2015-16 Regular Season concludes, playoff teams set
January 12, 2016
The 2015-16 NAPHL regular season has come to a close and the final event, which included the last day of competition, was heart stopping until the final buzzer.
While the majority of playoff spots were locked in during the first few days, the final spots in both the 18U and 16U divisions were not known until games end on the final day.
Congratulations are in order to the Omaha AAA Hockey Club, as for the first time in the seven-year history of the NAPHL, both the 18U and 16U teams finished with the top regular season records in both divisions. Omaha will be the #1 seed heading into the playoffs in both the 18U and 16U Divisions.
Congratulations are also in order to the following organizations for having both their 18U and 16U teams qualify for the playoffs: Omaha AAA, Meijer AAA, Rocky Mountain RoughRiders, Washington Little Capitals, Esmark Stars, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights and California Titans.
The 2016 NAPHL Championship will be played February 12-15 at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Championship games will be played on Monday morning, February 15 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, MI.
18U Division Qualifiers
Omaha has the regular season title locked up by the second day of the event in Troy. Their 23 regular season wins and .920 winning percentage are both new NAPHL 18U records. The Madison Capitols won 20 games and solidly finished in 2nd place. Thanks to a 4-1 record in Troy, Meijer AAA finished one point ahead of Rocky Mountain for 3rd place. In their return to the NAPHL, the RoughRiders had a great regular season, finishing with 17 wins and 34 points. Four points back of Rocky Mountain and finishing in 5th place were the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights in their inaugural NAPHL season. Then teams 6-10 were separated by just three points, which was a testament to the parity throughout the season and the excitement of the final event. In 6th place were the Washington Little Capitals with 29 points. In a tie for 7th place with 28 points were the Pikes Peak Miners and Esmark Stars, but the Miners had one more win than the Stars, which put Pikes Peak in 7th and Esmark in 8th. In 9th place with 27 points were the California Titans, who will have the opportunity to win an unprecedented third NAPHL playoff championship at the 18U level. The 10th and final spot was claimed by the Philadelphia, who picked up a shutout on the final day to finish with 26 points. Pursuit of Excellence also finished with 26 points, but had one less win during the regular season than the Flyers and were on the wrong end of the tie-breaker.
16U Division Qualifiers
Although the 16U standings finished without the tie-breaker for the final spot, it took the final day of the regular season for things to work themselves out. Omaha’s 24 wins set a new NAPHL record for number of wins in a regular season. Only four points back of Omaha in 2nd place were the New Jersey Jr. Titans, who also had a tremendous regular season with 22 wins. 3rd place was a tie between Rocky Mountain and Washington, who both had 17-5-3 records. However, because Rocky Mountain beat Washington in their only meeting (1-0 back on November 15th), the RoughRiders got the nod for 3rd place and the Little Caps finished 4th. In 5th place with 35 points were the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. Spots 6-9 were a virtual deadlock between four teams, who all finished with 31 points. Esmark, California and Meijer all had identical 15-9-1 records. Esmark ended up with the #6 spot because they defeated both California and Meijer during the regular season. California ended up with the #7 spot because they defeated Meijer twice during the regular season. Meijer ended up at #8 as they had one more win (15) than HC Dallas (14). HC Dallas finished in the 9th spot and claiming the 10th and final spot were the Arizona Bobcats, who got a shutout win on the final day to secure their bid. Both St. Louis and Madison had cracks at the final spot, but could not find enough wins in the final days.