**UPDATED BELOW FOR GUELPH POSSIBILITIES:
Western’s loss at home last night to Brock brought some clarity to the OUA playoff situation – Mustangs have officially been eliminated, joining Algoma and York as teams that will miss the post-season. Going into tomorrow night’s action, there are now five teams vying for 3 remaining playoff spots.
Note also that after last night’s dramatic win by Windsor – Lancers rallied from 11 down late to defeat McMaster in overtime – the battle for #8 spot and a home playoff game will come down to the last day of the season. While it does appear that McMaster and Windsor are again headed for a sudden-death playoff meeting, the location of that game is yet to be determined despite Windsor’ win last night. Windsor can still potentially host that game but must defeat Brock at home on Saturday in order to finish #8. A Lancers loss at home and a McMaster victory over Western, the #8 vs. #9 playoff game will be played at McMaster’s Burridge Gym – in what would be the third consecutive season that Lancers and Marauders would have a playoff game in Hamilton. Note that there do not appear to be any practical scenarios under which Mac and Windsor do not meet in the first round.
But back to the final three spots: here are the teams that remain in playoff contention and what they need to do to clinch:
Queen’s: With just one game remaining, Gaels are very likely in even if they lose at home to York on Friday night. Every “what if” tried – win or lose by the Gaels – resulted in Queen’s making the top 12.
Laurier: Golden Hawks have one game remaining at Lakehead on Saturday. Win that road game and Golden Hawks are in. The only scenario that will eliminate Laurier is: Lakehead defeats Laurier, Brock defeats Windsor and Guelph defeats Waterloo – all three of these Saturday game outcomes have to emerge: anything else, Laurier is in – even with a loss to Lakehead.
While the “Laurier out” scenario above is not beyond the realm of possibility, thinking somewhat practically, the battle for the final playoff spot could come down to these three teams:
Waterloo: Win both road games (Friday at Lakehead, Saturday at Guelph) and Warriors are in; lose either game and Warriors are out.
Lakehead: Win both home games (Friday against Waterloo, Saturday against Laurier) and Thunderwolves are in. If T-Wolves defeat Waterloo but lose on Saturday to (rested) Laurier, then Lakehead needs Guelph to knock-off Waterloo. Two losses and Lakehead is definitely eliminated.
Guelph: Gryphs need all of the following happen: Guelph must defeat Waterloo on Saturday and have Lakehead sweep Warriors and Laurier plus have Brock defeat Windsor. Guelph also makes it if Lakehead loses both, Gryphs beat Waterloo, McMaster defeats Western. Guelph would not make it under this scenario if both Windsor and Western win on Saturday.
Again, these scenarios have been tested ad hoc and do not represent gospel. Feel free to comment on any permutation or combination that may change the above thinking.
Friday’s OUA Games (all 8 PM ET starts):
Waterloo at Lakehead
York at Queen’s
Toronto at Ottawa
Ryerson at Carleton
Laurentian at Algoma
Saturday afternoon’s OUA Games (both 3 PM ET starts):
Brock at Windsor (3 PM ET)
McMaster at Western (3 PM ET)
Saturday Night’s OUA Games (all 8 PM ET starts):
Waterloo at Guelph
Laurier at Lakehead
Toronto at Carleton
Ryerson at Ottawa
Nipissing at Algoma