After last weekend's results against the Odessa Jackalopes, the tables have turned for the Corpus Christi IceRays, who now trail the Jackalopes by the same margin they lead by heading into last weekend: two points. With just four games remaining in the 2015-16 regular season, every point and win matters for the IceRays' playoff hopes and that of the Jackalopes, who hold the advantage. Every change in point will alter the forecast, but the IceRays need to ultimately earn three more points than the Jackalopes over each of their final four games. Here are the scenarios based on the IceRays' results this weekend at home:
1. IceRays Sweep = Odessa cannot clinch, no matter their results
2. IceRays Split = Odessa can clinch with a sweep
3. IceRays Swept = Odessa can clinch with one win; IceRays stay alive with any combination of losses
The best result for the IceRays is Odessa being swept in any form, but tie-breaking scenarios could line up in the IceRays' favor depending on Odessa's losses. If the Jackalopes are swept in back-to-back games in overtime or a shootout, then those scenarios tip the scales. That would line up the IceRays and Jackalopes (without an overtime or shootout loss by Corpus Christi) with six overtime or shootout losses each, which means if the two teams end up tying in points at the end of the season, the tie-breaker would go to the IceRays. Here is a breakdown of tie-breaking scenarios:
1. Most Wins (Odessa currently owns)
2. Head-To-Head (Split: 6-4-2)
3. Head-To-Head Goal Differential (IceRays own +4)
4. Season Goal Differential (IceRays own by 3)
5. Coin Flip
The first tie-breaker would be wiped out with the same exact record, and with a split down the middle of the season series the spot would go to the third tie-breaker. The IceRays scored four more goals than the Jackalopes over their 12-game season series, thus the IceRays would gain the playoff spot based off that. However, the four-game schedule to close the season favors Odessa based on the year's results. The Jackalopes close the season with four-straight at the Ector County Coliseum, hosting the Lone Star Brahmas this weekend and the Amarillo Bulls next weekend. The Jackalopes are 3-7-0 against the Brahmas (2-2-0 at home) but are a strong 7-2-1 against the Bulls while maintaining a perfect record in regulation at home: 3-0-1. Overall, Odessa is 13-10-3 at home.
The IceRays, on the other hand, take on the Wichita Falls Wildcats, who have lost just 14 times this season and once against the IceRays in their last meeting. Corpus Christi will host the first two games at home then finish the season on the road one day ahead of the rest of the league on Thursday and Friday of next week. That means the IceRays can only focus on their own results should they still be alive in the playoff race heading into the final weekend. The Wildcats won't take the IceRays lightly still with playoff hopes of their own on the line. While they've already clinched a playoff spot and home ice advantage in the South Division Semifinals, the Wildcats can clinch the South Division Title with a win or a Lone Star Brahmas loss on Friday or Saturday, needing just two points to claim the division. The Corpus Christi-Wichita Falls and Lone Star-Odessa series this weekend will have direct effects on all four teams in the playoff forecast.
The only game this weekend without that chance: Topeka against Amarillo. The RoadRunners are locked in to the three-seed, and the Bulls are well out of playoff contention.
– Defend The Bend –