Getting shutout has a history of stopping you from moving up the standings. It was not a pretty night for the Engineers in Troy or Potsdam.
RPI has one way in and one way only. The ladies will need to beat St. Lawrence in Canton AND have Dartmouth lose at Yale AND have Colgate not beat Quinnipiac to make the playoffs.
A tie with Dartmouth would be lost on season series (Dartmouth swept the season series). A tie with Colgate would be lost on ECAC wins (7-6 or 8-7) since they split the season series. A three-way tie with Dartmouth and Colgate would give Dartmouth 8th place and the Colgate-RPI tie would be broken as just stated.
The rest of the league...
Clarkson (34 points) was the only one of the top 3 teams to win. That moves them from a tie for 2nd with Harvard (that they were likely going to lose) to 1st by themselves and in control of their destiny. A win this afternoon against Union at home gives them the regular season title and the 1 seed.
Harvard (33 points) drew in New Haven. They are still in a tie for 2nd. They hold the tiebreaker over Cornell by season series victory. They head to Providence with a chance for 1st and guaranteed 2nd with a win.
Cornell (33 points) lost at home to Quinnipiac. They dropped from 1st by themselves to a tie for 2nd. They lose a tiebreaker against Harvard. They'll face Princeton and could still be the 3 seed with a win.
Quinnipiac (27 points) got the win they needed over Cornell and is in control of their own destiny for the 4th and final home-ice spot.
St. Lawrence (25 points) tallied the easy win over Union, but is still two points back of the Bobcats. They need a win and a loss by Quinnipiac to move into 4th. Otherwise, they'll be headed to Hamden, CT next week.
Princeton (21 points) did not get the win at Colgate, but did lock up the 6 seed with Harvard's comeback from down 3-1 tonight.
Yale (19 points) drew against Harvard, locking themselves into 7th place. They have nothing left to play for when Dartmouth comes into the Whale.
Dartmouth (15 points) took care of business in Providence and will look to clinch their spot in the playoffs this afternoon at Yale. They hold the tiebreaker over both RPI and Colgate, meaning even a tie gets them through.
Colgate (14 points) kept themselves alive by beating Princeton, but will need some help to advance to the playoffs. They need to beat Quinnipiac and have Dartmouth lose at Yale (who has nothing to play for) to move up into 8th. They do hold the tiebreaker against RPI
Brown (9 points) and Union (8 points) remain out of contention for a playoff spot.
Harvard-Clarkson: Now it is guaranteed to be a Harvard win. They split the season series, Harvard currently trails by one point, and they have an equal number of ECAC wins. If Harvard wins and Clarkson ties, then Harvard will win on ECAC wins (16-15). If Harvard ties and Clarkson loses, then Harvard will win on Record vs Top 4. Harvard scored more points against Cornell and they each scored equal numbers of points against Quinnipiac and St. Lawrence (the two potential teams for the 4th seed).
Clarkson-Cornell: Cornell if Cornell wins and Clarkson ties based on ECAC wins (16-15). Clarkson if Cornell ties and Clarkson loses based on Record vs Top 4.
Harvard-Cornell: Harvard win by season series victory.
St. Lawrence-Quinnipiac: St. Lawrence by season series victory
Princeton-Yale: Princeton by ECAC wins (9-7)
Dartmouth-Colgate: Dartmouth swept the season series
Colgate-RPI: Colgate by ECAC wins (7-6 or 8-7)
Harvard-Clarkson-Cornell: Harvard win by season series victory. Clarkson vs Cornell would go down to whether it was a tie at 34 points (Clarkson takes second) or 35 points (Cornell would be the 2 seed).
Dartmouth-Colgate-RPI: Dartmouth takes 8th by having swept both season series. Colgate would take 9th by virtue of ECAC wins.
RPI has made it difficult for themselves, falling back off the pace for a bye and getting drawn into the fight around 8th place.
They won't win the tiebreaker against Clarkson, so they don't control their destiny higher than 7th, but they're still mathematically alive all the way up to 4th or down to 11th without any ties.
Best case scenario after tonight's games with an RPI...:
WIN! - RPI will sit in a tie for 6th. They could be within a point of Yale and 2 points of Cornell, so within a game of a bye position. They could also be 4 points clear of 8th place
Tie - RPI would sit in 7th. There would be one point between each of Cornell (4th), Yale, Clarkson, and RPI, so the Engineers would still be mathematically alive for the bye position. They could be as many as 3 points clear of 8th.
Loss - 7th place and out of contention for a bye. They'd still be within striking distance of Cornell and Yale, enabling the possibility of a 5th place finish, but 3 and 4 points back of Yale and Cornell would make it a tough climb. They could be two points clear of Brown / Harvard / St. Lawrence.
Worst case scenario:
RPI wins - tied for 6th, but find themselves four points behind a bye position and three points behind 5th. Basically, there would be almost no opportunity to move up with just one weekend left. Things would also look grim behind them, St. Lawrence and Brown could both be within three points.
Tie - sole possession of 7th, but with no chance of anything better than sixth and that would require getting 3 more points than Clarkson in the final weekend while the Knights have Princeton at home. There's also the potential that St. Lawrence would be just one point back and Brown just two, leaving the possibility of opening on the road very real.
Lose - Could fall down to a tie for 7th with St. Lawrence. That tiebreaker is a mess that I'll deal with in a moment. 7th would be the highest possible finish, Brown in 9th would be just one point back and they could still fall all the way to 11th.
The rest of the league...
Union (31 points) has clinched at least a share of the Cleary Cup and appears to be running away with the league title. They haven't clinched the #1 seed, but their magic number is just 1.
Quinnipiac (25 points) currently has the tiebreaker over Colgate, but that will be decided tonight. They split the season series with Union and won't catch them in ECAC wins, so they won't be the #1 seed and can still fall all the way to 6th.
Colgate (25 points) is the only team with a chance to catch the Dutchmen. They can also fall to 6th place if things fall apart.
Cornell (22 points) beat Quinnipiac to bolster their chances of a bye. They're firmly in control of their own destiny for the final bye spot, but they can drop to 7th place with the wrong combination of results. St. Lawrence can't win a tiebreaker with the Big Red, so Cornell can't finish in 8th.
Yale (21 points) stayed in contention for the bye with their win over Harvard, but they can't control how far they'll move up. They can finish in 2nd by themselves and they'd win a tiebreaker against Colgate, so they're rooting for the Raiders tonight against Quinnipiac. They'd lose the tiebreaker to Brown on ECAC wins if they fell that far, so the Elis could still be on the road in the first round.
Clarkson (20 points) dropped the ball against Union, extremely damaging their chances of a bye. They can no longer finish in second place, but they can get up to the 3 seed by themselves or by beating Quinnipiac in a tiebreaker. The Knights can still start the playoffs on the road by finishing in 9th.
St. Lawrence (16 points) have had an up-and-down season and will definitely be playing in the first round. They also have games remaining against Union and Quinnipiac, the current 1 and 2 seeds, leaving them with a difficult path up the table. The Saints can still finish as low as 11th.
Brown (15 points) gave up the game-winner in OT to drop to 1-5 in their last six and finalize the fact that they'll be playing in Round 1. They can catch Yale and would win a tiebreaker, so they can finish in 5th, but they don't control their own destiny for anywhere except 9th. They can finish as low as 11th.
Harvard (14 points) still has hopes of finishing in 6th based on a three-way tie between themselves, Clarkson, and RPI, but that's a pretty specific set of game results to bank on. They can be caught by Princeton, but would win any tiebreaker that involves the tiebreaker, so their floor is also 11th.
Dartmouth (13 points) can climb past the Engineers for 7th, but could also be caught by Princeton so they're the only other team that can finish in 12th.
Princeton (8 points) is assured to be 11th or 12th at season's end.
Known Tiebreakers (winning team listed first):
Union-Quinnipiac: ECAC wins
Clarkson-Quinnipiac: ECAC wins
Clarkson-Cornell: ECAC wins
Clarkson-RPI: H2H or ECAC wins
Clarkson-Harvard: ECAC wins
RPI-SLU: ECAC wins or Record vs Top 4
RPI-Brown: H2H or ECAC wins
SLU-Dartmouth: ECAC wins or Record vs Top 4
Brown-Yale: ECAC wins
Brown-Harvard: H2H or ECAC wins
Quinnipiac-Colgate: Quinnipiac by H2H if they don't lose tonight. Otherwise, down the rabbit hole we go
Quinnipiac-Cornell: Season split. Could easily be a tie on ECAC wins. Quinnipiac has the early lead in Record vs Top 4, but no guarantee.
Yale-Clarkson: Season split. Clarkson is leading on ECAC wins, but could tie all three of their remaining games to make that 10 vs 10 if Yale goes exactly 1-2-0. Yale swept Colgate, which gives them the early lead on Record vs Top 4, but no guarantee that the Raiders end up with a bye.
Yale-RPI: Yale won in Troy, but they still have to play next weekend. If Yale goes 0-2-1 and RPI goes 2-1-0 with one of those wins being next Saturday at the Whale, it goes to Record vs Top 4. RPI's in the lead there with a point against QU and three each against Colgate and Cornell, but Yale's already tallied five against the Bobcats and Raiders, so it will be a close fight.
Brown-Dartmouth: Season split and currently even on ties. Brown earned splits against both Quinnipiac and Colgate, but either could be outside of the Top 4 and Dartmouth has a chance to earn another two points against Colgate, Cornell, and Yale.
Harvard-Dartmouth: Season split. Dartmouth has the lead on ECAC wins and this would only go to Record vs Top 4 if they go 0-0-3 for the rest of the way. Neither team has a pretty record against teams in the upper half of the standings, so that will be a tough call if it gets that far.
Dartmouth-Princeton: Season split. Princeton will win on ECAC wins if it's a tie at 14 points. If it's a tie at 13, then Princeton has the early lead with a split against Quinnipiac, but no guarantees there.