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Down to the Wire: One Game, Twelve Scenarios

by Eric Schneider | April 15, 2017, 4:10 PM ET

Nerve-wracking.  Captivating.  Gut-wrenching, nail-biting, why-isn't-it-Monday-yet excitement.  We're down to the last game of the season, and it's a dead-heat in the Canadian Conference.  Competing for one of two remaining trips to the playoffs are the Brandon Wheat Kings, the Vancouver Vipers, and the Nova Scotia Schooners.

As ever, the Wheaties have made a season out of overachieving (have we been underrating them for years?); the Vipers have proven impossible as ever to figure out; and the Schooners, touted as one of the teams to beat entering the season, have only recently righted their ship and are trying to make up for lost time.  Two teams are destined for the post-season, and one will limp home to suffer the worst fate imaginable for an SICHL team: 9th place, the best of the worst, a middling first-rounder as compensation for their wasted efforts.

The SICHL gods are not without their sense of humour, and have pitted two of these teams against eachother in the last game of the year: Vancouver vs. Nova Scotia, winner-take-all.  Or is it?  Let's look at the surprising scenarios.

Brandon sits one point up on Vancouver and Nova Scotia with 88 points.  Because the Vipers and Schooners, tied at 87 points, play eachother on Monday, they can't help but upset the standings.  The chart linked below shows the 12 possible scenarios, based on the number of points available, and the individual odds of each team making the playoffs. (Mike, please embed if you're able!)

On the face of it, it looks like the Wheat Kings are assured a trip to the post-season.  If Brandon gets even one point vs. Dublin, that turns the Vipers/Schooners game into a win-and-you're-in grudge match.  However, if the Wheat Kings lose  in regulation and the Vipers/Schooners game goes to overtime, that would put the winner of that game into 7th and the loser into a tie with Brandon.  Both VAV and NS hold the edge in wins, and would knock the Wheat Kings out of the playoffs if tied at the end of the year.

Because of this unlikely scenario, the individual odds of each team making the playoffs are skewed:

Brandon: 83.3%

Vancouver: 58.3%

Nova Scotia: 58.3%

Vancouver/Nova Scotia is a true coin-flip -- the teams even have identical win percentages this season -- so the extra ~8% each comes purely from that 3-point game/Brandon loss scenario.  Regardless, it's going to be an intense end to the season, one that the unlucky losing team will be unlikely to forget any time soon.


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