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NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs: What you need to know

March 26, 2015
Just one weekend remains in the 2014-15 NAHL regular season and the question heading into the playoffs beginning next week is not so much WHO will be a part of it, but WHERE those playoffs will be and WHEN. Out of the 18 possible playoff spots to be clinched this season (four in the Central, Midwest and North, six in the South), 17 spots have been claimed.  The one remaining spot yet to be clinched is the 4th and final seed in the North Division. The Johnstown Tomahawks hold a three-point lead over the Michigan Warriors with just two games remaining.
 
However, the big remaining question for the weekend is who will win the NAHL Midwest and South Divisions and what will the opening round series be? 
 
Central Division: The Central Division is set.  Division champion Austin will face Aberdeen in the division semi-finals, while Minot will face Bismarck. The only intrigue left in the regular season is that Minot is at Bismarck this weekend in a series that doesn’t mean anything for points or standings, but may go a long way in momentum and gamesmanship.
 
Midwest Division: Plenty of intrigue remains in the battle for the top spot in the Midwest. While Coulee Region and the Minnesota Magicians are locked in the 3rd and 4th seeds respectively, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Minnesota Wilderness are tied atop the division. The Wilderness, who have a game in hand, face Coulee Region three times, while the Ice Dogs host Kenai River for two games.
 
North Division: We know that Soo and Keystone will be a semi-final match-up, but we don’t know where. The Eagles have a one-point lead for 2nd place and home ice in the opening round over the Ice Miners. The division champion Jets await either the Johnstown Tomahawks or the Michigan Warriors in the other semi-final. A win for Johnstown or a Michigan loss in regulation gets the Tomahawks in.
 
South Division: We know that Corpus Christi is the #4 seed and will have home ice in one of the two play-in series, but that is about it. Lone Star, Wichita Falls and Topeka are all battling for the top spot and separated by two points. Wichita Falls will travel to Lone Star this weekend, setting up a huge series that may decide the division champion and who gets a bye in the first round as one of the top two seeds.  Topeka also has a good shot because they have three games remaining (all in Wenatchee). Of the three clubs battling for the top spot in the South, Topeka is the only one that controls their own destiny to win a division title. Three wins in their final three games and Topeka would win the division. Wenatchee trails Rio Grande Valley in the battle for the 5th seed, but both teams will be the lower seed in their play-in series next week.
 
About the NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs
The Robertson Cup is awarded to the national playoff champion of the NAHL. Qualification for the 2015 Robertson Cup Playoffs is as follows: Clubs are seeded within the four divisions based upon their finish in the NAHL regular-season standings. If necessary, the tie-breaking policy adopted in the NAHL Rules and Regulations will be applied to determine the final order of finish. 
 
Regular Season tie-breaking policy
 
At the conclusion of the NAHL regular season, Clubs that have an equal amount of points shall have their final position in the NAHL standings determined by applying the following tie breaking procedures:
A. Most wins during the regular season.
B. Head to head competition during the regular season.
C. Goal differential in head to head competition during the regular season.
D. Total goal differential during the regular season.
E. Coin flip.
 
Play-in Series (South Division Only, Best of 3)
 
Clubs within the South Division will be seeded based upon their finish in the NAHL regular-season standings. 
 
The Club seeded third in the South Division will compete in a best-of-three series against the sixth seeded Club in the South Division. The Club seeded fourth the South Division will compete in a best-of- three-series against the Club seeded fifth in the South Division. The Clubs seeded one and two in the South Division shall receive a bye into the division semi-finals.
 
The South Division Play-in Series may begin no earlier than Thursday, April 2, 2015 and must conclude no later than Monday, April 6, 2015.
 
Clubs shall cooperate to schedule play in series competition. The Club seeded higher in each division play in series has the right to host two games and the lower seeded Club has the right to host one game.
 
The first Club to win two games in the play in series will be declared the winner of the series and advance to the South Division semifinals. The first Club to lose two games in the play in series shall be eliminated from further playoff competition. 
 
Division Semifinals (Best of 5)
 
The Club seeded first in each division will compete in a best-of-five series with the fourth seeded Club in the same division. The Club seeded second in each division will compete in a best-of-five-series against the Club seeded third in the same division.
 
In the Central, North and Midwest Divisions, the Division Semi-Finals may begin no earlier than Thursday, April 2, 2015 and must conclude no later than Monday, April 20, 2015. In the South Division, the Division Semi-Finals may begin no earlier than Thursday, April 9, 2015 and must conclude no later than Monday, April 20, 2015
 
Clubs shall cooperate to schedule division semifinal series competition. The Club seeded higher in each division semifinal series has the right to host up to three games in Round 1, and the Club seeded lower in each division semifinal series must be able to host at least two games.
 
The first Club to win three games in a division semifinal series will be declared the winner of the series and advance to the next round of playoff competition. The first Club to lose three games in a division semifinal series shall be eliminated from further playoff competition.
 
Division Finals (Best of 5)
 
The two Clubs in each division that won a division semifinal series shall compete in a best-of-five series against each other.
 
The Division finals may begin no earlier than Thursday, April 23, 2015 and conclude no later than Monday, May 4, 2015.
 
Clubs shall cooperate to schedule division final series competition. The higher seeded Club will have the right to host up to three games. The lower seeded Club must be able to host a minimum of two games.
 
The first Club to win three games in a division final series will be declared the winner of the series and advance to the Robertson Cup Semi-Final round. The first Club to lose three games in a division final series will be eliminated from further playoff competition.
 
Robertson Cup Semi-Finals (Best of 3)
 
The four remaining teams shall be seeded 1-4 based upon their finish in the NAHL regular-season standings. If necessary, the tie-breaking policy adopted in the NAHL Rules and Regulations will be applied to determine the final order of finish. The Club seeded first will compete in a best-of-three series with the fourth seeded Club. The Club seeded second will compete in a best-of-three-series against the Club seeded third.
 
The Robertson Cup Semi-Finals may begin no earlier than Thursday, May 7, 2015 and shall conclude no later than Monday, May 11, 2015.
 
The higher seeded team will host all three games. The first club to win two games in the Robertson Cup Semi-Final series will be declared the winner and advance to the Robertson Cup Finals. The first club to lose two games in the Robertson Cup Semi-Final series will be eliminated from further playoff competition.
 
Robertson Cup Finals (Best of 3)
 
The two winners of the Robertson Cup Semi-Final series will advance to the Robertson Cup Finals and will be seeded #1 or #2 based upon their finish in the NAHL regular-season standings. If necessary, the tie-breaking policy adopted in the NAHL Rules and Regulations will be applied to determine the final order of finish.
 
The Robertson Cup Finals may begin no earlier than Thursday, May 14, 2015 and shall conclude no later than Monday, May 18, 2015.
 
The higher seeded team will host all three games.
 
The first Club to win two games in a Robertson Cup Finals will be declared the winner of the Robertson Cup National Championship.
 
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