Final regular season event a scramble for the playoffs
January 17, 2018
The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) regular season concludes in just over a week as the race for one of the top 8 spots in the 18U and 16U Division has reached a feverish pace.
As a reminder, the top 8 teams in the standings in both the 18U and 16U divisions at the end of the regular season will qualify for the NAPHL Gold Division Dixon Cup Championship in February. The remainder of the teams will play in the Silver (Consolation) Division Championship. Here were the tie-breaking policies as detailed in the NAPHL rules and regulations:
At the conclusion of the NAPHL regular season, Clubs that have an equal amount of points shall have their final position in the NAPHL standings determined by applying the following tie breaking procedures:
A. Most wins during the regular season.
B. Results of head to head competition.
C. Goal differential in head to head competition.
D. Total goal differential during the entire season.
E. Total goals scored during the entire season
F. Coin flip.
Last season, the Madison Capitols won the 18U Championship, while the Esmark Stars won the 16U title for the second straight season.
Heading into the final weekend, it is a three-horse race for the top spot in the 18U Division between CarShield AAA, the Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede, and the Tampa Scorpions. With 25 points and 12 wins, CarShield AAA is in the driver’s seat, however Sioux Falls also has 25 points, but with one less win. A game to watch will be on January 27th when Tampa and Sioux Falls square off. Rocky Mountain is firmly in 4th place with 21 points. After that there are 10 teams competing for the final four spots, all with a legitimate shot. Win nine wins apiece, New Jersey (5th place) and Valley Forge (6th place) control their won destiny. After that, it is a very tight race with Esmark, Meijer AAA, Madison, Elite Hockey, and Wenatchee all separated by just three points. Pursuit of Excellence, Shattuck-St. Mary’s and the Thunder Bay Kings still have an outside chance, but need perfect runs through the last event.
In the 16U Division, there are five teams still with a good shot to claim the top spot. Leading the way is Everett Silvertips Elite, who are in the driver’s seat with 12 wins and 24 points. Right behind Everett is Sioux Falls with 11 wins and 23 points. The two teams meet in the final game of the regular season on January 29th in a game that could decide the #1 seed and regular season champion. Also with a chance at the top spot are Rocky Mountain and Madison, who each have 22 points, along with Esmark, who has 21 points. Esmark and Rocky Mountain face one another on the final day. The race for the remainder of the three spots is close, but there is some separation. In 6th place is CarShield AAA with 18 points. 7th place is held by Meijer AAA with 16 points and in the 8th and final spot is Arizona with 15 points. Arizona’s last four games at the final regular event are against teams below them in the standings. Needing wins and some help to make the top 8 are Washington, New Jersey, Thunder Bay, Shattuck-St. Mary’s and Dallas.