Friday, August 23, 2019 - Submitted by Peter Lambert
Picture: PowerPlay Photographics
When two or more teams end their season tied, the number crunching begins to determine who ends up in front, and some of the methods used can be confusing.
Here's my TL;DR on how tie-breakers work based on this year's AIHL Competition Regulations:
1. Highest number of points accumulated during the AIHL regular season (first) to lower number of points accumulated during the AIHL regular season (last)
This one is exactly how it sounds. If you have more points, you finish ahead of the next team.
The next few regulations will be how we break any ties among the teams to determine winners.
2. Superior point percentage from actual AIHL regular season games played (i.e. excluding cancelled games and points earned from cancelled games)
Point percentage will be the same for two teams who finish with the same points, but if any wins were earned because the other team cancelled, those points are discounted in regards to the win %. There's been no cancelled games this season, so this item can 99.9% be passed over.
3. The greater number of AIHL regular season games won, including AIHL regular season games won in overtime but excluding AIHL regular season games won in a penalty shootout
This is the big one! Basically, the team with the most regular time or OT wins during the season wins the tie-breaker. This effectively makes shoot out wins worth less than an overtime win when it comes to tiebreakers at the end of the season.
With just one weekend left to go in the AIHL regular season, wins + OT wins (not including SO wins) for the AIHL teams stands as such:
Ice Dogs 10
4. The greater number of points earned in the AIHL regular season games between the tied teams, excluding:
- Cancelled games
- If the teams have not played an equal number of home AIHL regular season games against each other (after exclusion of cancelled games), "additional" home AIHL regular season game(s) played starting from the last home AIHL regular season game.
In this tie-breaker, we're now comparing teams like we did with the previous IIHF-style "sub group" tiebreaker. If the Bears and Thunder were to finish their season today on the same points and wins, the Thunder would win the tie-breaker because in the series between the two teams, the Thunder won 10 of the 12 points available. As there's been no cancelled games and an equal amount of home games, the two sub points don't come into play.
5. The greater differential between goals for and against during the AIHL regular season (including the one goal awarded to a team as a result of winning a penalty-shot shootout)
The above tie-breaker doesn't specify if this GD is for the entire AIHL regular season or just those games between the two (or more) teams in a subgroup. I'll assume this refers to the entire season.
Basically, you total the amount of goals each team has scored and deduct how many goals they have had scored against them for a single amount (Goal Differential). The number may be negative, especially so if a team has finished with less than 43 AIHL regular season points. The GD is compared between the two teams and hopefully one is greater than the other.
6. The greater number of goals for during the AIHL regular season (including the one goal awarded to a team as a result of winning a penalty-shot shootout)
This is similar to the above point, but only comparing the total amount of goals scored by the tiebreaker teams throughout the season, and a shootout win is worth just the one goal.
7. The flip of a coin
Let's hope it never comes to this. I've heard of championships in Australia being decided on the toss of a coin (back in the 1960s) when an outdoor rink was washed out two weeks running.