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!