#USPHLPlayoffs – The Watch List: February 25, 2023

Updating yesterday’s Watch List:
Today, we have five NCDC games, 10 Elite and 25 Premier games. In total, we have 39 NCDC, 56 Premier and 23 Elite remaining.
A lot should be decided today.
A note on playoffs:
For Premier Divisions who have multiple rounds, and the New England Elite, playoffs start next weekend.
For Divisions with single rounds including all other Elite Divisions, playoffs start March 10th.
In the South, Mercer (third) hosts Wilkes-Barre (seventh)
Connecticut (fourth) hosts the Hitmen (first)
Rockets (fifth) hosts P.A.L. (second)
The Rangers are one point behind Mercer with a game in hand. The Rockets are two points behind  Connecticut and have two games in hand on them.
The Hitmen are the only team that have clinched. P.A.L. is eight points behind them in the race, so today’s results won’t settle first.
A P.A.L. win or a Mercer loss will clinch a spot for P.A.L. P.A.L. holds the tiebreaker. No one can be eliminated today
In the North, Junior Bruins (sixth) host Islanders Hockey Club (seventh). A loss by either team will eliminate them.
Cyclones (third) host the Advantage. Cyclones could bump the idle Kings who are 2nd and 1 point up.
Atlanta (second) hosts Tampa (third). Last two games this weekend for both, Atlanta lead Tampa by a point. They will face each other in the postseason.
Eels (first) host Blades (fourth), Palm Beach (fifth) host Columbia.
Palm Beach, with a game in hand, trail the Blades by one point for the fourth and final spot. The two teams play each other twice next weekend. It can’t be decided until then.
Pics (fourth) host South Shore (eighth).
A Pics win will lock up fourth and set up the Bandits in fifth as playoff visitors.
Hershey (sixth) hosts Wilkes-Barre (second)
Elmira (seventh) hosts the Aviators (first)
PAL (eighth) hosts Utica (fourth)
Hampton hosts the Hitmen (10th)
First, a P.A.L. win or a Hitmen loss gives P.A.L. the 8th and final slot. They would visit the Aviators in a Long Island showdown.
The Elmira and Hershey match-ups repeat tomorrow, when both will close their seasons.
Elmira is down by one point and will visit Wilkes-Barre, unless they pull an upset this weekend and Hershey doesn’t.
A Utica loss gives the idle Rockets possession of third. If Utica wins, the Jr. Comets will need a two-game sweep next weekend to finish third, when they host the Rockets for two games.
The Ox (39 points) host Isanti (41 points)
Riverkings (fourth) host Steele County (41 points)
Last game of the season for all four teams.
An Ox loss means seventh place and a trip to the Squatch. If that is coupled with a Blades loss, the fifth place Outlaws visit the Riverkings and the Blades visit the Moose.
That’s one of eight possible outcomes if the three games end in regulation.
If the Ox win, they hold the tiebreaker over Isanti
Steele hold the tiebreaker over Isanti if either both win or both lose.
The H2H is non-deciding if the Ox and Blades are tied, but the Blades would take it on Most Wins.
All three teams are visitors next weekend, so where to is what’s at stake.
Motor City (third) host Cincinnati
Crush (fifth) host MJDP (two)
An MJDP win locks them into 2nd and has them hosting Decatur.
A loss has them in the 2-3-4 conversation with Motor City and the idle Cougars.
All three teams have home ice.
Las Vegas clinched second place and home ice yesterday.
San Diego (fourth) hosts Ontario (third) today
San Diego are one point back with a game in hand.
They need to win today to take third.
Ontario has the tiebreaker, so an OT loss won’t be enough to keep them in the hunt for third.
Pueblo (fourth) hosts Vernal
Utah (first) hostsProvo (fifth)
Idaho Falls (sixth) hosts Northern Colorado (third)
If NoCo win, they will finish third and Pueblo will finish fourth.
An Eagles’ loss and a Bulls win won’t clinch third for Pueblo today, but will keep things in play.
Provo and Idaho Falls are neck and neck for fifth and sixth. Idaho Falls are a point behind with a game in hand.
Both teams are traveling to Colorado for the first round.
Bellingham and Rogue Valley are tied for 4th with 20 points and two games remaining against each other.
Whoever gets the most points this weekend goes to Vernal next weekend.
If they split, Rogue Valley gets the nod on the tiebreaker.
Carolina (fifth) hosts Charlotte (first)
Potomac (second) hosts Richmond (third)
A Charlotte win or a Potomac loss solidifies first and second.
Nashville sit in fourth and are done for the year.
Carolina are 3 points behind with three games remaining with the Rush. Carolina hold the tiebreaker vs. Nashville. Nashville can only wait to see if the Rush can help them out.
In New England, there is nothing left to be decided. Not so in the Mid-Atlantic.
Elmira (sixth) hosts the Aviators (fourth)
The Rockets (third) host P.A.L. (fifth)
The Hitmen (second) visit Hampton Roads
The next Hitmen win or Aviator loss will clinch second and home ice.
A P.A.L. loss and and an Aviator win will eliminate P.A.L. and clinch Aviators and Rockets
In Florida, Atlanta hosts Tampa (second), Palm Beach hosts Columbia (fifth)
Atlanta and Palm Beach are tied for third. Palm Beach have two in hand and will play them next weekend (Hurricane Ian postponement)
Palm Beach and Atlanta have clinched. We’re just watching and waiting to see who draws the Eels in the playoffs.
Potomac (third) hosts Richmond (fourth)
Carolina (first) hosts Charlotte (second)
First and fourth are set. With two games left each, the Patriots are a point behind the Rush. Their weekend matches will determine who gets last change when they meet in March.
Their H2H tiebreaker doesn’t solve anything, so let’s hope the standings do.