Saturday, February 11, 2012

Where We Stand

Following last night's 4-2 loss to Harvard, there are three games left in the women's hockey season. The Engineers face Dartmouth this afternoon in Troy, and travel to Princeton and Quinnipiac next weekend to finish the season.

RPI (5-12-2 ECAC) sits in a three-way tie for 8th with Brown (4-11-4) and Colgate (5-12-2). The Bears and Raiders play each other this afternoon in Providence.

The Engineers lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Bears due to an 0-1-1 record against Brown this season. As we will shortly see, RPI cannot realistically make the playoffs in any way, shape, or form if they have the same number of points as the Bears.

The tiebreaker with Colgate is unknown. The teams split the season series and have the same number of league wins, so it goes to the record against Top 4 teams. Both teams have lost all of their games against Top 4 and potential Top 4 teams, though both have games remaining (Dartmouth at RPI today, St. Lawrence/Clarkson at Colgate next week). If neither team picks up a point in those three remaining games, the tiebreak moves to Top 8, which is also in the air because all three of both teams remaining games are against Top 8 teams (with the possible exception of Colgate at Brown today).

The three-way tie will not settle out until this afternoon's Brown-Colgate game, but the Engineers will not win it. RPI has a 1-2-1 record against the sides for 3 points, Brown and Colgate also have a total of three points going into their game, so the winner of that game will win the three-way tiebreak, or a tie would have both of them dropping RPI into 10th.

Thus, in order for the Engineers to be in playoff position following this afternoon's game, they must beat Dartmouth and see Brown and Colgate tie (or at worst, Colgate win). A loss or tie with Dartmouth is guaranteed to push the Engineers into 9th or 10th (the lowest position they can finish).

RPI can technically finish as high as seventh place, but this would require a sweep of the remaining three games and for Princeton to lose to St. Lawrence and Union as well. The Engineers would then win a tiebreak with the Tigers for 7th place. The only way RPI can win a tiebreak with Brown is in a three-way tiebreak with Princeton (which would require Brown to run the table as well). The Engineers would also win a three-way tie-break with Princeton and Colgate.

On the other side of the table, Cornell (17-2-0) is in first place by five points, and can clinch the #1 seed with a win or tie over last-place Yale this afternoon. The #8 seed would then travel to Ithaca in two weeks.

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