Feb. 6 notebook: Haas Cup playoff race comes down to Monday, Halvorsen seeds still TBD

By Mike Gurnis

Three teams fighting for two playoff spots.

That’s the scenario that we’re looking at going into Monday’s final two Haas Division games of the season, with Gill St. Bernard’s taking on Mount Olive-Hopatcong-Hackettstown at Mennen Arena at 6:30 p.m., and Vernon facing West Morris at Skylands Ice World at 8:30 p.m.

Vernon, Gill St. Bernard’s, and Park Regional are all in the hunt for the final two playoff spots, as MO-HO-HA and West Morris have already clinched spots.

Right now, Park Regional sits in third with 10 points, followed by Gill St. Bernard’s with nine, and Vernon with eight. Park Regional has completed its divisional schedule, so all it can do is sit and watch on Monday.

For Gill St. Bernard’s, its very simple. A win against MO-HO-HA on Monday clinches a Haas Cup spot and would give the Knights the third seed. If it loses, it can still get in if Vernon loses to West Morris, in which case it would be the fourth seed.

Park Regional is definitively in if either Vernon or Gill St. Bernard’s loses on Monday.

Vernon, on the other hand, plain and simply needs to win on Monday. A loss would eliminate the Vikings from Haas Cup contention. If it wins and Gill St. Bernard’s loses, Vernon is in as the fourth seed. If it wins and Gill St. Bernard’s wins, Vernon would be tied with Park for 10 points. Tiebreakers would begin with league standings (which is a bit vague, I’m not sure if that refers to record against the MCSSIHL as a whole, or just wins in the division)- Park has a 7-5-3 MCSSSIHL record, and if Vernon wins this game it would be 7-7. Vernon would hold five wins as opposed to Park’s four if it is based on just divisional record. The next criteria would be head-to-head, which Vernon would hold by virtue of its two wins against Park this season. Basically, if that scenario unfolds…stay tuned.

But wait, there’s more!

There is a scenario in which these three teams finish Monday tied with 10 points each. If Vernon beats West Morris, and Gill St. Bernard’s ties MO-HO-HA (which already happened once last week), you would have all three teams tied with 10 points each. The tiebreaker would be the composite record of the teams that are tied with each other, with penalty minutes being the next criteria.

All I will say is, we will cross that bridge when we get there- I’m not even going to try to figure out how that will work.

Monday is going to be very, very interesting.

The only other division in which there is some question regarding seeding is the Halvorsen Division.

We know which teams will be in, which is significantly easier to figure out than what’s going on in the Haas right now. Morristown, Mendham, Mountain Lakes-Boonton, and KJS United are all in. Morristown is the top seed. After that, there is much to figure out.

Mendham and Mountain Lakes-Boonton are tied for second with eight points apiece, with KJS United in fourth with six.

Mendham will play KJS United at 4 p.m. on Monday at Skylands Ice World. Mountain Lakes-Boonton has finished its league schedule, so a Mendham win or tie would clinch the second seed and would lock in Mountain Lakes-Boonton at three and KJS United at four.

If KJS United wins…that’s when things get interesting. All three teams would be tied at eight points apiece. Like the three-way tie scenario in the Haas, I will let the league figure that out if it happens, so stay tuned.

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