The top three teams in the WCHA, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin, also happen to be the top three teams in the USCHO national poll as well. As we enter the final weekend of the regular season, those three rivals are all still alive for the WCHA conference regular season crown.
While the No. 1 Golden Gophers definitely have the easiest, most direct path to the title, if they slip up, the Badgers or Buckeyes could nab the trophy. Normally we could just look at total points and figure out the winner, but as has become the norm in the past two years, COVID made things more difficult.
According to the WCHA’s website: “Due to an imbalance of the number of WCHA games set to be played, the league is now using points percentage to determine standings rather than overall points earned, as detailed by the WCHA’s COVID-19 protocols agreed upon by the member schools prior to the start of the season.”
Here are the current standings:
- Minnesota, 26 games played, 62 points, .795 points percentage
- Wisconsin, 25 games played, 57 points, .760 points percentage
- Ohio State, 25 games played, 57 points, .760 points percentage
The Badgers hold the current tiebreaker over the Buckeyes since UW swept OSU earlier this season.
The remaining schedules for the three teams are:
Minnesota: Thurs. 2/17 at St. Thomas, Sat. 2/19 vs. St. Thomas
Wisconsin: Fri. 2/18 at Ohio State, Sat. 2/19 at Ohio State
Ohio State: Fri. 2/18 vs. Wisconsin, Sat. 2/19 vs. Wisconsin
The Tommies, in their first year of D-1 hockey, are the worst team in the conference and are 3-21-1 in conference this season. Needless to say, the Gophers will be heavily favored to sweep them, especially with a conference title on the line. The Badgers and Buckeyes will battle it out on the ice and hope that the Tommies can pull off a major upset.
I am no good at math and I refuse to double-check my work, but if my back of the napkin calculations are correct, if the Badgers sweep the Buckeyes (or vice versa) they will be sitting at 63 points in 27 games which would give them a .778 points percentage on the season.
In order for that to be good enough to win the WCHA, the Tommies need to beat the Gophers once. If they split, then Minnesota will be sitting at 65 points in 28 games, giving them a .774 points percentage on the season which is .004 fewer than Wisconsin’s or Ohio State’s total, if one of those teams sweeps the other.
So yeah...there you have it! The Badgers just need to go on the road and sweep the No. 2 team in the nation and then hope one of the worst teams in the country picks up a win against the No. 1 team in the country. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy!