Playoff positioning goes down to the wire in NAHL’s 30TH season

By pbadmin

NAHL Press Release

As the 30th North American Hockey League season heads into its final days, the highly- competitive nature of the 2005-06 season – which has been a feature of the campaign from the moment the first puck was dropped – will apparently accompany the schedule to its completion.

Although a USNTDP victory on Tuesday night against Mahoning Valley clinched the North Division title, battles are still raging for playoff positioning.

UPDATE: Express clinch Central Division

One division top spots remains un-clinched heading into the last weekend of the season. The Southern Minnesota Express won their Central Division title on Thursday. The South’s Texas Tornado can wrap things up on Friday or things could go down to the wire.

The first-year Express, which has enjoyed a terrific second half with a 18-4-1 record since January, beat North Iowa on Thursday to wrap up their title. They will play the Minnesota Blizzard in the Central Division Semi-Final playoff round. The Fargo Moorhead Jets will face their arch-rivals, the Bismarck Bobcats in the other Central Division series.

The Tornado need one win or a Texarkana loss to cement their seventh straight NAHL division championship. Both teams finish their schedule with Friday and Saturday games – but if Texas does not get two points in those two games and the Bandits can win both, Texarkana will leapfrog the Tornado for the top spot.

A tie in points would take matters to the NAHL’s tie-breaking formula. Texarkana can only tie Texas in points if they also tie in wins, which is the first tie-breaker. The second tie breaker is goal differential, and the Bandits’ differential is 88 goals as opposed to the Tornado’s 67, which is a substantial lead for Texarkana.

The fight for third in the South is a dead heat between the Wildcats and Jr. Blues, each with 56 points, but with the Wildcats holding a game in hand.

In the North Division, there’s still a battle for first round home ice advantage between Cleveland and Mahoning Valley. The Barons have completed their schedule and have a two point lead on the Phantoms, who have two games remaining.

Should any of these races end tied in points, the NAHL’s established tiebreaking procedures will come into play. Those tie-breaking criteria are: 1) the most wins, 2) total goal differential, 3) head-to-head competition, 4) goal differential in the head-to-head competition, 5) coin flip.