Do Or Die: Breaking Down The EIHL’s Explosive Final Weekend

CAESAR: “The Ides of March have come” SOOTHSAYER: “Aye, but they have not yet gone”

William Shakespeare: “Julius Caesar”

“And no matter how hard I play, Neverland never seemed so far away”

Ashbury Heights: “Beautiful Scum”

Last weekend marked the Ides of March, a date that has lived long in history for the (previously predicted) murder and fall of an emperor. While we didn’t see any blatant murder on the ice in EIHL play (although Brent Henley attempting to remove Cale Tanaka’s head through whiplash with a cross-check was a pretty good go at an assassination) we did see Fife confound any predictions of the killing of their playoff hopes. But as the soothsayer hinted to Caesar, the danger of the Flyers’ season being dealt a fatal blow isn’t gone yet. Nor is it gone for Hull, Cardiff, or Coventry.

The EIHL playoff race is going to the final weekend. And no matter how hard they fight this weekend, one of Coventry, Hull, Fife or Cardiff is destined to fall by the wayside in the closest playoff race we’ve seen in the EIHL for a good few years.

So-let’s break this thing down. All the way down.

STANDINGS:

Coventry: 52 points, 2 games left (SAT: Sheffield away, SUN: Cardiff at home)

Cardiff: 51 points, 1 game left (SUN: Coventry, Away)

Hull: 50 points, 1 game left (SUN: Sheffield, at home)

Fife: 49 points, two games left (SAT: Braehead away, Sunday, Braehead at home)

There’s the situation now. Now-let’s look at how things will work, as we dive into a labyrinth of tiebreakers, possible outcomes and heartbreak. One thing we do know-the race will be going down to the final day.

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first. If Fife lose both games, they’re out of the playoffs. If Coventry take at least a point, they’re in the POs.

Right then. With both those truths already self-evident, it starts to get complicated. Let’s break it down. Thankfully, on the Saturday we only have to consider two games.

SATURDAY

If Fife lose in regulation in Braehead or Coventry take a point, then the fight comes down to Fife, Hull and Cardiff.

However, if Sheffield DO win in regulation and Fife take a point of any kind, then we have a four way fight on the final day for three playoff places, and any one of four can still miss out.

SUNDAY

Again, let’s get the easy stuff out of the way early. Irrespective of the results the night before, any point gained by Coventry against Cardiff will see them through. However, since we’ve said that if either Fife lose on Saturday or Coventry take a point then it’s a three way fight, let’s first assume that Coventry lose in regulation on Saturday, & Fife win in regulation. Also, given that Coventry are playing Cardiff on the final day, any Cardiff result is obviously the reverse for Coventry. Now then-to run through ALL the possible final-day scenarios. Let’s start with the easy one:

1. Fife lose, Cardiff lose in regulation, Hull lose in regulation:

Final Order: Coventry 54, Cardiff 51, Fife 51, Hull 50 (HULL MISS OUT ON POINTS)

2. Fife lose, Cardiff lose in OT, Hull lose in regulation

Final Order: Coventry 54, Cardiff 52, Fife 51, Hull 50 (HULL MISS OUT ON POINTS)

3. Fife lose in OT, Cardiff win in regulation, Hull lose

Final Order: Cardiff 53, Coventry 52, Fife 52, Hull 51 or 50: HULL MISS OUT ON POINTS

4, Fife win, Cardiff win, Hull Win:

FINAL ORDER: Cardiff 53, Fife 53, Hull 52, Coventry 52. COVENTRY MISS OUT ON REGULATION WINS

5. Fife win, Cardiff win, Hull win

Final Order: Cardiff 53, Hull 52, Coventry 52, Fife 51: FIFE MISS OUT ON POINTS

If Fife have won in overtime on Saturday, does that change anything should they end up level on points with any of the other three? Yes-because it means that if Cardiff and Hull or indeed all three end up level on points, the Devils are out.

Now let’s assume Fife (either) and Coventry (in regulation) have both lost on Saturday.

If Fife lose in regulation both nights, they’re out irrespective of other results. If Coventry gain a point from Cardiff, they’re in.

However, if Fife have gained a point in Braehead, things are still very much open and any one of three can still miss out:

5. Fife win (in regulation), Cardiff win, Hull win

Final Order: Cardiff 53, Hull 52, Coventry 52, Fife 52: FIFE MISS OUT ON RESULTS V COV

6. Fife win, Cardiff win, Hull lose

Final Order: Cardiff 53, Coventry 52, Fife 52, Hull 51 or 50): HULL MISS OUT ON POINTS

Fife lose in OT, Cardiff win, Hull lose in OT:

Final Order: Cardiff 53, Coventry 52, Hull 51, Fife 51: FIFE MISS OUT ON REGULATION WINS

Fife lose in OT, Cardiff lose in OT, Hull lose in regulation:

Final Order: Coventry 54, Cardiff 52, Fife 51, Hull 50: (HULL MISS OUT ON POINTS)

8. Fife lose in OT, Cardiff lose in regulation, Hull lose in regulation:

Final Order: Coventry 54, Hull 51, Cardiff 51, Fife 51 (FIFE MISS OUT ON REGULATION WINS)

9. Fife lose in OT, Cardiff lose in regulation, Hull win:

Final order: Coventry 54, Hull 52, Cardiff 51, Fife 51 (FIFE MISS OUT ON REGULATION WINS)

10. Fife win, Cardiff lose in OT, Hull win:

Final order: Coventry 54, Hull 52, Fife 52, Cardiff 52 (CARDIFF MISS OUT ON TOTAL WINS)

11. Fife win, Cardiff lose in regulation, Hull win:

Final order: Coventry 54, Hull 52, Fife 52, Cardiff 51 (CARDIFF MISS OUT ON POINTS)

12. Fife win, Cardiff lose in regulation, Hull lose in OT:

Final Order: Coventry 54, Fife 52, Hull 52, Cardiff 52: (CARDIFF MISS OUT ON REGULATION WINS)

Phew. That’s a hell of a workout to keep track of, isn’t it? You might want a crib sheet for that one.

Obviously this has been compiled from me looking at the EIHL table and trying to work out every possible scenario, so there may be gaps. But if you go in armed with this to the EIHL’s final weekend, you should know which team is going to be the one left bleeding on the floor with their playoff hopes murdered by the end of it.

Prepare your nails, EIHL fans-it could be a very long and tense final day.

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