Judgement Weekend: Every Way The EIHL Title Race Can Be Decided, In One Easy Lesson

So, here we are. 50 games played already, and with two to go any one of three teams (Sheffield, Cardiff and Braehead) can still lift the EIHL league title this weekend. A weekend of high drama, tension and frantic mathematics lies ahead as fans try to work out how every goal and situation will affect the EIHL league table.

Well, now you don’t have to. Because Chasing Dragons does it for you. Get ready to have your brain hurt…it’s the EIHL title race, explained, with every possible result catered for!

PART ONE: THE EASY BIT.

If Sheffield or Cardiff win both their games this weekend, they are champions. That’s perhaps the only certainty within this group, and it’s brought to us by the wonders of the EIHL fixture list, which has one title rival finishing their season against another, at home, on a Saturday night.

If Sheffield win both their games this weekend, here’s how the table will look, assuming Braehead win both theirs also.

SHEFF WIN BOTH GAMES
TEAM GAMES PLAYED POINTS
Sheffield 52 74
Braehead 52 73
Cardiff 52 72

That’s so easy, we don’t even need to look into regulation wins and tiebreakers, do we?

Let’s say, however, that Cardiff win both. Then the result is that Cardiff win the title, but they do so by the narrowest of margins…either by one point from Braehead or by either one or two points from Sheffield.

CARDIFF WIN BOTH GAMES
TEAM GAMES PLAYED POINTS
Cardiff 52 74
Braehead 52 73
Sheffield 52 72

By the same token, if Cardiff and Sheffield both only win one game, and lose the other in regulation or OT this weekend, and Braehead win both, then the Clan win the title, although in this case it’s by one point. Tiebreakers will then come into play to decide which team gets the CHL spot-more than likely regulation wins or wins:

BRAEHEAD WIN BOTH GAMES, C/S BOTH LOSE ONE
TEAM GAMES PLAYED POINTS
Braehead 52 73
Cardiff 52 72
Sheffield 52 72

Whether or not the win in regulation is in the Sheffield/Cardiff game or not will determine who takes the 2nd spot in this scenario, as it’ll come down to results between the two clubs. But Braehead will be champions.

Let’s also bear in mind that as far as regulation wins (the first tiebreaker) goes, Braehead already have four more than both Sheffield and Cardiff, so, in ANY tiebreaker situation involving Clan, they will have the advantage, irrespective of any other results over the weekend).

That, ladies and gents, is the easy bit. Now, let’s work forward from tonight, using all four possible outcomes of the Sheffield/Nottingham clash as a starting point. NOTE: ANY Sheffield win v Nottingham tonight will mean Braehead need to win both games to have a chance at the title, so to save space going forward, we are assuming that if Sheffield beat Nottingham, Braehead will win on Saturday also in all scenarios.

We already know that any Sheffield win v Cardiff on Saturday will ensure them the title, whatever happens. We also know that a Cardiff win in regulation will open the door to both Braehead and the Devils on Sunday.

So, let’s look at the table situations based on tonight’s results.

SCENARIO 1: SHEFFIELD BEAT NOTTINGHAM IN REGULATION

Here is how the top three will look if Sheffield beat Nottingham in regulation tonight:

SHEFFIELD BEAT NOTTINGHAM (regulation) GAMES PLAYED POINTS REG WINS WINS
Sheffield 51 72 30 34
Cardiff 50 70 28 33
Braehead 50 69 33 31

Scenario 1a) CARDIFF WIN IN REGULATION ON SATURDAY

TEAMS GAMES PLAYED POINTS REG WINS WINS
Sheffield 52 72 30 34
Cardiff 51 72 29 34
Braehead 51 71 31/32 34

Scenario 1b) CARDIFF WIN IN OT 

TEAMS GAMES PLAYED POINTS REG WINS WINS
Sheffield 52 73 30 34
Cardiff 51 72 28 34
Braehead 51 71 31/32 34

From this point, Cardiff are in an incredibly strong position. A win v Nottingham of any type means the title goes to South Wales. For Braehead to win the title, they will need to win on Saturday, then better Cardiff’s result on Sunday. Sheffield now need both teams to lose in regulation on Sunday in order to claim the title. However the one wrinkle here-if Sheffield claim a point on Saturday night, then they finish above Cardiff in the table, and take a CHL place, again on tiebreakers.

SCENARIO 2: SHEFFIELD BEAT NOTTINGHAM IN OT/PS

Here’s how that changes the top three:

SHEFFIELD BEAT NOTTINGHAM (OT) GAMES PLAYED POINTS REG WINS WINS
Sheffield 51 72 29 34
Cardiff 50 70 28 33
Braehead 50 69 31 33

So again, we move to Saturday’s scenarios if Cardiff win. Again, for the purposes of brevity, we are assuming Braehead win on Saturday night. If they don’t, they’re out of the race for top.

Scenario 2a: Cardiff win in regulation:

TEAMS GAMES PLAYED POINTS REG WINS WINS
Cardiff 51 72 29 34
Sheffield 51 72 29 34
Braehead 52 71 31 33

This scenario is a convoluted one, thanks to the possible permutations. Simple things first…if Braehead better Cardiff’s result on Sunday, then they take the title. If Cardiff win, they take the title. However, if Cardiff and Braehead both lose on Sunday in this scenario, it starts to get REALLY convoluted. Sheffield and Cardiff are now level on points, regulation wins, league wins AND league record (4-4). They’re also dead level in all the criteria taken from those…which means we’re down to the EIGHTH possible criteria…who has the better away record. It’s Cardiff. So – in this scenario, it will be the closest EIHL finish ever, and the Devils will take the title. However, if Cardiff win in OT on Saturday night, then they will need at least a point on Sunday v Nottingham – a regulation loss will give Sheffield the title on regulation wins.

SCENARIO 3: SHEFFIELD LOSE TO NOTTINGHAM IN OT

SHEFFIELD LOSE TO NOTTINGHAM (OT) GAMES PLAYED POINTS REG WINS WINS
Sheffield 51 71 29 33
Cardiff 50 70 28 33
Braehead 50 69 31 33

This one is where things really start to get fun.

A Cardiff win on Saturday of any kind in this scenario means they only need to equal or better Braehead’s result on Sunday to win the title. It also means that Cardiff can win the title on Saturday night if they win and Braehead lose. However, it also means that even if Cardiff lose to Sheffield in OT on Saturday, they can still win the title on Sunday with a win of any kind, or in fact a better result that Braehead. The Clan, meanwhile, will have to win and hope Cardiff lose in regulation v Nottingham to take the title.

SCENARIO 4: SHEFFIELD LOSE TO NOTTINGHAM IN REGULATION.

SHEFFIELD LOSE TO NOTTINGHAM (REG) GAMES PLAYED POINTS REG WINS WINS
Sheffield 51 70 29 33
Cardiff 50 70 28 33
Braehead 50 69 31 33

This one is easy. Cardiff simply need 3 points to win the title (a win and an OT loss will do the job, whichever order they come in) unless Braehead win both games over the weekend. The Clan will need to better both the Devils’ and Steelers results at least once to finish top.

That’s all the title scenarios worked out…Now, here is who holds the tiebreaker in any tie…

Braehead hold the advantage over either Sheffield or Cardiff in any tiebreaker

STEELERS/DEVILS – STEELERS (unless Cardiff beat the Steelers in regulation on Saturday-then Devils hold the advantage).

To add to this-if Nottingham beat Sheffield they win the Erhardt Conference and thus the 2nd seed in the playoffs. The team that finishes 2nd will take the 2nd CHL place. If that team is Sheffield or Cardiff, however, they will be seeded third for the playoffs if Nottingham beat Sheffield.

Does your head hurt yet?

It’s only the beginning of a title-deciding EIHL weekend, but at least now, you know all the possible ways it can play out.

Buckle up. It’s gonna be a wild one.

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