The Playoff Push: Feb. 17, 2024

In The Playoff Push, we will take a look at the busiest game days’ most integral games in regards to teams clinching playoffs or clinching specific playoff berths, as we head down the stretch toward the end of the regular season in early March.



8 games today

Ogden and Provo are idle.

In the Atlantic, everyone except P.A.L. is clustered between .405 and .537. The Jersey Hitmen and WBS Knights both won yesterday, so today, a Hitmen (No. 6) win against the Bruins (No. 4 New England) and a WBS (No. 5) loss to Twin City (No. 6 New England), would lift the Hitmen out of the non-playoff spot for at least a day.

New England is split into three teams above .500 and three below. Utica’s (No. 3) magic number vs. both the Northern Cyclones (5) and Twin City Thunder (6) is 4 without looking at tiebreakers. All three teams won yesterday. In fact, they were the only 3 New England teams that won yesterday out of the six.

If the Utica Jr. Comets are going to clinch a berth this weekend, they may need to win both games and not worry about what others do. Today, Utica plays P.A.L. (No. 1 Atlantic), the Cyclones (No. 5) take on Mercer (No. 2 Atlantic) and Twin City (No. 6) face WBS (No. 5 Atlantic) in the nightcap.

Still slightly bizarre, but if the Cyclones and Twin City each lose their two remaining South Shore Kings Showcase games, Utica clinches a berth regardless. Let’s see where we are tomorrow.

In the Mountain, the Rock Springs Grizzlies will officially finish sixth. Pueblo (No. 5) gained a little ground on Idaho Falls (No. 4) yesterday. The Spud Kings lead the Bulls by three points with two games in hand. But Idaho Falls’ magic number vs. Pueblo is still double digits – both teams still have a lot of miles to go.

The Spud Kings are five points behind Provo (No. 3) with a game in hand.

P.A.L.’s loss yesterday still leaves four teams chasing them for the Founders Cup (regular season championship trophy). This could change today with a P.A.L. win over Utica (No. 3 New England) and/or losses by the Islanders Hockey Club, South Shore Kings, Ogden Mustangs or Utah Outliers. P.A.L. has 73 points. Their nearest challenger, Ogden has 65.