'Guys… Where are we?'

Your hopefully handy-dandy guide to Saturday:


(1) Worcester clinches the division with a point against Providence, or with a Portland loss of any sort to Lowell. If Portland wins and Worcester loses in regulation, The Pirates and Sharks meet Sunday, and a Pirates regulation win then would give the Bucs the division; overtime or a Sharks win gives Worcester the crown.

(2) Portland clinches no worse than second with a point against Lowell or a Manchester loss of any sort at Bridgeport.

(3) Manchester can get to second if it wins Saturday against Bridgeport and Sunday against Springfield, with two Portland regulation losses. Otherwise, it’s third.

(4) Bridgeport clinches a playoff spot with a point against Manchester or a Norfolk loss of any flavor to Hershey. It can clinch fourth place Saturday with a win against Manchester and a Lowell regulation loss at Portland.

(5) Lowell clinches a playoff spot with a point at Portland or a Norfolk loss of any variety to Hershey. It can finish no lower than fifth but would need more points than Bridgeport to take fourth, unless the Sound Tigers were to lose in overtime to both Manchester and Hartford.

(6) Hartford can clinch sixth with a win and a Providence regulation loss to Worcester.

(7) Providence can’t secure anything Saturday but can play spoiler against Worcester. A win and a Hartford loss of any sort, or an overtime loss and a Hartford regulation loss, would move Providence into sixth with a day to go.

(8) Springfield, poor Springfield, is locked into last place in the league.


(1) Hershey is just sick. It can beat Binghamton’s 1992-93 record of 124 points with a win at Norfolk. Given the 60 wins they have, the Bears will probably claim the record on the wins tiebreaker with an overtime loss. As noted in the postgame blog, a non-shootout win would tie Binghamton’s record of 57 “real” wins.

(2) Albany is locked into second place. Its game against Adirondack is a provincial exhibition.

(3) Wilkes-Barre, locked into third place, can actually clinch the third seed with a win against Binghamton and losses (any sort) by both Bridgeport and Lowell, or with an overtime loss and regulation losses by both Bridgeport and Lowell.

(4) Norfolk needs a win against Hershey to have hope for survival, then needs Bridgeport and Lowell to lose out in regulation. The Admirals clinch fourth place with a point, or with a Binghamton loss of any sort.

Interlude: It’s still mathematically possible for seven Atlantic teams to have a better record than the fourth-place team in the East. If the Admirals lose by three goals, if Binghamton doesn’t win both games against Wilkes-Barre, and if both Hartford and Providence win their final games, then Hartford would have 83 points (that’s six), and Providence would be dead-even tied with Norfolk at 82 with 38 wins. They didn’t play in the season series, and under said circumstances, Providence would have no worse than a minus-11 goal differential, which would be better than Norfolk’s minus-12. (That’s seven.) This was, until Bridgeport’s win, the only way Providence remained alive, as noted to the Providence Journal by Jason Chaimovitch on Thursday when the hometown paper declared “The Bruins is Dead.”

Meanwhile… should we go there? Oh, heck, it’s 5 in the morning; let’s make this even more fun. Let’s say Norfolk and Providence end up dead even, somehow, in goal differential. (Easy: Norfolk loses by two, Providence wins two one-goal games. Done.) So that’s the third tiebreaker, unbroken. Next is goals in the season series: 0-0. Next is better conference record. Both teams went 3-1 outside the conference (Manitoba for the Admirals, Abbotsford for Providence), so that’s 76 points in 76 games for both: That is even as well. The final tiebreaker is a “Conference call – Board of Governors.” In the incredibly unlikely event that this occurs, I am gonna beat the drum so hard for that conference call.

As you can tell, goals scored, on its own, is not among the tiebreakers. Even so, the teams could still end up with identical GF and GA totals. Right now, Providence is 204-217, and Norfolk is 203-212. How do you like that?

Anyway, only seven Atlantic teams could finish ahead of E4, because A8, Springfield, won’t. But we saw what the Falcons did to the so-called class of the division. There’s imbalance somewhere.

Say, this list isn’t so handy-dandy anymore, is it? Where were we? Oh, yeah.

(5) Binghamton could move up to fourth with two wins against Wilkes-Barre and a Norfolk regulation loss. It is otherwise stuck in fifth.

(6) Syracuse clinched sixth place Friday with its overtime loss to Hamilton. The Crunch and Adirondack could both finish with 73 points and 33 wins if Syracuse loses to Rochester in regulation and the Phantoms beat Albany, but the Crunch dominated the season series.

(7) Adirondack is last among everyone not named Springfield — goal differential should put it behind Grand Rapids, should it come to that — and some of its players got it handed to them by John Paddock in Glens Falls last night, as Tim McManus reports.


We understand it exists. Who knew?

(Actually, they’re closer to set. Chicago-Milwaukee and Texas-Rockford in the West; the higher seeds will hope it goes differently than it did on Friday. Hamilton and Rochester are locked into N1 and N2, while Abbotsford’s magic number for third over Manitoba is two. Manitoba’s magic number, with the tiebreaker but only one game remaining instead of Abbotsford’s two to play, is three. A few other non-playoff positions are up for grabs, but I’m tired.)

Michael Fornabaio