The FCIAC boys ice hockey playoff race is going down to the wire as four teams are in contention for the final three tournament bids.
The defending league champion Greenwich Cardinals locked up a spot with their 3-1 victory over the Darien Blue Wave in a game carried live by the HAN Network on Monday. You can watch that game here.
Three games that will have an impact on the playoffs remain on the schedule for the next two days.
Tuesday, Feb. 21
Stamford/Westhill vs. Greenwich at Hamill Rink, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 22
St. Joseph vs. Trumbull at The Rinks at Shelton, 6:30 p.m.
Wilton vs. Fairfield at the Wonderland of Ice, 8 p.m.
Here’s what we know so far:
• Ridgefield is the No. 1 seed and will have a first-round bye. The Tigers beat Stamford/Westhill, 6-2 on Monday to wrap up an 11-0 league record for the regular season.
• New Canaan is the No. 2 seed and will have a first-round bye. The Rams are 9-1-1 in the FCIAC and closed out their regular season with a 3-2 non-conference win against Xavier on Monday.
• Fairfield is in. The Mustangs are currently third with a 6-2-2 FCIAC record for 14 points. They’ll be heavily favored against a 4-14 Wilton team on Wednesday and can nail down the No. 3 seed with a victory.
• Greenwich and St. Joseph are in. The Cards and Cadets could still end up in a three-way or four-way tie, but tiebreakers play in their favor.
What’s still to be determined:
• Greenwich can end the drama with a win over Stamford/Westhill on Tuesday. That would leave Stamford/Westhill with a 5-5-1 record and 11 points for a seventh-place finish, one spot short of the playoffs. Darien would earn the final playoff bid.
• If Stamford/Westhill wins, the fun begins as it sets up several scenarios involving the “quality wins” criteria.
Basically, when head-to-head results cannot break a tie, the team or teams with better results against a higher-ranked team have the edge.
For example, if Stamford/Westhill, Darien and Greenwich finish tied with 13 points and are all 1-1 against each other.
To break the tie, you work from the top of the standings down.
Neither team beat or tied No. 1 Ridgefield or No. 2 New Canaan, so the tiebreaker moves to the third spot currently held by Fairfield. Darien and Greenwich both tied Fairfield and Stamford/Westhill lost, thus Stamford/Westhill would be out.
However, if St. Joe’s beats Trumbull and Fairfield loses to Wilton, St. Joe’s would become the third-place team. Stamford/Westhill defeated St. Joe’s, while Darien and Greenwich lost, meaning Stamford/Westhill is in.
The other possible scenario involves a four-way tiebreaker involving St. Joe’s, Stamford/Westhill, Greenwich and Darien.
In this case, a St. Joe’s loss to Trumbull would create the four-way tie for fourth place.
Head-to-head, Stamford/Westhill (assuming a win over Greenwich tomorrow), and St. Joe’s have the edge with 2-1 records against the other teams in the tie. Stamford/Westhill gets the No. 4 seed because of its win over St. Joe’s. The Cadets are No. 5, with Greenwich taking the No. 6 seed based on its win over Darien.
So, for Darien and Stamford/Westhill, here’s what’s needed:
• For Darien to qualify, it needs one of the following things to happen
1 – Greenwich defeats Stamford/Westhill
2 – Fairfield defeats Wilton AND St. Joe’s defeats Trumbull
• For Stamford/Westhill to qualify, it needs the following to happen:
1 – Stamford/Westhill defeats Greenwich
2 – Wilton defeats Fairfield OR Trumbull defeats St. Joseph
Results will be posted on the FCIAC.net as soon as games are completed.