Thanks to a reader commenting on this morning's AUS preview, below we take a detailed look at the emerging playoff picture in Atlantic Canada where a three-team race between UNB, UPEI and Acadia for the final two playoff spots is developing with Memorial needing a big weekend at UPEI today and tomorrow to be more strongly considered. In fourth place is Saint Mary's, comfortable presently but the Huskies could find themselves struggling for the playoffs if they hit a slump, especially given how difficult their final 5 games of the season are.
AUS Standings with games & points available remaining
Cape Breton 14-1, 38 points (5 games remaining; 16 available points: at SMU (2 x 2), at UNB (4), UNB (4), UPEI (4)). Capers control their own destiny; magic number is 9 points)
Dalhousie 8-5, 28 points (7 games remaining; 18 available points: X (4), UNB (4), ACA (2) SMU (2 x 2), at Acadia (2 x 2)). Tonight's game vs. X in my opinion basically decides second place in the AUS. A Dal win gives them 32 points, meaning Tigers would need only 6 more points to clinch second (Dal would own the season series with X in the event of a tie). See below in X section for possibilities if X wins.
St. FX 10-4, 26 points (6 games remaining; 16 available points: at Dal (4), ACA (4), at Mem (2 x 2), UNB (2), UPEI (2)). After tonight's Dal game, very good chance X-Men can run the table the rest of the way and grab at least 12 more points and with a win tonight at Dal 16 points, which would put them at 42, meaning Dal would have to win out themselves just to secure a second place tie.
Saint Mary's 6-9, 18 points (5 games remaining; 10 available points: CBU (2 x 2), at Dal (2), at Aca (2), at Dal (2)). Huskies are in a precarious spot given the difficulty of their schedule and so few points remaining. Granted all three teams behind them would have to get hot. Winning two of their remaining 5 games should get the Huskies to the tournament.
UNB 6-7, 14 points (7 games remaining; 22 available points: at Aca (4), at Dal (4), UPEI (2 x 2), CBU (4), at X (2), at CBU (4)). A lot of points are available to the V-Reds however UNB faces the stiffest schedule of all the final contenders. A win at Acadia tonight reduces somewhat the importance of a sweep next weekend against UPEI.
Acadia 4-8, 12 points (8 games remaining; 24 available points: UNB (4), at Dal (2), at X (4), DAL (2 x 2), SMU (2) MUN (2 x 4). Axemen would make things more comfortable for themselves tonight with a win over UNB but their remaining schedule is reasonable with several home games including 8 points on the table vs. MUN.
UPEI 4-10, 12 points (6 games remaining; 12 available points: MUN (2 x 2), at UNB (2 x 2), at CBU (4), at X (2). Panthers need to sweep MUN and then at least gain a split, but more likely need a sweep, at UNB next weekend to reasonably stay in the race.
Memorial 3-11, 8 points (6 games remaining; 16 available points: at UPEI (2 x 2), X (2 x 2), at Aca (2 x 4). By winning out, the Sea-hawks would finish with 24 points but that would mean winning both this weekend at UPEI and then sweeping X at home and then sweeping at Acadia on the final weekend of the season.
- Cape Breton easily in control of their own destiny
- Winner of X at Dal tonight is clear favorite for second place and first round bye at AUS tournament
- Reasonably speaking, 20 points should be enough to make the playoffs; if so, Saint Mary's and Acadia are the favorites for spots 4 and 5 and UNB and UPEI will fight it out for the final spot with a date against the loser of tonight's X at Dal encounter awaiting them in the first round of the AUS tournament.
- Next weekend's UPEI at UNB Friday and Saturday doubleheader should decide which of those teams finishes 6th, especially if Acadia defeats UNB in Wolfville tonight. A UNB win tonight would make it much more difficult for UPEI.