Friday, April 8, 2011

USHL Playoff picture

As far as the playoff picture goes, things are a bit more clear after tonight. It appears the Ice will be playing Waterloo, which is currently in sixth place despite a 3-1 loss to Green Bay tonight. The Black Hawks have 53 points, two more than Youngstown. The two teams are razor-thin -- they have the same head-to-head record against each other (each is 2-2, each has 5 points in those games as they split two OT games) and each has scored the same number of goals. If Waterloo loses in regulation and Youngstown wins tomorrow night, they would tie in the standings. However, things would go to the fourth tiebreaker. The second/third -- team wins and losses -- would be identical. However, Waterloo holds a -20 goal differential. Youngstown currently holds a -44 goal differential. So, unless Youngstown somehow wins Saturday night and Waterloo loses, and there is a 24-goal differential in the combined scores of those games, Waterloo will be coming to the Pepsi Coliseum next Thursday for playoff action. Muskegon clinched fifth place with a 4-2 win in Chicago tonight, rendering Saturday's Ice-Lumberjacks finale moot as far as the standings go.

Here's the way the USHL East playoffs look:
First round (best-of-3)
(1) Cedar Rapids, (2) Green Bay, byes

(3) Indiana vs. (6) Waterloo
(4) Team USA vs. (5) Muskegon

In the West:
(1) Dubuque has the top seed
(2) Sioux Falls and (3) Omaha play tomorrow night for the second seed. If Omaha wins in regulation, the Lancers take the #2 spot and the bye. If Sioux Falls wins or loses in OT/SO, it gets the #2 spot and the bye.
(3) SF/OMA vs. (6) Sioux City (locked into the #6 seed)

(4) Fargo vs. (5) Lincoln. Fargo currently holds a 70-69 edge in points, so they're playing for home-ice advantage next week in the finale. Fargo hosts Sioux City, Lincoln visits Tri-City. If Fargo wins or loses in OT/SO, it takes home ice next week. If Fargo loses in regulation and Lincoln wins, it takes the #4 seed and home ice.

For the Ice, they will play their first-round games at the Pepsi Coliseum on Thursday, Friday and Sunday of next weekend (April 14-17). The Thursday/Friday games will be at 7:05. The Sunday game, if necessary, will be at 3:05.

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