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Just as we thought might happen last night, the first two formal playoff eliminations were handed out, and another team punched their ticket into the 16-team tournament that begins in less than a month.

Before we start our breakdowns, huge thanks to our statistician Joe Alsman for providing the stats for this piece. Joe provides our team with a wealth of statistical information during the season, and it’s great to have him as part of Team Sin Bin.

For those new to hockey and not sure of how the magic numbers work, they represent the number of “points” needed to clinch. Of which these can be garnered in any combination. The ultimate is a win by a team in front combined with a regulation loss by a team behind. That gains four points for the team ahead. Combinations of wins/losses can result in 4, 3, 2, 1, or no points gained.

Win – Regulation Loss: 4 point gain
Win – OT/SO Loss: 3 point gain
Win – Win: 2 point gain
OT/SO Loss – Regulation Loss: 1 point gain
Anything else is 0 points gained.

Let’s start the breakdowns!

Eastern Conference

NORTH DIVISION

  • The top three teams in the division are separated by four points.
  • With their loss last night, Reading could not move into a tie for second place with Adirondack
  • Wheeling is four points back of Reading with 69 points, but the Nailers have an eight-point lead on the Worcester Railers. (Worcester also has three games in-hand on the Nailers, which could come in huge in the coming weeks.)
  • With a win Tuesday night, Brampton’s tragic number stays at nine but, there is still an outside shot they could be eliminated from playoff contention this week.

SOUTH DIVISION

  • Florida and South Carolina have already clinched playoff berths
  • Orlando’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth is seven, while Atlanta’s is 14. The Solar Bears could clinch a playoff berth this week.
  • Norfolk and Jacksonville continue to lurk behind the Gladiators in the race for fourth, both sitting more than six points behind Atlanta.

Western Conference

CENTRAL DIVISION

  • Chances for Toledo to clinch the central division this week took a big hit Wednesday night, with Fort Wayne winning in Reading.
  • The Komets clinched a playoff berth for the fifth straight year with an overtime win last night in Reading
  • Kalamazoo could not capitalize on one of their games-in-hand on Kansas City Tuesday night, losing to the Brampton Beast 5-3. Despite having the same number of points and one fewer win than the Kansas City Mavericks, the Kalamazoo Wings hold the fourth spot in the division thanks to having more ROW (non-shootout wins) than the Mavericks. The Wings hold an edge in that department 29-to-27.
  • Quad City has been eliminated from playoff contention

MOUNTAIN DIVISION

  • The Eagles’ magic number for clinching the Mountain Division title is at 11.
  • Idaho’s magic number is still at eight and there is a slight chance the Steelheads’ can clinch a playoff berth this weekend.
  • Wichita’s magic number for clinching a playoff berth is 15
  • Allen cut the deficit to third place Wichita down to two points with a win over Rapid City last night. The Americans are three points up on Tulsa for fourth place, but Allen heads to Colorado for a pair this weekend.
  • Rapid City will be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss tonight.

Current Playoff Bracket

The bracket from yesterday remains unchanged. Here is how the bracket would look if the playoffs were to start today:

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