The Race Is On

NZIHL July 28, 2021  130

The race to the finals has intensified after the weekend was split with victories for both the West Auckland Admirals and the Botany Swarm.  One win was all Botany Swarm needed to pull ahead of the Phoenix Thunder on the table, now sitting in third and fourth place respectively. It is also mathematically impossible for any teams to reach the Skycity Stampede on points, securing themselves a home game final for 2021. 

2021 NZIHL Birgel Cup confirmed dates:

  • Friday 17 September, Queenstown Ice Arena
  • Saturday 18 September, Queenstown Ice Arena
  • Sunday 19 September, Queenstown Ice Arena (If required)
    • Ticketing information is still being confirmed.

What we are left to debate is if it will be an Auckland based semi-final. The heat is on and neither the Botany Swarm nor Phoenix Thunder is out of the race, yet. Both sides will need to win the remainder of their games to ensure a place at the semi-final – but whichever team loses when they face each other will secure their fate. West Auckland Admirals could lose their second-place title in regulation season if the Swarm win the remainder of their games, so they too will be fighting to stay where they are.

Photo Courtesy of Taking The Mike

Both the Thunder and the Swarm are still to face the giants, the Skycity Stampede, in their second rounds, with the Phoenix Thunder first to take on the task this weekend at the Dunedin Ice Stadium. The Skycity Stampede will be even more compelled to hang on to their status of undefeated with only 4 games left – becoming the first team in the history of the NZIHL to complete a regulation season without loss.

The 3 teams in second, third and fourth place are separated by 5 and 2 points respectively. Being in such proximity to each other means that every win and loss would shake up the table. As the Skycity Stampede watch on from their tower made of points, the teams will be fighting it out to the very end to meet them back in Queenstown.

Scenarios:

  • Should the Admirals win remainder games in regulation, they will be on 31 points
  • Should the Swarm win remainder games in regulation, they will be on 32 points
  • Should the Thunder win remainder games in regulation, they will be on 30 points
  • Should the Red Devils win the remainder games in regulation, they will be on 15 points
  • If the Admirals win half the remaining games, they will be on 25 points
  • If the Swarm win half the remaining games, they will be on 23 points
  • If the Thunder win half the remaining games, they will be on 21 points
  • If the Red Devils win half the remaining games, they will be on 9 points

If Thunder lose to Stampede and win all remainder games, they will be on 24 points. They will need to win both games against the Botany Swarm to secure a semi-final, assuming that the Swarm lose to both Stampede and Thunder.

If Swarm lose to Stampede, and win all remainder games, they will be on 26 points. If the West Auckland Admirals lose to the Swarm, this will push the Swarm above the Admirals.

RankTeamGames playedGames to be playedPoints as at 26/7/2021Teams to play
1Skycity Stampede12436Phoenix Thunder
Botany Swarm
2West Auckland Admirals12419Phoenix Thunder
Canterbury Red Devils
3Botany Swarm10614Phoenix Thunder
Skycity Stampede
Canterbury Red Devils
4Phoenix Thunder10612Skycity Stampede
West Auckland Admirals
Botany Swarm
5Canterbury Red Devils1243Botany Swarm
West Auckland Admirals

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