Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

ACHA

ACHA: Panthers are champs, CHMA playoff teams decided

Pitt clinched the 2017-18 CHMA regular season title with Saturday's win over Duquesne. -- ED MAJOR II

HARMAR TWP., Pa. — Another weekend filled with Co action proved to be a thriller. All four Pittsburgh-area teams were on the road Friday night.

The Pitt Panthers claimed their second straight CHMA crown and the corresponding national tournament bid by defeating IUP in overtime, 3-2.

Duquesne had a convincing win against John Carroll. After being humiliated, 6-2, on home ice in November, the Dukes had their revenge to the tune of 7-4.

The 9:30 p.m. start of the Slippery Rock and West Virginia game in Morgantown was delayed by over a half hour because of — you guessed it — ice issues. It appears the arena and crew may have their work cut out for them this off-season. It marked the second week in a row that the arena experienced ice issues, the first of which forced the cancellation of the RMU-WVU game. Fortunately, this weekend’s game went on without a hitch the rest of the way, with Slippery Rock prevailing, 3-1.

Robert Morris finished the action-packed Friday night with a shootout victory over Mercyhurst, 2-1

On Saturday, Duquesne and Pitt met for the second time this season, and the City Game on Ice round two ended in a 6-2 Panthers victory at Alpha Ice Complex. Pitt defeated the Dukes in November, 3-1 at PPG Paints Arena.

Duquesne jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and the teams went into the first intermission tied, 1-1. By the end of the second period, Pitt had taken a 4-2 lead. But the score was not the worst part for Duquesne.

Midway through the second period, Duquesne goaltender Alex Taylor took a collision from both a teammate and Pitt forward and was down on the ice for several minutes. At one point, he did sit up briefly, but laid back down from the pain. He was eventually helped off the ice, unable to put much weight, if any at all, onto his legs. One of the Duquesne assistant coaches said that he suffered a lower-body injury and they were taking Taylor to a Pittsburgh-area hospital.

Backup goaltender Hans Schober came in to finish the game in relief. Halfway through the third period, Pitt extended their lead to 5-2, which was the only goal Schober allowed.

Thomas Diffendal cut the lead to 5-3 on a shorthanded goal and less than a minute later, with five seconds to go, Sean Lloyd cut the deficit to make it a 5-4 game. Pitt tallied an empty net goal on the ensuing faceoff and the Panthers took the 6-4 victory and the season sweep over their cross-town rivals.

The Panthers thus extended their conference win streak to 11 games, putting them at 12-1 on the season leading into their Feb. 16 showdown with John Carroll, who handed them their only conference loss, 4-1, earlier in the season.

With the victory, Pitt clinched the CHMA regular-season conference championship and eliminated Duquesne from playoff contention.

MAJOR FOCUS: Pitt spoils Duquesne’s playoff hopes on Saturday night, defeating the Dukes, 6-4

In other CHMA action on Saturday night, Slippery Rock fell to IUP, 6-3, Robert Morris locked up the No. 2 seed with a 4-2 win over John Carroll, and West Virginia soundly defeated Mercyhurst, 6-0.

To see more coverage from Edward you can follow him on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. As always, a full gallery can be viewed on his website.

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Weekend scores from around the CHMA:

CHMA

Friday:
Duquesne 7, John Carroll 4
Pitt 3, IUP 2 (OT)
Robert Morris 2, Mercyhurst 1 (OT)
Slippery Rock 3, West Virginia 1

Saturday:
Duquesne 4, Pitt 6
Robert Morris 4, John Carroll 2
Slippery Rock 3, IUP 6
Mercyhurst 0, West Virginia 6

CHMA STANDINGS
The CHMA playoffs have been decided. The top six, shown below, have each locked up a spot.

Team W L OTL Points Games Played (Out of 14)
Pittsburgh** 12 1 0 24 13
Robert Morris* 9 3 1 19 13
Slippery Rock* 7 6 0 14 13
John Carroll* 7 6 0 14 13
Mercyhurst* 5 6 3 13 14
IUP* 5 7 2 12 14
Duquesne 4 7 2 10 13
West Virginia 4 7 2 10 13

West Virginia was eliminated from contention for the No. 6 seed by virtue of IUP’s Feb. 3 victory over Slippery Rock. Even with WVU’s win over Mercyhurst, they would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with IUP. For this reason, and since Robert Morris is locked into the #2 seed, it is unlikely that the WVU-RMU game that was called last week will need to be rescheduled.

Duquesne could still tie IUP with a win over Slippery Rock next weekend, but they would lose the fourth tiebreaker. The order of tiebreakers, per the CHMA by-laws, are as follows:

  1. Most league wins (Duquesne and IUP would each have five)
  2. Head to head win/loss record (Duquesne defeated IUP on September 29, 2017 and IUP defeated Duquesne on October 13, 2017, giving each 2 points against the other)
  3. Most league non-shootout wins (Niether Duquesne nor IUP has had any SO wins this season, which means each has five non-shootout league wins)
  4. Head to head goals for/goals against differential in league games (Duquesne defeated IUP by a score of 3-2, while IUP defeated Duquesne by a score of 8-0. IUP thus wins this tiebreaker)

If Duquesne, IUP and WVU ended in a three-way tie, IUP would also hold the advantage.

In the playoffs, No. 3 Slippery Rock will face No. 6 IUP on Friday, Feb. 23 at Mercyhurst Ice Center. No. 4 John Carroll will face No. 5 Mercyhurst.

No. 1 Pitt will play the lowest remaining seed on Saturday, with No. 2 Robert Morris playing the highest remaining seed.

The championship game will be on Sunday, Feb. 25 at Mercyhurst Ice Center.

Remaining regular-season CHMA games:
Saturday, Feb. 10: Slippery Rock @ Duquesne, 6:30 p.m. Alpha Ice Complex (Duquesne Senior Night)
Friday, Feb. 16: John Carroll @ Pitt, 9:30 p.m. Alpha Ice Complex (Pitt Senior Night)

Check out the ACHA schedule here for other upcoming ACHA games.

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