Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Where We Stand (20 Feb)

Steven Burek, our new season reset cruncher, is laid up with a skiing injury, so I'm going to do my best to lay out the situation as it currently exists for RPI and the ECAC in general.

There are two games remaining in the season for most teams. Harvard and Yale have three games left, they play the final game of the season on Tuesday.

RPI (8-10-2) will finish in 7th place, as they are 6 points behind Dartmouth for 6th and 6 points ahead of Princeton in 8th. They will face the 2nd place team in the quarterfinals.

Harvard (16-2-1) and Cornell (16-3-1) are tied for first place, although the Crimson have the game in hand. They play each other on Saturday. These teams, with Clarkson (16-4-0) will finish in some order of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and will host quarterfinal matchups. Harvard and Clarkson play each other on Saturday.

Tiebreakers are all up in the air right now due to a likely requirement of Top 4 record (and the ambiguity as to who the 4th place team will be). Clarkson has a possible edge on the second tiebreaker, ECAC wins, due to their lack of ties.

The battle for the 4th and final home playoff spot is between St. Lawrence (12-5-3), Quinnipiac (11-6-3), and Dartmouth (10-6-4). These teams will finish in the 4th, 5th, and 6th positions in some order, which means two of them will play each other in the quarterfinals, while the other faces the 3rd place team. St. Lawrence can clinch 4th place on Friday with a win and a Quinnipiac loss or tie. St. Lawrence and Dartmouth play each other on Saturday.

Quinnipiac owns the tiebreaker with St. Lawrence, Dartmouth would likely win the tiebreaker with Quinnipiac on Top 4 record, and Dartmouth is currently losing the tiebreaker with St. Lawrence.

The battle for the 8th and final playoff position is between Princeton (5-13-2), Colgate (4-13-3), Brown (5-15-0), and Yale (3-13-3). The team that comes out on top gets a one-way ticket to the rink of the regular season champion. Princeton takes on Brown and Yale this weekend. Colgate owns the tiebreaker with the Tigers.

Princeton can clinch the 8th seed on Friday with a win over Brown AND a Colgate loss to Union AND a Yale loss to Quinnipiac.

Union (0-16-4) will finish in last place for the 9th time in 10 seasons.

There are four games remaining in the regular season.

RPI (9-6-3) is in sole possession of second place. They cannot finish in 1st, 11th, or 12th.

Relevant tiebreakers for Friday night (presumes loss or tie with Cornell):
Wins the tiebreaker with St. Lawrence on season series (2-0)
Loses the tiebreaker with Union on season series (0-4)
Wins the tiebreaker with Dartmouth (record against Top 4)
Wins the tiebreaker with Yale on season series (4-0)
SLU/Union: Union, RPI, SLU
SLU/Yale: RPI, Yale, SLU
SLU/Dartmouth: RPI, Dartmouth, SLU
Union/Yale: Union, RPI, Yale
Union/Dartmouth: Dartmouth, Union, RPI
Dartmouth/Yale: RPI, Yale, Dartmouth
SLU/Union/Yale: Union, RPI, Yale, SLU
SLU/Union/Dartmouth: Union, Dartmouth, RPI, SLU
SLU/Union/Dartmouth/Yale: Union, RPI, Yale, SLU, Dartmouth

Friday night rooting interests: Brown over Princeton, Clarkson over Dartmouth, Harvard over St. Lawrence, Colgate over Union, Quinnipiac over Yale.

The best case scenario for RPI after Friday is 2nd place, three points ahead of St. Lawrence and Union, with a magic number of five to clinch the spot. The worst case scenario is a three way tie for third with Union and Dartmouth, which would leave the Engineers in the 5th position via tiebreaker.

The best case scenario for RPI after Saturday (before Friday's games are played) is 2nd place, four points ahead of either St. Lawrence or Dartmouth, with a magic number of one to clinch the spot. They cannot clinch 2nd place this weekend because St. Lawrence and Dartmouth play each other on Saturday night.

Quinnipiac (15-1-2) has clinched 1st place. They will host the lowest remaining seed in the ECAC quarterfinals.

RPI and St. Lawrence both control their own fate for 2nd place. Union controls their own fate for 3rd place.

Dartmouth, Yale, Princeton, and Clarkson all control their home-ice destinies.

Harvard is mathematically eliminated from contention for the first-round bye, and functionally eliminated from home ice in the first round. Brown, Colgate, and Cornell are functionally eliminated for the first-round bye.

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