Breaking down everything that is left to be decided on the final weekend of the regular season in AUS hockey
HALIFAX, NS – The AUS Hockey seasons are just about over. Nuts, right? Well, the real season is just beginning.
The second half has flown by as playoff spots have been clinched, FISU gold medals won and other surprises here and there. And with that all passed by, the conference engages in its first full playoff season since 2020.
We don’t know any playoff matchups yet heading into the final games on Friday and Saturday. So before the best-of-three quarterfinals kick off next week, let’s look at what’s left to be decided in the standings this week.
AUS Men’s Division
Much like pre-pandemic, every AUS Hockey team in the men’s division, less the Dalhousie Tigers, made it into the dance. The order’s not much different, either. The UNB Reds rule all, with historically successful teams such as the SMU Huskies and StFX X-Men finishing high up.
The UPEI Panthers — this year’s U Cup hosts — wrap up a very impressive regular season that could see them locking up a first-round bye. In spots five and six are teams moving in opposite directions: the struggling Moncton Aigles Bleus, who have lost 13 of their last 14 games, and the Acadia Axemen, winners of five of their last eight.
Two spots are guaranteed heading into the final regular season weekend: UNB in first and StFX in fourth. Now what? Here’s where SMU and UPEI — currently fighting it out for the second-place spot and a first-round bye — could place based on the weekend’s remaining results. The Panthers hold the tiebreaker.
- SMU clinches second place + first-round bye if:
- SMU gathers two points in its final two games (vs StFX Friday, at Dalhousie Saturday) OR
- SMU earns one more point AND UPEI loses at UNB in any fashion
- UPEI loses at UNB Friday in regulation
- UPEI holds the tiebreaker over SMU. It clinches second place + first-round bye if:
- It wins at UNB Friday AND SMU fails to earn at least two points this weekend OR
- UPEI loses to UNB in overtime/shootout AND SMU loses its final two games in regulation
Whoever finishes lower will clinch third place in the standings, plus home ice in the quarterfinals.
The other tiebreaker yet to be decided is between Moncton and Acadia for fifth place. The higher-ranking team will travel to Antigonish to play X in round one, while the other takes the lower finishing of UPEI and SMU.
Moncton sits in fifth place right now, but Acadia is a point behind with a game in hand. The Axemen also hold the tiebreaker.
- Moncton clinches fifth place — and a date with the X-Men — if:
- Moncton wins vs UNB Saturday AND Acadia fails to earn three points in its final two games (vs Dalhousie Friday, at StFX Saturday) OR
- Moncton loses in overtime/shootout vs UNB AND Acadia fails to earn two points in its final two games OR
- Acadia loses its final two games in regulation
- Acadia clinches fifth place — and a date with the X-Men — if:
- It gathers three points in its final two games OR
- It gathers two points AND Moncton loses in any fashion vs UNB OR
- It gathers one point AND Moncton loses vs UNB in regulation
AUS Women’s Division
Slightly less is yet to be decided in AUS hockey in the women’s division’s final weekend. UNB is all-in on a conference title repeat, cruising to a first-place finish and a first-round bye. The StFX X-Women also seal their spot in the AUS semifinals.
UPEI and SMU both follow close behind and like their men’s team counterparts, will fight for the higher ranking. The Dal Tigers, while just two points behind their Halifax rivals, will finish fifth as their regular season schedule has ended. And as we learned Wednesday night, Moncton has survived a scare from the St. Thomas Tommies to clinch the sixth and final AUS playoff berth.
Spots one, two, five and six are taken. Left is who finishes in spots three and four, with team three playing Moncton in the quarterfinals and team four taking the higher-finishing Dal. UPEI holds that spot now by just a point over SMU. Both teams have two games left, with the Huskies holding the tiebreaker.
UPEI clinches third place and a quarterfinal matchup against Moncton if:
- UPEI wins its final two games (vs UNB Friday and Mount Allison Saturday) OR
- UPEI takes three points in its final two games AND SMU fails to win both of its final two games (at Moncton Friday, at STU Saturday) OR
- UPEI takes two points over the weekend AND SMU takes fewer than three OR
- UPEI takes one point over the weekend AND SMU does the same OR
- SMU loses its final two games in regulation
SMU clinches third place and a quarterfinal matchup against Moncton if:
- SMU wins its final two games AND UPEI fails to do the same OR
- SMU comes up with three points AND UPEI two OR
- SMU earns two points AND UPEI one OR
- SMU earns one point AND UPEI loses each of its remaining games in regulation