January 31, 2011 – Arkansas and Florida have clinched their respective divisions after this weekend’s games. The West Bracket of the SECHC Tournament in late February is set as well. Several teams finished up their conference play this weekend when they met outside of Atlanta, Ga. this past weekend.
Florida had already clinched a share of the East title before the weekend. They defeated Clemson Friday night in a non-conference game. However, they dropped their game Saturday night to Arkansas in a close battle 4-3. By the time of Sunday’s forfeit due to LSU not being able to play, the Gators had locked up first, as South Carolina needed to sweep through the weekend and failed to do so.
Arkansas had a little more work to do than Florida, but didn’t leave anything to chance as they went 3-0 on the weekend, defeating South Carolina Friday night and Georgia Sunday. With the three wins, Arkansas stayed two points ahead of Alabama to clinch the West.
The Frozen Tide did everything they could this weekend to stay close incase Arkansas slipped but it wasn’t meant to be. Alabama played Ole Miss twice, defeating the Rebels 4-1 Friday and 5-4 in overtime Saturday. Alabama also picked up two more wins this weekend, with LSU already forfeiting next weekend’s games.
Ole Miss had a chance to catch up to Alabama, but after this weekend’s losses, the Rebels will have to settle for the No.3 seed in the West Bracket of the SECHC Tournament.
With LSU forfeiting games, the Tigers have been put on probation. Since fellow west division team Mississippi State is also on probation this season, Auburn has been awarded the No. 4 seed in the tournament this year.
As for the East, South Carolina, as mentioned earlier, had a chance to catch Florida, but that fell in Friday night’s loss to Arkansas. The Gamecocks then earned a forfeit win over LSU Saturday, which safely secured them the No. 2 seed in the East.
Tennessee played two non-conference games this weekend, defeating Louisville 7-5 on Friday and Roanoke 8-3 on Saturday. Being idle in conference play, the Ice Vols dropped to a tie with Georgia in the East race.
The Bulldogs, who have surged lately, earned a forfeit win over LSU before dropping a conference game to Arkansas and a shootout loss to Clemson.
However, Georgia did move into a tie with Tennessee. So, the final conference game of the regular season, which is between the two schools, will decide the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds.
Vanderbilt and Mississippi State also played this weekend. The Commodores took both games, defeating the Bulldogs 6-5 and 7-4 on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively.