The View from the Rooster Jacket is a blog written by Ogden Mustangs Director of Broadcasting and Social Media, Jon McBride, where he shares some of the more detailed, behind-the-scenes and statistical analysis from within the Mustang organization. Catch Jon live during the game, calling all the action (usually in that yellow rooster jacket) on FASTHockey.com.
OK. Here we go. With just seven games left in the regular season, we’re officially in crunch time. It’s been a battle all season long at the top of the Western States Hockey League Mountain Division, and it’s not over yet, especially considering that the three teams face each other five more times still.
As of today, the standings look like this:
- 1st place: Colorado Jr. Eagles – 74 points
- 2nd place: Casper Coyotes – 73 points
- 3rd place: Ogden Mustangs – 66 points
Those placements are not set in stone, even this late in the season. Let’s take a look at each team and what you might want to know about them heading into this final stretch.
- Games remaining: 8
- Remaining schedule: at RoughRiders, vs. RoughRiders, at Moose, at Mustangs, at Moose, vs. Coyotes, vs. Coyotes, vs. Coyotes
- Motivation: Holding onto 1st place, not letting Casper or Ogden catch them
- Record vs. Coyotes and Mustangs: 1-1-1 vs. Coyotes, 3-2 vs. Mustangs, 4-3-1 combined
- Positives: Most games remaining of these three teams. The three games against the Coyotes are at home.
- Negatives: Top goaltender Austin Piquette has not played since Jan. 24.
- Best case scenario: They win out (or win at least 6 of their 8) to hold on to 1st place.
- Worst case scenario: They lose out and the Coyotes win 1 or Mustangs win 4 to pass them in the standings.
- Games remaining: 6
- Remaining schedule: at Moose, at Mustangs, at Moose, at Eagles, at Eagles, at Eagles
- Motivation: Trying to move into 1st place, not letting Ogden catch them
- Record vs. Eagles and Mustangs: 2-1 vs. Eagles, 1-3-1 vs. Mustangs, 3-4-1 combined
- Positives: Their offense is buzzing with one of the top lines in the WSHL – Thim, Vitolins, Stenbacka.
- Negatives: They have the fewest remaining games of these three teams. They have the most difficult schedule of these three teams. All of their remaining games are on the road. They have the worst combined record against these other two teams.
- Best case scenario: They win out and the Eagles lose at least 3 of their remaining games. Coyotes would take 1st and Eagles would take 2nd or 3rd.
- Worst case scenario: They lose out and the Mustangs win at least 4 of their remaining games. Mustangs would take 2nd and Coyotes would take 3rd.
- Games remaining: 7
- Remaining schedule: vs. Coyotes, vs. Stampede, vs. Eagles, vs. Stampede, vs. RoughRiders, vs. Evolution, vs. RoughRiders
- Motivation: Trying to catch the Coyotes for 2nd place, catching the Eagles for 1st isn’t mathematically impossible, but could be unlikely
- Record vs. Eagles and Coyotes: 2-2-1 vs. Eagles, 4-1 vs. Coyotes, 6-3-1 combined
- Positives: All remaining games are at home. Best combined record against the other two teams. High possibility of winning out.
- Negatives: No room for error if they hope to move up. Basically must win out.
- Best case scenario: Mustangs win out and Coyotes lose at least 3 of their remaining games and the Eagles lose at least 5.
- Worst case scenario: Mustangs lose out and remain in 3rd (with the two wins last weekend over the RoughRiders, there’s statistically no way they could reach the Mustangs now).
So there you have it. A bunch of numbers and a bunch of intriguing possibilities. So, what’s most likely to happen? Hop back onto the Facebook post and discus it with me. I’d love to get your perspective!
And make sure you are at The Ice Sheet this Saturday for a HUGE matchup between the Mustangs and Coyotes, which will tell us a lot about how things will shape up moving forward.
(Why is all of this important? What’s the big deal about finishing first or second? If you need a refresher on playoff format, etc., you can see all of that on our WSHL Playoff Format page.)