth-place Harvard. There’s not much room for improvement, though: sixth is the ceiling.
• On the other hand, Harvard – with 17 points – is desperately fighting off Princeton, Brown, and now Dartmouth, who each lurk a point back, for the final home-ice spot in the first round.
Scratching and Clawing
• Brown and Princeton are joined by Dartmouth with 16 points. They may all end up in the ninth-11th spots, but they each have an opportunity to advance to a home-ice slot as well. More on this group in a moment.
• Clarkson is doomed to finish last in the charts.
Making Sense of Big Messes
• If Cornell wins and Yale loses, Yale takes the top seed but the programs share the title of co-champions.
• If Quinnipiac wins, St. Lawrence ties and Rensselaer loses – knotting the lot at 22 points – the Engineers will take the No. 5 spot by virtue of it’s five points (two wins and a tie) against the other two. QU would take sixth (two wins, four points) with SLU falling to seventh (1-2-1 record against the two).
The Quest for Eighth
• If Princeton and Brown tie, and Harvard loses, those three will each have 17 points. Bruno would climb into that coveted eight-spot with a 2-1-1 record against the other two, followed by the Tigers (1-1-2) and Crimson (1-2-1).
• If Harvard ties, Princeton wins and Dartmouth wins – 18 points each – the Tigers climb to the top with the 3-0-1 applicable record. Harvard (2-1-1) finishes ninth and the Big Green (0-4-0) tenth.
• Still going: if Harvard ties, Brown wins and Dartmouth wins – again, 18 each – the Crimson get to stay at home with the 3-1-0 record. The Bears and Big Green each went 1-2-1 against this mini-field, but Dartmouth won the head-to-head, clinching ninth.
The Grand Finale
• If Harvard loses and Brown, Princeton and Dartmouth all tie, it’s a four-team cluster with 17 points. The Tigers get the nod for eighth with a 3-1-2 record in this fray, followed by the Crimson (3-2-1), Bears (2-2-2) and Green (1-4-1).
I hope I haven’t missed anything, but knowing me – and the state of this wild league – it’s entirely possible. Good luck and good hockey to all!