Great Plains mid- season evaluation on teams and divisionsGPCIHL December 18th, 2014 at 5:28PM December 18th, 2014 11:38PM
Division-1 this year may be one of the best the Great Plains has ever had. Bethel, Lindenwood, and UMSL have a combined eleven Division-1, one Premier Division, and one Division-2 national championships. Though Lindenwood has ten of those titles, UMSL beat them in 2009 and Bethel got hot at the right time in 2012 to beat UNLV for their first D1 national title. When mid-April comes around don’t be surprised if one of these teams is again raising the trophy high above their heads.
At the halfway point, Lindenwood is atop the Great Plains Division-1 standings with a 10-1-0-1 record, followed by Missouri State (8-3-0-0), UMSL (6-1-0-1), Bethel (5-3-0-1), and Mizzou (4-4-1-1). Expect some movement between the top four teams in Division-1 as the nation will be paying close attention to the Great Plains regional championships February 27th-March 1st.
In Division-2, Kansas State (7-4-0-0) is first in the standings followed by Saint Louis (5-2-1-1), Illinois State (4-3-0-1), Missouri S&T (4-7-0-0), Washington-STL (1-2-0-0), and SIU-Edwardsville (1-9-0-0). Like in Division-1, D2 in the Great Plains is clearly up for grabs. In the first half, when the current top three teams played one another, all but one game was decided by one goal. With that being said, good luck predicting which team will head in to the NCRHA National Championships as the D2 winner of the Great Plains region.
Division-3 in the Great Plains may be the most predictable, though anything is possible. Lindenwood Black is currently atop the standings with a 9-2-0-0 record, followed by Lindenwood Gold (7-3-0-0), Bethel (6-2-0-0), Mizzou (6-4-0-0), Illinois State (5-6-0-0), and St. Charles CC (4-7-0-0). Ten of the eleven D3/B national championships have come from the Great Plains. Lindenwood has all ten with the only defeat coming against Penn State in 2010. Now with Bethel in the region the D3 division has gained a little more respect. Expect Bethel’s D3 team to turn some heads in the second half and push Lindenwood to the finish.
This year the Great Plains JC Division only features one team. St. Charles CC is not as strong as they have been in the past but the program has won six straight national titles and until someone can knock them off they will be the team to beat.
Though the next Great Plains event is scheduled for February 7th-8th in St. Louis, Lindenwood University’s D1 and D3-Gold teams will be traveling to Mt. Pleasant, PA for the ECRHA inter-regional event January 24th-25th and Bethel will join in at Palatine, IL for the MCRHL inter-regional January 31st-February 1st. Check back in January for a complete schedule for both these events.
On behalf of the Great Plains Collegiate Inline Hockey League have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!