Hockey East Final Day Scenarios

Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Get out your thinking caps, because a lot can happen in Hockey East's final night of action.

Gwen. This **** is bananas!! (via diridirondon)

It's really hard to figure out which Hockey East scenarios are even best for BC tonight, let alone try to lay out some semi-comprehensive rundown of everything that can happen. But let's give it a shot.

Here are the Hockey East standings going into the final night:

Lowell: 32
Providence: 32
BC: 31
UNH: 31
BU: 30
Merrimack: 29
Vermont: 22
Maine: 21
UMass & NU: eliminated

And tonight's games:
Maine @ UNH - 4 PM, NESN
Merrimack @ UMass - 7 PM
Northeastern @ BU - 7 PM
BC @ Vermont - 7 PM
Lowell @ Providence - 7 PM

Now, to give you the idea in a nutshell:

Three Stooges - Swingin' the alphabet (via Justin Yarusinsky)

Scenarios by which BC wins a share of the Hockey East regular-season title

If UMass-Lowell or Providence wins tonight's game at Schneider Arena: game over. But if Lowell and Providence tie, it opens up a lot of other possibilities.

The best case scenario is as follows:
-PC and UML tie
-BC wins at Vermont
-UNH loses or ties against Maine

This would set up a three-way tie for first place between BC, Providence, and Lowell, meaning all three schools share the Hockey East regular-season title; most importantly, BC wins a three-way tiebreaker against Lowell and Providence. You settled 3+ way ties by taking the teams' win percentages against the other schools - so BC is 2-1-0 against Lowell and 1-1-1 against Providence, which would be the best of those three.

Then you would drop BC and compare Lowell and Providence head-to-head to determine 2nd; the two teams would be 1-1-1 against eachother, so you would go to the next tiebreaker, number of conference wins; on the strength of 15 conference wins to PC's 13, Lowell would be the #2 seed.

Also important in this scenario is that a Vermont loss and a Maine win would dropkick the Catamounts to 8th, meaning #1 BC would host Vermont in the first round of the playoffs. This would certainly be the best case scenario, as Maine is playing some pretty decent hockey right now. All of the above remaining the same but Maine TYING UNH would set up a #8 Maine at #1 BC series.

The scenario in which we win the Hockey East regular season title, but get a crappier playoff draw than we would if we didn't:

Here's the odd one: depending on what happens in the UNH-Maine game, we may be actively rooting against BC to win a trophy tonight for purposes of playoff seeding. Or at least, I'd probably be rooting against it. I'm curious to hear your thoughts:

The scenario:
-PC and Lowell tie
-UNH beats Maine
-BC beats Vermont

This would create a FOUR WAY TIE for the Hockey East regular season championship. I'm not going to look it up, I'm just going to be pretty sure that it's never happened before. All the teams would split the trophy/banner, and the tiebreaker rules would be just like for the three way tie, but adding in UNH.

Unfortunately, this set of tiebreakers doesn't work as well for BC. Providence went 2-0-1 against UNH this season, and on the strength of that, they would earn the #1 seed. Removing Providence from the picture, the tiebreaker between BC, Lowell and UNH would go to the Wildcats, on the strength of their season sweep over UMass-Lowell back when the Riverhawks were struggling.

The tiebreaker between BC and Lowell for the 3 seed is (you guessed it) complicated. Both BC and Lowell would simply be BC's 2-1-0 record against UML - so the Eagles would be the #3 and Lowell would be 4th.

Under this scenario, BC would host either Merrimack or BU in the first round, depending on how those games shake out. A Merrimack win at UMass and a BU loss at home against Northeastern - admittedly, an unlikely scenario - would swap Merrimack and BU and put the Terriers in 6th place. (A tie against NU is enough to secure finishing above Merrimack for BU, as they're 3-0-0 against the Warriors this year.)

For BC to finish 2nd

There's a pretty big difference between 2nd and 3rd this year as the top 6 are pretty well ahead of the pack in Hockey East. The path to 2nd is much simpler for BC:

-Somebody wins the UML-Providence game.
-BC wins at Vermont.

Under this scenario, no matter what happens in the UNH game, BC finishes 2nd as the Eagles have the tiebreaker head-to-head with UNH by virtue of having more conference wins.

BC's opponent would be determined by the Maine result. A Maine win over UNH would mean BC hosts Maine in the #2/#7 series; a Maine loss or tie would mean we'd see a BC-UVM rematch at Conte Forum next weekend.

Another way for BC to finish 2nd:

-Lowell defeats Providence
-BC ties Vermont
-UNH loses to Maine
-BU loses or ties to Northeastern

This would end up with BC tied with Providence for 2nd and winning the tiebreaker with more conference wins. But if BU beats Northeastern, I'm 99% sure THEY end up 2nd place in this scenario, as they would, I think, win the three-way tiebreaker between BC, BU and PC. But I'm not running the math on that one, because eff that.

And the rest:

I was going to lay out every scenario by which BC can finish 3rd, 4th, or 5th, but it's basically impossible to do. So I'm going to try to do it this way:

IF BC WINS AT VERMONT:

Then no matter what, BC will finish either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, depending on what happens in the other games (see the scenarios above). The only way BC finishes 3rd with a win is the absurd four-way tie. And under that scenario, BC gets a share of the Hockey East RS title. So if you're looking at it this way, it's pretty simple: something good happens for BC with a win.

IF BC AND VERMONT TIE:

Hoo boy, now we're getting tricky. BC can still finish 2nd with a tie, in the scenario outlined above. They would finish 3RD with a UNH loss to Maine and a Providence win against Lowell. A vast majority of other scenarios with a BC tie would result in BC finishing 3rd or 4th.

I have not been able to figure out a way that drops BC to 5th with a tie. I don't think it can happen. BC wins a lot of complicated tiebreaker scenarios because of their 2-1-0 record against BU.

IF BC LOSES:

PANIC! Also:

BC still finishes 3rd, if UNH loses, BU loses or ties, and Merrimack loses or ties.

BC finishes 4th if UNH wins or ties and BU loses or ties, OR BU wins, but UNH loses/ties

BC finishes 5th if UNH and BU win.

I can't get BC back to 6th under any scenario that I've been able to grasp, but I know it's possible for there to be a huge tie between BC, BU, Merrimack and UNH for 3-6. I'm just 99% sure that BC ends up 4th in that scenario.

Now that we all have a headache... time to sit back and enjoy the games.

The UNH-Maine game being at 4 should make things a lot clearer going into BC's game tonight.

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