How do the ACHA national rankings work?
All teams nationwide are eligible for the national rankings assuming that they play a minimum of sixteen total games prior to the final ranking period. Teams are ranked on a national basis by an electronic poll based on strength of schedule, goal differential, and win-loss record. National rankings take place starting in October of each season until the Final Ranking Period ends on the 2nd full weekend in February.
The final ranking period is most critical. Sixteen teams will ultimately compete in the National Tournament for an opportunity to win the National Championship. Champions of several conferences, such as our conference the MACHA, will receive and auto-bid to the National Tournament. After auto-bids have been awarded, the remaining top teams from the final rankings are selected depending on where the auto-bid teams sat in the rankings.
The sixteen team field is split into four pools of four teams based on the final rankings and auto-bids. Each team is then guaranteed three total games–one against each member of that team’s pool–to determine a pool winner. The four pool winners will then compete in two semi-final games to determine the participants in the National Championship.
Could you tell me even more detail about the National Tournament?
The National Tournament spans five days beginning on a Thursday The game schedule is as follows:
Game 1 – Seeds (#1 vs. #4) & (#2 vs. #3) in each pool
Game 2 – Seeds (#1 vs. #3) & (#2 vs. #4) in each pool
Game 3 – Seeds (#1 vs. #2) & (#3 vs. #4) in each pool
Frozen Four – Pool A winner vs. Pool D winner and Pool B vs. Pool C winner.
National Championship Game- Winner of Semi-final 1 vs. Winner of Semi-Final 2
In case of a tie game at the end of regulation time, a ten-minute overtime is played in all preliminary games and is 5 on 5. Semi-final and Championship games are 20-minute overtime periods until a winner is determined.
In the event of ties in records in tournament competition, the higher standings will be determined by: (A) head to head competition; (B) number of wins; (C) fewest goals against in all tournament games; (D) goal differential in all tournament games; (E) fewest penalty minutes; (F) most periods won in pool play, determined by plus minus in goals; (G) quickest goal recorded on score sheet in pool play; and (H) coin flip by the Commissioner.
Where does the MACHA fit into all of this?
The winner of the MACHA conference Tournament is awarded an auto-bid into the National Tournament. The Razorback Hockey team is a member of the Southern Division of the Mid-American College Hockey Conference (MACHA). Within that division, we compete against The University of Missouri, Missouri State University, Dallas Baptist University, and The University of North Texas. The MACHA is divided into North, West, Central, and South Regions. The winner and runner up of each division qualify for conference tournament.
The three-day tournament is structured as follows:
Quarterfinal #1 – 1 North vs 2 South
Quarterfinal #2 – 1 East vs 2 West
Quarterfinal #3 – 1 West vs 2 North
Quarterfinal #4 – 1 South vs 2 East
Semi-final # 1 – Winner Quarterfinal #1 vs Winner Quarterfinal #2
Semi-final # 2 – Winner Quarterfinal #3 vs Winner Quarterfinal #4
Championship Game – Winner Semi-final #1 vs Winner Semi-final #2