With just two weekends left in the season, the playoff picture for the NWHL is still as murky as it was at the beginning of the season. Let’s try to get some clarity at least though...
NWHL Standings, as of Feb. 22
Looking at the points, the tie break situations are going to come into play most likely. Ties in points are broken by the following rules
- Regulation and Overtime Wins (ROW)
- Head-to-head series
- Goal differentials
Follow the bouncing puck for the tiebreaker situations because as of right now, the Pride hold the break over the Whitecaps (Pride hold the season series, 3-0). The Whitecaps have it over the Beauts (Whitecaps won the season series, 3-1) while the Beauts have the break on the Pride (season series 3-1). Just imagine a big circle.
Metropolitan Riveters at Buffalo Beauts - Feb. 23
Boston Pride at Connecticut Whale - Feb. 24
Buffalo Beauts at Connecticut Whale - March 2
Minnesota Whitecaps at Boston Pride - March 2
Minnesota Whitecaps at Connecticut Whale - March 3
Buffalo Beauts at Metropolitan Riveters - March 3
The Beauts have by far the easiest schedule. They’ve outscored the Whale 14 - 1 on the season thus far. The last meeting against the Riveters was a closer 3-2 win but the previous matchup was a 5-1 victory. Add in the fact that Riveters looked especially bad in their 8-1 loss to the Pride and the Beauts have a good chance of winning out of the rest of the season.
The Pride and the Whitecaps have identical schedules. Both have beaten the Whale in the three previous games, but the Whale have historical given the Pride a tough time. If Meeri Räisänen is back, it could be interesting. Between the Pride and the Whitecaps, the Pride holds the season series 3-0, but the last game between the two teams was a very very very close 5-4 victory for the Pride. That March 2 matchup will be an extremely good game that no one will want to miss.
The Whitecaps are the only team to hold their own fate. If they win out, no matter what the Beauts do, the Whitecaps will take first place. In this scenario, the only way the Pride can come in second is if they beat the Whale and the Beauts lose two of their games (giving them at maximum 20 points) as the Beauts hold the tiebreak for second place.
Whitecaps: 24 points
Beauts: 18-24 points
Pride: 20-22 points
The Beauts can take first place if they win out and the Pride beat the Whitecaps. The maximum number of points the Whitecaps could get then would be 22, which is the lowest amount the Pride could get, locking the Pride into second place based on the tie breaker.
Beauts: 24 points
Pride: 22-24 points
Whitecaps: 20-22 points
The only way for the Pride to clinch first place is for them to win out and the Beauts to lose a game or go to a shootout in one game. Even if the Beauts win their shootout game, the Pride would take over the tiebreak in that scenario as they would have one more ROW than the Beauts.
Pride: 24 points
Beauts: 24 points, but one less ROW
Whitecaps: 20-22 points
Fourth and fifth place is a little more straight forward. Currently the Whale and Riveters both have six points. They both also have 2 ROW; however the Whale hold the season series record with five points to the Riveter’s four. Whichever team gets a point will come in fourth, if neither do it will stay the same, if they both do, well, you can figure that much out.
Get ready to do some scoreboard watching!
Special thanks to Matt Falkenbury for helping sort out scenarios.