Last night, Union clinched at least a share of the Cleary Cup with three games remaining. Quinnipiac and Colgate mathematically have a chance to share that title, but it seems unlikely given the way Union is playing. The Dutchmen need just one point to win the title outright and clinch the number one seed throughout the ECAC tournament.
Battles are shaping up from positions 2-11. Union is the only team to clinch a bye. Quinnipiac and Colgate play tonight with the winner clinching a second first round bye. Cornell currently holds the final bye position in fourth, with Clarkson and Yale nipping at its heels. Yale and Clarkson are the only two that are currently not in bye position that has a chance at it. The Bulldogs are one point back of the Big Red and the Golden Knights are two points behind Cornell. Home ice positioning is even closer. Below I will go into each team’s positioning and what can be accomplished tonight. Check out the CHN standings page as a guide
1. Union (31 pts)
Union has clinched at least a share of the Cleary Cup, with its win over Clarkson last night. Any point in its next three games clinches it outright and the number one seed. A Colgate/Quinnipiac tie tonight would also clinch the outright title for them. Union holds the tiebreaker over Quinnipiac but does not on Colgate.
Position possibilities: 1-2
2. Quinnipiac (25 pts)
Mathematically, based on tiebreakers, the Bobcats are eliminated from contention for the number one seed in the ECAC tournament but it still has a chance at a share of the Cleary Cup. It starts tonight though for the Bobcats, as it hosts the team it is tied for second with, Colgate. Quinnipiac has yet to clinch a bye but it is assured of home ice in the first round. That seems unlikely that Quinnipiac would fall that far, though, as Quinnipiac needs just two points to clinch a bye. The Bobcats can hypothetically finish no worse than sixth.
Position Possibilities: 2-6
3. Colgate (25 pts.)
Colgate is an interesting story because tonight it could find itself all alone in second place, behind Union. The Raiders are the only team that has a shot to catch Union, as small as it is. It won a meeting with Union and tied another, so it wins the matchup with the Dutch. Colgate, like Quinnipiac, has clinched home ice in the first round if it falters. Standings can be funky, though, as unlike Quinnipiac, Colgate needs three points (win and Yale loss or tie) in its favor to clinch a first round bye tonight, as Yale holds the tiebreaker against them. With three losses it could fall as low as sixth place, where Clarkson currently sits. Gate’s game tonight against Quinnipiac is huge and has big implications.
Position Possibilities: 1-6
4. Cornell (22 pts)
Cornell did itself tons of good by winning last night, as it now sits one point clear of Yale and two ahead of Clarkson for the final bye. Cornell is eliminated from contention for the Cleary Cup and can finish no worse than seventh. It has clinched at least home ice in the first round and looks to continue its run at the bye. Tonight it faces last place Princeton but cannot clinch a bye tonight, as the biggest lead it could have is three points on Yale. It could finish as high as second but it will be an uphill battle because the two tied for second are playing tonight.
Position Possibilities: 2-7
5. Yale (21 pts.)
Yale is just lingering in all honesty and currently sits just a point behind Cornell for the final bye. The Bulldogs defeated Harvard last night to keep them in the hunt. Unlike the teams above them, Yale has not clinched a first round bye. Brown could mathematically finish tied with them in ninth and Brown would hold the tiebreaker because of league wins. Yale can clinch at least home ice tonight but the ultimate prize down the stretch is the first round bye.
Position Possibilites: 2-9
6. Clarkson (20 pts)
Clarkson started off so strong and has faltered in recent weeks. Clarkson has clinched nothing in terms of the ECAC tournament but can clinch home ice but can clinch it with a win or a tie tonight. It can also finish no worse than ninth, because it holds the tiebreaker on Harvard. The highest it can finish is third and with Colgate/Quinnipiac tie it is eliminated from finishing that high. Clarkson likely has a range as high as fourth.
Position Possibilities: 3-9
7. Rensselaer (18 pts)
RPI has an outside chance at a bye, but that seems unlikely because it currently sits four points out of it and Cornell has Princeton tonight. RPI has not clinched a first round home series and can only do so tonight with a win and losses by Harvard and Dartmouth.
Position possiblities: 4-11
8. St. Lawrence (16 pts.)
SLU has done itself some good in recent weeks by winning and last night’s win against RPI was impressive. SLU has no shot at a bye and cannot clinch home ice tonight. The Saints have control of its own destiny and tonight it will play at Union, no easy task at hand.
Position Possibilities: 5-11
9. Brown (15 pts.)
Brown has to put all its marbles into a home ice berth in the first round and its game tonight with Harvard is ever important, as the Crimson are just a point behind them. A loss tonight and an SLU win would leave them three points out of the position.
Position Possibilities: 5-11
10. Harvard (14 pts.)
Harvard’s loss to Yale was costly, as it could have ended the night tied with SLU for eighth in the standings. It is the frustration of Harvard hockey in recent years. The Crimson have a huge game with Brown tonight, but it wasted an opportunity against Yale to move up. Harvard can finish no higher than seventh in the standings.
Position Possibilities: 7-11
11. Dartmouth (13 pts)
Dartmouth is turning out to be a great story, as it has come out of nowhere to have a chance at a first round home game. I eliminated them early in the season at a chance at that but they have won three straight contests and now sit just three points back of SLU for the last home ice position. It can finish no higher than seventh.
Position Possibilities: 7-12
12. Princeton (8 pts.)
Princeton will travel in the first round and can finish no higher than 11th.
Position Possibilities: 11-12