Ice Bats Eliminated From Playoff Contention

About halfway through the second period last night, Rio Grande Valley's David Masse scored a power-play goal putting his Killer Bees up 3-0 and pretty much dashed the Ice Bats hopes of appearing in the Central Hockey League postseason. Masse added another power-play goal in the third and the Bees cruised to 4-0 victory giving them the upperhand in the competition for the sixth and final playoff spot in the CHL's Southern Conference over Odessa and Lubbock and excluded Austin from playoff contention. The Ice Bats still have the chance to play spoiler with two of their three remaining games against those pesky Killer Bees. It's been a rough year for the Bats, having canned their head coach, suffered numerous injuries to crucial players, and endured pathetic power-play performance. Still, heading into the final week of regular-season play, their postseason dreams were still alive and they could've started with a fresh slate in the playoffs under head coach Brent Hughes. The Bats host Corpus Christi Friday, March 23, at 7:30pm and then play their season finale Sunday, March 25, at 4pm vs. Rio Grande Valley. The two homes games are broken up by a road match in the Valley versus the Bees on Saturday, at 7:35pm. For tickets and more, please see www.icebats.com.

For an explanation of the CHL playoff format ...

Now, let's discuss the crazyass Central Hockey League playoff system. Six teams from each conference make it to the postseason. Austin is in the Southern Conference, which has nine teams. Five of the six spots are already clinched. That leaves Rio Grande Valley (60 points), Odessa (55 points), and Lubbock (both with 54 points) vying for the final playoff spot. In hockey, a team is rewarded two points for a win, one point for an OT/shoot-out loss, and zero points for a regulation loss. Each team has three games remaining on its schedule. Now, where things start to get wacky is when the playoffs begin. There are three first-round matchups with the highest-seeded loser advancing to the second round – with the three winning teams – but are dropped to the lowest seed. That's right, a team losing in the first round will actually progress to the second round and compete for the CHL President's Cup Finals. In all my years following sports, this is a first for me. But, hey, more hockey for the fans, right? All series are of the best-of-seven variety. We'll get 'em next year, Bats.

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