A lot of the focus has been on the Atlanta Capitals and Point Mallard Ducks, battling for the NA3HL South Division title, but the Texas Jr. Brahmas are right in the mix as well heading into the final weekend. All three teams have a legitimate shot, making this coming weekend one to remember.
Let’s take a look at how things stack up. The Brahmas strengthened their position with Sunday’s solid 15-2 dismantling of Sugar Land, the team who awaits the #1 seed when the playoffs begin. Texas needs to win each of their three remaining games (at Louisiana, who sports a record of 9-33-2) to have a chance at the title. Anything less than 6 points means the Brahmas can do no better than second place.
Atlanta and Point Mallard go head to head in Decatur, AL, where the Ducks blanked the Caps in back to back 3-0 wins in late January. The challenge before the Capitals is daunting, as the Ducks are 18-1-2 at home. The one regulation loss was a fluke loss to Evansville, a team that has only won two games all season, and the two extra session losses were to Nashville, one each in overtime and a shootout. Then again, the Capitals have been good on the road, only losing 2 in Nashville, the 2 in Point Mallard, and one at North Iowa.
There are mathematically 9 possible ways for the weekend in Decatur to play out, and the top three teams each have three of those scenarios naming them champions. The only way for Atlanta to win the division is to collect all 4 points. Likewise, the only way for Point Mallard to win the division is to collect all four points. In any scenario in which the Ducks and Caps split, then the title goes to Texas, provided they are able to sweep Louisiana. There is one scenario in which the third level tiebreaker between Atlanta and Point Mallard would be used, which is head to head goal differential. The first tie breaker is total wins, and the second is head to head. The Caps would own both tiebreakers if it got to that point, and the third level would depend on the scores of this weekend’s games. One other interesting note: if Atlanta doesn't win the division, 5 of the other 6 possible scenarios have them finishing in third place.
As confusing as it seems now, all will be clear come Sunday. Capitals Head Coach Anthony Bohn sees it as a simple proposition. “We’re in charge of our own destiny”, he says. “We win two, we win the division. Simple. Wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The battles will take place on March 12 and 13, and will be available to view on FASTHockey.com.
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