Has Bemidji State clinched a spot in the 2016-17 WCHA Playoffs? Yes.
Northern Michigan has 10 points after 16 games; their maximum is to win 12 more games, which can garner them just 48 points. BSU is one clear of the Wildcats, and as such, they can do no worse than 9th.
Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska, and Lake Superior each have a say in whether the Beavers have already dammed the pond. The standings table above shows the situation: all three teams play each other down the stretch. Here’s what we know:
- In a theoretical world, all three teams can get to 50 points, as each team can garner another 36 points for the rest of the season, giving them either 55 (UAF, LSSU) or 52 (UAA) points.
- Because these teams do play each other — UAA and UAF in the season’s final week for the Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup; UAA at Lake Superior the second weekend in February (their only meeting); and the Lakers host the Nanooks the following weekend — all three teams cannot go unscathed.
- BSU has the A tiebreaker over UAA. UAF and UAA are 1-1-0, and UAF and LSSU are also 1-1-0. You can’t get to a three-way A tiebreaker.
- The B tiebreaker is 65-minute wins.
To prove that Bemidji hasn’t clinched a playoff spot, we only have to provide one scenario where all of UAF/UAA/LSSU pass the Beavers. Let’s go.
The team that’s weakest here is Alaska-Anchorage, as they 1) lose at A to Bemidji, 2) have the least conference 65-minute wins of the group, and 3) are the only team to play both of the other two down the stretch.
- IF Alaska-Anchorage wins out, they get to 52 points and are ahead of Bemidji. However, the best that either Alaska or Lake Superior is 49 points, which puts them in a tiebreaker with Bemidji. But because they play each other, they can’t both get to 49.
- IF Alaska-Anchorage wins out save one of their games against UAF, they still lose to Bemidji at 49 in a two-team tie at A. Alaska could max out at 52 (11-0-0-1), but that means that they defeat Lake Superior twice, seeing them to 10-0-0-2, where they are also at 49. In a three-way tie, B is the first relevant tiebreaker, which Lake Superior wins 16-15-15. With Lake Superior removed, Bemidji loses at A.
- IF Alaska-Anchorage wins out save one of their games against LSSU, they still lose to Bemidji at 49 in a two-way tie, Alaska can only max out at 10-0-0-2 down the stretch, giving them 49 points. That requires Lake Superior to max at 10-0-0-2 for a four way tie at 49 points that starts at B. For B, Alaska and Lake Superior would tie at 16, while Bemidji and Alaska-Anchorage tie at 15 (and then that tie goes back to A).
You can’t concoct a scenario where all three teams get past 49, since they play each other. If you start trying to get cute with OTW and OTL, you hurt the teams in the B tiebreaker.
Bemidji is in with 56 league games of 140 overall remaining. I hate everything.