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The Playoff Push: Feb. 18, 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.

 

USPHL Premier

11 games today

In the Great Lakes, Buffalo jumped into fifth place. A Buffalo win today over the Cyclones will ensure home ice for the Columbus Mavericks (No. 4). They will host the team that emerges as fifth.

In the Pacific, Fresno clinched first and will host Bakersfield (No. 4). Ontario (No. 2) will host Las Vegas (No. 3). 

 In the Atlantic. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton clinched second yesterday and will host the Jersey Hitmen (No. 7). 

Hershey (No. 3), Elmira (No. 4) and P.A.L. (No. 5) are all tangled vying for two home ice advantages. Only P.A.L. play today…this may go down to the last games.

In the Midwest West, the Dells Ducks (No. 8) and Isanti Outlaws (No. 9) are battling for that eighth and final Midwest West spot. Isanti hosts Steele County (No. 6) this afternoon. A win catapults them into eighth, but they’d need to seal it on Feb. 24 against the Moose. The Ducks’ last game is on Wednesday at Steele County. 

A Squatch win today puts them in first above the idle Riverkings. There is still a three-way race for first in the MWW, but the Hudson Havoc (No. 3) need to get two points vs. the Minnesota Moose today to keep pace.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Moose (No. 4) will face the Minnesota Blue Ox (No. 5) in Round 1. It’s too tight to have the venue decided today and the Ox are idle until Friday.

Southeast Division: A Potomac win over Carolina (No. 3) clinches first place. Anything less has idle Charlotte needing a big finale next weekend in their three-game set. 

New England Division: Today, the Northern Cyclone (2) visit Springfield (6) in the only game.

The idle Islanders Hockey Club (No. 3) are a point away from clinching home ice. That could come on Thursday against the Pics or anytime Gatineau gives up a point in their three-game finale vs. Utica Jr. Comets (No. 1). We already know that Utica gets the bye and the Cyclones (No. 2) will host the Junior Bruins (No. 7)

Potomac, and Bellingham will both end their regular seasons today. 

 

USPHL Elite

6 games today

The WBS Knights and P.A.L. Jr. Islanders are tied for first in the Atlantic. WBS has a game in hand. The Hitmen, who are locked at fourth, play the Rockets Hockey Club (No. 3) today. P.A.L. hosts the Elmira Impact (No. 6).

The Florida Jr. Blades have 25 points. Palm Beach (No. 5) and Bold City (No. 6) each can achieve at most 25 points. Blades (4) play the Eels (3) today. The Blades hold the head-to-head tiebreaker on Palm Beach 10 points to 2, so the Jr. Blades only have to worry about Bold City. The Jr. Blades have a three-game set against Bold City next week, and a single point will get the Jr. Blades into that fourth playoff spot. 

Potomac and Carolina are tied for first in the Southeast. They play today in Potomac’s final game of the season. A Carolina win locks them into first. A loss means they need to take care of business next weekend vs. Charlotte. First place draws Hampton, second draws the aforementioned Charlotte.

In the Midwest, the Fort Wayne Spacemen (No. 4) visit the Motor City Gamblers (No. 3). The Spacemen are four points behind with 3 games in hand.

The Crush (No. 2) magic number vs. Fort Wayne for a first round bye is 3. The Crush host Decatur (No. 6) tomorrow. 

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