Fight to the Finish: Canadian Conferenceby Eric Schneider | April 5, 2017, 3:08 PM ET
UPDATE: Projected points based on April 12th results:
7th - Brandon Wheat Kings -- 89 points
T-8th - Nova Scotia Schooners, Vancouver Vipers -- 88 points
E-10th - Fredericton Express -- 81 points
E-11th - Edmonton Supersonics -- 80 points
We're down to the wire in the 2016-17 SICHL season and, for all the drama at the top of the standings, the race to watch is for the final two playoff spots in the Canadian Conference. The Quebec Canons seem to have the 6th spot locked down, which leaves Brandon, Vancouver, Nova Scotia, Fredericton, and Edmonton fighting for 7th and 8th. The task falls on this humble reporter to provide some sort of prediction, but I've opted to take the easy route. The coward's way out, if you will: math.
Using the winning percentages of the five contenders and their remaining opponents, but without consideration of goal differential, matchup records, or recent performance, I've made the following predictions. I do not stand by them and sincerely hope that I'm wrong.
7th -- Brandon Wheat Kings: 34-29-14, 82 points, 5 games remaining.
Projected to finish with 88 points. Brandon enjoys the easiest final stretch by far, facing off against Denver, Chicago, Vancouver, Montreal, and Dublin. The Vancouver and Dublin games are both coin tosses, but the Rapids, Tigers, and Millionaires are literally the three worst teams in the league. Hard not to see the Wheaties in the post-season.
8th -- Vancouver Vipers: 35-30-11, 81 points, 6 games remaining.
Projected to finish with 86 points. The Vipers have some stiff competition, no pushovers here: Ottawa, Edmonton, Brandon, Calgary, and Nova Scotia twice. Projecting just 5 out of a possible 12 points could be a gross underestimate though, which gives Vancouver the best chance of catching Brandon out of any team.
9th -- Nova Scotia Schooners: 36-33-8, 80 points, 5 games remaining.
Projected to finish with 84 points. Oof. Havana, Fredericton, Reykjavik, and Vancouver twice. Three games against their fellow playoff contenders gives some hope, but the Schooners will need some puck luck if they're to have any shot at making the post-season.
10th -- Fredericton Express: 35-31-9, 79 points, 7 games remaining.
Projected to finish with 83 points. The boys from Freddy-town have the most room for maneuvering with a possible 14 points up for grabs, but they also have the toughest schedule: Quebec, Whitehorse, Nova Scotia, Stockholm, and Calgary a punishing three times. Nova Scotia's the only coin-toss there, the numbers work against the Express in every other match-up.
11th -- Edmonton Supersonics: 34-35-10, 78 points, 3 games remaining.
Projected to finish with 81 points. Nothing like a late-season run to get your hopes up, eh Mike? Just 6 points up for grabs here -- all winnable games but neverthless the Sonics are the underdogs, facing Vancouver once and Quebec twice. Seems like the stars would have to align for Mike to sneak in, but hey, that's the SICHL for ya.
There you have it: Wheat Kings and Vipers in; Schooners, Express, and Sonics out. You heard it here first.