Going into the final night of the regular season, Ferris State and Minnesota State are still tied at the top of the league standings.
Two teams — Michigan Tech and Bowling Green — are fighting for the No. 4 spot and a chance to host a first-round playoff series next weekend.
And finally, three teams — Northern Michigan, Bemidji State and Lake Superior State — are vying for two playoff spots.
Below are the best and worst case scenarios for nine of the league’s 10 teams. Numbers indicate a team’s seeding if the season ended today
Thanks again to Geof Morris of UAHhockey.com for staying up late with me and double checking my work. If you notice any mistakes or discrepancies, email me at email@example.com.
1. Minnesota State (40 points, 20-7-0 WCHA record)
For the Mavericks, it’s simple. A win clinches a least a share of the MacNaughton Cup, the WCHA regular season title. They’s also be the No. 1 seed.
Best case scenario: The Mavericks beat Michigan Tech on Senior Night and Ferris State loses at home to Lake Superior State. MSU then wins the MacNaughton Cup outright.
Worst case scenario: The Mavs lose tonight and Ferris beats LSSU. The Bulldogs then win the MacNaughton Cup outright and MSU is the No. 2 seed.
2. Ferris State (40, 19-6-2)
Same story for the Bulldogs. A win clinches a least a share of the MacNaughton Cup and the WCHA regular season title. If they remain tied with MSU, the Bulldogs get the No. 2 seed.
Best case scenario: The Bulldogs beat Lake Superior State on Senior Night and MSU loses at home to Tech. FSU then wins the MacNaughton Cup outright and is the No. 1 seed.
Worst case scenario: The Bulldogs lose tonight and MSU beats Tech. The Mavs then win the MacNaughton Cup outright and FSU is the No. 2 seed.
3. Alaska (30, 14-11-2)
The Nanooks have clinched a first-round, home-ice playoff series and the No. 3 seed in the WCHA playoffs with Friday night’s win over Alaska-Anchorage in Fairbanks. The Nanooks will host the No. 6 seed in a Thursday through Saturday best-of-three series next week. Like the Chargers, Alaska knows where it’s finishing.
Best case scenario: The Nanooks beat UAA to win the Governor’s Cup.
Worst case scenario: The Nanooks lose to UAA in regulation or overtime, forcing a shootout the Seawolves win. The Nanooks lose the Governor’s Cup, but they’re still in third.
4. Michigan Tech (28, 12-11-4)
The Huskies are currently tied with Bowling Green for the No. 4 seed in the WCHA, but own the head-to-head tiebreaker, having gone 2-1-1 against the Falcons.
Best case scenario: Tech can clinch a home-ice, first-round playoff series with a win over Minnesota State tonight.
Worst case scenario: If the Falcons gain one more point than Tech tonight, the Huskies are hitting the road for the WCHA playoffs. In the event of a three-way tie for fourth at 28 points between Tech, BGSU and UAA, the Huskies lose out, finishing sixth.
5. Bowling Green (28, 12-11-4)
The Falcons clinched a spot in the WCHA playoffs with a win at home over Bemidji State on Friday.
Best case scenario: As detailed above, if the Falcons get one more point than Michigan Tech tonight, they take the final home-ice spot. BGSU loses a two-way tie with Tech due to head-to-head, but beats the Huskies and UAA in a three-way tie that comes down to record vs. top seeded Minnesota State.
Worst case scenario: The lowest BGSU can finish at this point is fifth. In the event of a two-way tie with UAA for fifth, BGSU wins out due to the head-to-head tiebreaker.
6. Alaska-Anchorage (26, 11-12-4)
The Seawolves have clinched a playoff spot despite losing Friday in Fairbanks because of losses by Bemidji State and Lake Superior State.
Best case scenario: The highest UAA can finish is No. 6 because it doesn’t have the tiebreakers to beat either Tech or BGSU. A win locks up the No. 6 spot and another series in Fairbanks.
Worst case scenario: The Seawolves are swept by the Nanooks and LSSU beats Ferris State. The Lakers win the tiebreaker via conference wins and UAA finishes eighth. BSU can not catch UAA.
7. Northern Michigan (25, 12-14-1)
The scenario is still as simple as it was yesterday for Northern: win and you’re in.
Best case scenario: NMU wins and UAA loses or ties at Alaska. Then the Wildcats finish sixth and get to go to Alaska … that’s as good as it gets, unfortunately.
Worst case scenario: NMU loses at Alabama-Huntsville while the Beavers and Lakers win. Then the Wildcats’ season is over.
8. Bemidji State (24, 10-13-4)
A win does not get the Beavers in. They need help tonight to get into the playoffs because they would lose a four-way tiebreaker at 26 points with UAA, NMU and LSSU due to a lack of conference wins. BSU also loses a three-way tiebreaker with UAA and LSSU or NMU and LSSU. BSU wins a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Lakers, meaning if both lose, the Beavers get in.
Best case scenario: Beavers win while NMU and LSSU lose. That gets BSU to seventh.
Worst case scenario: Bemidji loses while the Lakers get either a tie or win. Then the Beavers are out.
9. Lake Superior State (24, 12-15-0)
Like Bemidji, a win doesn’t guarantee the Lakers a playoff spot. They need the most help.
Best case scenario: The Lakers can climb to sixth via a win and losses by NMU, UAA and BSU.
Worst case scenario: If the Lakers lose tonight at Ferris State, their season is over.