Playoff watch: Win would secure berth for UAH

Charger celebration

Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography

A win and they’re in. That’s what the Chargers can do to clinch a playoff spot this weekend when they host Bowling Green at the Von Braun Center.

Here’s what we know about the WCHA playoff picture heading into the final week of the regular season:

  • Minnesota State needs just one point against Bemidji State to win the MacNaughton Cup as regular season champion and take the No. 1 seed.
  • Northern Michigan and Bowling Green will also host quarterfinal series.
  • The 4-5 matchup is set: Bemidji State will host Michigan Tech in the quarterfinals.

That leaves playoff spots six through eight up for grabs. For more detail on all the WCHA races, including probabilities, check out The WCHA Playoff Prediction Blog.

Pts Record 3/SO^ Final week
6 UAH 30 9-15-2 1 H vs BGSU
6 Alaska 30 9-15-2 1 H vs UAA
8 Ferris State 28 9-16-1 0 H vs LSSU
9 Lake Superior 27 8-15-3 0 A vs FSU

^ 3-on-3/shootout points after ties.

The Chargers are fighting Alaska, Ferris State, and Lake Superior State for the three remaining playoff spots. UAH and Alaska are tied for 6th with 30 points, Ferris State is in 8th with 28 points, and Lake Superior State is currently on the outside looking in with 27 points.

UAH only needs to finish ahead of one of those teams to make the playoffs.

Alaska hosts rival Alaska Anchorage, which is in 10th and eliminated from contention. Lake Superior State goes to Ferris State.

That LSSU and FSU play each other is important. If either team sweeps the other, the swept team can’t catch UAH, no matter what the Chargers do against Bowling Green.

If Ferris State and Lake Superior State split and UAH doesn’t get any points, then the Chargers are eliminated. FSU would have more points (31 to 30), and LSSU (who would tie UAH at 30 points) would win the “C” tiebreaker for having fewer conference losses (16 to 17).

But if UAH gets two points or more, it would be impossible for both FSU and LSSU to surpass the Chargers.

In summary, the Chargers are in if:

  • UAH gets two points or more against Bowling Green OR
  • Ferris State gets four points or more against Lake Superior OR
  • Lake Superior gets four points or more against Ferris State.

Or in even simpler terms: UAH gets a win, or Lake Superior and Ferris State do not split.

What about Alaska? Currently the Nanooks have the exact same conference record and points as the Chargers, and Alaska and UAH split the only two games played head-to-head. Alaska is thus in a similar situation: Lance West’s club needs only two points to secure a playoff berth, which is likely against Alaska Anchorage. Alaska has already beaten its hated rival four times (two conference and two non-conference) by a combined score of 19-8.

If the Chargers and Nanooks remain tied after the final games are played, Alaska would likely surpass UAH all the way at the “E” tiebreaker, which is points percentage against each WCHA team starting at the top. Alaska has a win over first-place Minnesota State, and UAH went 0-4 against MSU.

It should be an exciting final weekend in the WCHA, which, because not all teams make the conference tournament, sets itself apart from the other leagues in Division I.

WCHA final regular-season week schedule (all time Central):

Friday, Feb. 23
Bowling Green at UAH, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 24
Bowling Green at UAH, 3:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.