Polls & Awards; Playoff Scenarios

North Dakota is the top ranked team in the country again in the USCHO polls.  With their sweep over the Minutemen, Boston College remains in 2nd place.  UNH moved up a couple spots to #7 while Merrimack fell hard after getting swept in Orono, dropping 5 spots to ninth.  BU checks in at #13 while Maine, which will be coming into the Mullins this weekend, is #14.

Maine finds itself in the USA Hockey/USA Today poll this week as well.

Maine was named the Team of the Week while Black Bear Dan Sullivan was named Goaltender of the Week by Hockey East.  No UMass players were named award winners or Top Performers.  Paul Dainton, Joel Hanley, and T.J. Syner are all mentioned under milestones.

One weekend left and UMass could still finish anywhere from 7th to out of the playoffs altogether at 9th.  Vermont is in 7th place currently and has two games at home against Lowell while Providence will play a home and home with Merrimack.  UMass holds the tiebreaker against UVM but loses the head to head tiebreaker with Providence.  If all three teams end with 16 pts (UVM loses out, UMass gets a tie, and PC either win or ties twice) then UMass finishes 7th with Vermont 8th.  If all three teams finish with 17 points with UMass getting two ties and BC finishing 1st the Minutemen will miss out on the playoffs.  If all three teams finish with 17 points with UMass getting two ties and UNH finishes first UMass will finish in 7th and Vermont in 8th.  If all three teams finish with 17 points with UMass winning either night then UMass will finish 7th with Vermont 8th.

I started to type out each and ever possible scenario and show how the bottom of the standings would look, but I stopped because there are many different ways it could shake out.  Plus, in the end it really doesn’t matter.  UMass’ goal and their goal from the start of the season should’ve been to get to the playoffs with this young team.  They’re in excellent position to do so.  And, most importantly they control their own destiny.  Win two and they’re guaranteed a spot.  Sure a sweep of Maine seems unlikely, but you could’ve said the same last season when they swept the Black Bears on the final weekend.  And those games were in Alfond.

Playoff Status has UMass with a 72% chance of finishing 8th, 20% chance of finishing 9th, and an 8% chance of finishing 7th.  Obviously that’s accounting for the fact that there’s a slim chance Providence is successful against Merrimack, though the Warriors just had one awful weekend.  But the Friars didn’t exactly have a banner weekend themselves giving up three points to Lowell.  Maybe the River Hawks can do the same this weekend and give the Minutemen a chance to finish 7th, which would be nice since UMass held that spot for a good chunk of the season and it would match their seeding of last year despite all they lost.