With their far superior three-week playoff format, the CCHA will play the final weekend of their regular season this coming weekend. Ferris State has already clinched at least a share of the regular season conference title, but all but the last two playoff positions are still up for grabs.
Here's what the current standings look like.
The CCHA put out a release breaking down their tiebreaking procedures. Tiebreaker F is a coin flip. Personally, I'd bump coin flip up to least Tiebreaker D, mainly because I have no clue what "comparison of the winning percentages of the co-champions against the remaining highest ranked CCHA teams, successively, until the determination is accomplished or all CCHA regular-season contests have been considered" means.
Here's where each team stands heading into the weekend.
Ferris State- As I said, the Bulldogs have clinched at least a share of the conference championship. Michigan can still tie them in the standings if Ferris State takes 0 of 6 points against Western Michigan, and Michigan takes 6 of 6 points against Bowling Green. Ferris State and Michigan have identical shootout records, so the deciding tiebreaker would be Michigan's 2-0 record against Ferris State in the regular season.
Michigan- As stated above, if Michigan takes all six points against Bowling Green while Ferris State takes no points, the Wolverines can still earn a share of the regular season championship and the first overall seed. On the other end of the spectrum, Western Michigan, Michigan State, and Miami could all pass Michigan this weekend, theoretically pushing Michigan to 5th, meaning the Wolverines would not host a home playoff series. Sixth place Lake Superior could tie Michigan in the standings, but the Wolverines would hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers.
Western Michigan- The Broncos are two points behind Michigan for the second spot, which is as high as the Broncos can go. The lowest the Broncos could finish is sixth. Seventh place Ohio State could finish tied with Western Michigan, and would win the tiebreaker, but that would mean Miami would finish in the 7th place slot. Four points against Ferris State would guarantee a top four finish for Western Michigan.
Michigan State- Michigan State can climb all the way to 2nd with two wins and a combination of Michigan taking two or fewer points, and Western Michigan taking five or fewer points against Ferris State. Three points for Michigan State guarantees they won't have to play in the first round of the playoffs. Five points guarantees that they will be at home in the second round.
Miami- Miami can get all the way to second place with six points and one or fewer by Michigan. Northern Michigan can't catch Miami due to tiebreakers, meaning, at worst, Miami will be at home in the first round of the playoffs.
Lake Superior-Lake Superior can reach as high as third place in the league. One point keeps them out of ninth place and on the road in the first round of the playoffs. They need to gain at least four points on Michigan State to have a chance at finishing in the top four.
Ohio State-Three points won or three points lost by Northern Michigan or Notre Dame keeps Ohio State out of the bottom three and not playing on the road in the first round of the playoffs. The Buckeyes can reach a tie for third in the standings, and as a plus, controls their destiny against one of the teams ahead of them in Miami.
Notre Dame-The Irish will have to play in the first round of the playoffs, as they cannot reach the top five. They could tie 5th place Miami, but that would mean Ohio State would leapfrog over both of them. They have to finish equal to or better than Northern Michigan in the final weekend to avoid going on the road in the first round of the playoffs.
Northern Michigan- The Wildcats are in a tough spot because with so many ties and shootout wins, they lose just about every tiebreaker. They need to earn more points than Notre Dame this weekend to host a playoff series in the first round.
Alaska- The Nanooks are locked into 10th place and will play Alaska-Anchorage in a non-conference series. Two wins would be huge for the league because it would likely put Alaska back on the right side of the TUC Cliff.
Bowling Green- The Falcons are locked into 11th place.