Championship week in girls’s school hockey started in earnest on Tuesday night time with Playoff UConn pushing Northeastern to the brink earlier than falling 2-1 on a late shorthanded purpose and inflicting agita for a wide range of groups on the bubble praying that Tourney lock Northeastern takes Hockey East’s automated bid.
There are simply eight video games left within the season, and whereas the sector is generally fairly clear, there may be nonetheless quite a bit that can should be settled.
We’ll begin with the simple stuff. The highest 4 groups are just about set. Wisconsin, Ohio State, Northeastern, and Minnesota all have resumes that they need to be within the event, no questions requested.
There’s some dialogue as a result of Minnesota Duluth edged forward of Ohio State and Minnesota within the uncooked WCHA league standings, however while you think about energy of schedule with principally any kind of laptop rating, Minnesota Duluth finishes a distant fourth within the WCHA.
Our different given is that School Hockey America will obtain one bid. Penn State is near at-large bid territory, but when they don’t win their league’s event this weekend, they virtually actually gained’t get in.
That leaves probably as many as three bids for at-large groups nonetheless on the market. That quantity shrinks, after all, if anyone exterior of the top-eight wins their convention event.
Proper now, there are doubtless three groups which might be probably viable candidates to obtain these at-large bids: Minnesota Duluth(ought to they not get an automated bid), Colgate(ought to they not get an automated bid), and Boston School(they didn’t get an automated bid). Clarkson was on the cusp of being on this group, however until they win the ECAC Match, they’ll have a sub-.500 report.
If every thing goes based on chalk, the sector is pretty easy. Colgate will get in with an automated bid, Minnesota Duluth and Boston School are at-large bids.
If Windfall upsets Northeastern within the Hockey East championship, or certainly one of Clarkson, St. Lawrence, or Quinnipiac wins the ECAC(and all three of these groups has a win over Colgate this season), then the way in which through which one ranks these three groups turns into critically necessary as a result of any individual is getting left at house.
Grant Salzano tried to reply that query in a means that I hoped to till I remembered that I barely handed highschool math.
The brief model of what he tried to do was have a look at current historic information to provide you with a relative energy of every convention. The outcomes go the plausibility take a look at: WCHA is the strongest, adopted by a niche, ECAC and Hockey East fairly shut, one other hole, School Hockey America.
(As a sidenote: As soon as all of us get vaxxed up, we actually want some extra video games between low-tier WCHA groups and mid-tier Hockey East groups, as a result of I think that may develop the convention hole.)
Examine season information with relative convention energy and Salzano’s rating comes out like this:
5. Minnesota Duluth
7. Boston School
8. Penn State
That appears as smart as something to me.
If there may be an uneasiness about this, it’s that the WCHA has by no means had 4 groups make the eight-team event discipline earlier than. However we’re additionally in a novel yr the place two projected tournament-caliber groups aren’t taking part in. Take away Cornell and Princeton from final yr’s discipline, as they’re this yr, and Minnesota Duluth would have made the 2020 nationwide event because the WCHA’s fourth crew.
This could additionally appear to substantiate what I stated final week that Minnesota Duluth ought to be secure in the event that they win their semifinal match-up towards Ohio State on Saturday, no matter what occurs within the championship. However would their slim margin be sufficient to carry in the event that they lose to the Buckeyes on Saturday? I do not know.
The identical goes for Colgate. Shedding within the championship doubtless retains them forward of Boston School. Shedding within the semifinal and the argument turns into a lot harder.
So there’s a lot using on this weekend’s last video games earlier than the event. On this yr with little onerous math to work with, one of the best final result would in all probability be one the place the committee doesn’t must make a troublesome choice for the ultimate at-large bids. However both means, it ought to make for an exciting weekend of hockey.