Utah High School Hockey Standings Raise Playoff Questions
Dec 21, 2023, 12:25 PM
(Photo courtesy of Ryan Sun, Deseret News)
SALT LAKE CITY – As all the Utah High School Hockey teams head into Christmas break, a quick look at the standings shows some usual suspects at the top of the standings and some unexpected teams staying within reach of making playoffs.
Utah High School Hockey Standings
Perennial favorites Park City are 12-1-1. Their only loss comes to South County Independent. Park City has been led by seniors Garrett Herbert and Connor Smith while getting solid support from Will Brock and Jonesy Reese who also both play tier 1 travel.
Sky Canyon and Murray both have 11 wins and 2 losses. Murray’s Maddux Hale leads the state in points, averaging 5 per game. Hale has 44 goals and 16 assists for 60 points in 13 games played. Sky Canyon’s William Higginbotham has 24 goals and 9 assists. Sky Canyon goalie Xander Merja has played 14 games and has posted a 1.86 G.A.A. and a league-leading .929% S.A. with 2 shutouts.
Defending state champions, Brighton finds themselves in 8th place with 9 wins and 5 losses.
Soaring Eagles Looking To Fly Into Playoffs
Juan Diego is ranked 9th with 8 wins and 4 losses. Juan Diego is keeping themselves in the hunt with well-rounded team play.
“I believe our team’s success is, in large part, that there aren’t any individuals on the team, but we play as one cohesive unit.” Head Coach Moe van der Sluys said. “I’ve seen so many of our players grow as, not only athletes but as young adults. Jack Cunningham, Ethan Maxedon, and Bryson Newport. Of course, our captain, Matt Odell is the stability that holds the team together.”
When asked about playoffs this season Coach van der Sluys said, “Playing in the top tier of UHSH, every team has the potential to step up and surprise anyone. Of course, the top teams such as Park City, Brighton, and South County are consistently solid, but we have been challenged by Herriman, Weber County, and Bigham. Once playoffs start, it’s anyone’s game.”
Utah High School Hockey Playoff Picture
Playoffs in Utah High School Hockey are not straightforward with wins and losses.
There’s an algorithm in place that looks at your strength of schedule, and even considers how many travel team kids you have on your roster. It’s also a double-elimination style format. So, a team can lose a game and work their way back into the state championship. Then that team would have to beat the team from the winners bracket twice to win.
The rankings and stats for this article were taken from utahhighschoolhockey.com, actual playoff rankings are on myhockeyrankings.com.
My Hockey Rankings have 12-1 Park City at #1, 9-5 Brighton at #3, 7-4 Juan Diego at #6, and 11-2 Murray at #21 (currently outside of the playoffs as only the top 16 make it) So a team with an almost perfect record could remain outside the playoffs, while a team with 2 or 3 wins would make it.
All of this makes for an exciting 2nd half of the season.