Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/18

Posted: January 18th, 2018 / by Josh Seguin

Nearing the midway point of the ECAC season, there are two teams that are a combined 18-1-1 in league play. Those two teams, of course, are Clarkson who is 10-0-0 in the ECAC, while Cornell is 8-1-1. The parity, or lack thereof, in the league this year is concerning to me. It sure seems that Clarkson and Cornell are going to be a runaway pair, which I will discuss below. Of course the St. Lawrence situation is tough and they have yet to win a league game. I assume they will before the end of the year, but time is running out to do so.

In terms of the pairwise, Clarkson and Cornell are solid and if the tourney started today both would be one seeds. Clarkson moved as high as the top spot over the weekend, but Notre Dame took that spot back when all the results came back in. Both, the Golden Knights and Big Red will have a tough time keeping those lofty positions because of the league’s record in non-conference play, if they were to lose games down the stretch. Clarkson has a better chance to keep it because it has five wins against teams in the top-17 of pairwise, not including its win against Cornell. I would also look for Harvard to maybe get in the picture in the coming weeks, which I will also discuss below.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts for the week, some predictions for the weekend and power rankings.

Below the Break: Lack of Parity in the league, Harvard Set for a Run, Princeton hasn’t been the team I thought they would be Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, Jan. 14

Posted: January 14th, 2018 / by Melissa Burgess

It’s been a busy calendar year so far for the Atlantic Hockey conference, including 10 games between January 12-13.

This past weekend, Mercyhurst, Holy Cross and Air Force all skated away with pairs of wins. Meanwhile, Niagara, RIT and Sacred Heart failed to find success this weekend.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings, as of January 14:

  1. Canisius
  2. Holy Cross
  3. Niagara
  4. Army
  5. AIC
  6. Robert Morris
  7. Mercyhurst
  8. RIT
  9. Air Force
  10. Bentley
  11. Sacred Heart

Read the rest of this entry »

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Friday Thoughts Around the ECAC and Union’s Bennett Goes Off

Posted: January 13th, 2018 / by Josh Seguin

Last night, a lot went on throughout the ECAC and I figured I would give an update on some of my thoughts heading into a full slate of Saturday games. Clarkson is now the top ranked Pairwise team in the country after its, 4-1, win against Union on the road. The Golden Knights have won 13 games in a row and are now 9-0-0 in league play. Clarkson is first in the standings and have a three-point lead on Harvard/Cornell. Union fell to fourth in the standings, while Colgate is right on its heels. There is a steep divide between the top five teams and Dartmouth in sixth, with a four point difference.

Clarkson Rolls On. Who ends the Winning Run?

Each time I see Clarkson, I feel as though they only get better. Despite having some rough patches in the second period on Friday night, the Golden Knights stood behind goaltender Jake Kielly and pulled away in the third.

No matter what Union threw at them, I never thought they were losing that game and it seemed like they were comfortable.

The Golden Knights are deep at forward, have great goaltending, work hard and their defense is exemplary at both ends of the ice. Teams with this much balance go far in the tournaments and one should think Tech should continue on this roll. There is so much to like about this team and if you listen to Union coach Rick Bennett, he would tell you the same: Read the rest of this entry »

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Comparing penalty numbers in college hockey with the NHL

Posted: January 12th, 2018 / by Mike McMahon

Special teams has become a major focus for teams across college hockey, with more game time spent on special teams than every before, it seems. Across the country, the WCHA has the most power plays per game this season, with 9.2. The disparity between top and bottom is somewhat large, with the Big Ten averaging the least number of power plays (7.1) and then there’s a group in the middle — the ECAC, Hockey East, Atlantic Hockey and the NCHC — that all range between 8.6-8.4.

College hockey averages far more time on special teams than the NHL. This season, NHL games are averaging 6.4 power plays per game, and last season the league averaged just 5.8 power plays per game. College Hockey doesn’t have a single league that averages less than seven power plays per game, and the NHL hasn’t averaged more than seven per game since 2008.

“In some games, they let you play, and in other games, they don’t,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said. “I don’t think there is an across-the-board standard and that’s an issue. The NCAA gives us the rules, and then each league interprets them differently. It’s the same rulebook, but you go league-to-league and you see different averages. Are some leagues playing cleaner than others? I don’t think so. I think it comes down to each league interpreting the rulebook differently.”

Dennehy said the biggest disparity in how rules are called is in regards to goalie interference, and contact with the goaltender in front of the net.

“I think scoring is up slightly,” he said. “My guess is injuries to goalies might also be up, because what you’re basically allowed to do now is run the goalie. It still blows my mind. If you were to take someone who doesn’t understand hockey, and you asked them to explain when you could hit the goalie and when you can’t, they would tell you that if the goalie is out of the blue, you can’t hit them, but if they’re in the blue you can hit them as much as you want. If you touch a goalie when he leaves the crease to go behind the net, you’re going to the box every single time. How often is there contact with the goalie with the crease? It makes zero sense. None. You can’t interfere on dumps, but what about when they’re standing in front of your own net?”

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Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, Jan. 3

Posted: January 3rd, 2018 / by Melissa Burgess

Atlantic Hockey returned from its break with a handful of games on Friday, Dec. 29 and Saturday, Dec. 30 to finish off the 2017 calendar year. Many teams faced non-conference action over the past few days, including games against Minnesota, Colorado College, Ohio State and Clarkson.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings, as of January 3:

  1. Canisius
  2. Holy Cross
  3. Niagara
  4. Robert Morris
  5. RIT
  6. Army
  7. AIC
  8. Bentley
  9. Mercyhurst
  10. Air Force
  11. Sacred Heart

Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/1

Posted: January 1st, 2018 / by Josh Seguin

A few weeks ago, it wouldn’t have been suggested that St. Lawrence would head three hours east and win the Catamount Cup but over the weekend the Saints did just that. A win against Vermont was a positive development for the team that went 1-14-1 in the first half, the fact it was able to beat UMass-Lowell the next night showed that anything can happen in college hockey and anyone can beat any team. Considering what that program has gone through, it will go down as a bright spot in a season that is largely gone south. Below, I will talk about whether it is a sign of things to come or whether it might be a mirage.

Dartmouth and Princeton were two other teams that had good weekends, as the Tigers picked up two ties against St. Cloud State while Dartmouth had a win/tie against UNH and Minnesota-Duluth, respectively. I will talk about Princeton below, but I will wait on Dartmouth for a feature later this week. Both Harvard and Yale had up-and-down weekends, while Union and RPI struggled to the tune of two losses.

The weekend’s results continued the rocky non-conference results that the ECAC has put together this season, but the saving grave has been teams like Cornell and Clarkson have been impressive. That is why both teams are currently in the top-4 of the pairwise, while others have fallen back. It will take a be tough to get more than two teams into the NCAA’s, but it is possible. The league has played a tough non-conference schedule, as a whole, and has fared decently well against top teams.

Without further ado here are my thoughts of the week.

Below the break: Great Response from Yale, Princeton needs to build on last weekend, Can St. Lawrence sustain it? Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, Dec. 20

Posted: December 20th, 2017 / by Melissa Burgess

Atlantic Hockey entered its holiday break with a quiet weekend, with just two games between December 15 – 17. Robert Morris and Mercyhurst faced a home-and-home series in the lone pair of games over the weekend, with RMU sweeping the series.

Entering the break, here are the Atlantic Hockey standings:

  1. Canisius
  2. Niagara
  3. Holy Cross
  4. Robert Morris
  5. RIT
  6. Army
  7. AIC
  8. Bentley
  9. Mercyhurst
  10. Air Force
  11.  Sacred Heart

Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, Dec. 11

Posted: December 11th, 2017 / by Melissa Burgess

What a weekend in Atlantic Hockey, filled with plenty of exciting non-conference action as well as several critical conference games that have shaken up the standings.

With a pair of wins in the Battle of the Bridge over Niagara, Canisius has taken over the top spot in Atlantic Hockey. The Purple Eagles have been bumped down to second place for the time being. They’ll stay that way for a while now, as both teams are off until the last weekend of the month.

AIC jumped two spots in the standings after splitting their weekend series.

Looking ahead, there are only two games this coming weekend, a home-and-home series between Robert Morris and Mercyhurst.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings as of December 11:

  1. Canisius
  2. Niagara
  3. Holy Cross
  4. RIT
  5. Army
  6. AIC
  7. Robert Morris
  8. Bentley
  9. Mercyhurst
  10. Air Force
  11. Sacred Heart

Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Things I Think: ECAC 12/7

Posted: December 7th, 2017 / by Josh Seguin

Seeing it has been some time since I have checked in with this, I figured I would get back in the swing of it just before the break. Now that we are almost at the holiday break, many trends have taken hold and there certainly seems like a few tiers have developed within the conference. Union and Clarkson sit at the top of the conference with 12 points, but the Golden Knights are unblemished at 6-0-0 in league play and have two games in hand on the Dutchmen. Union has been a surprise in the first half of the season and have gotten contributions from a lot of new faces. Cornell and Colgate also fit into the top tier, as the two have big wins and have just looked the part of being near the top. The Big Red are currently third with 10 points, while the Raiders are right behind with nine.

Brown has more wins in just 12 games this season than it did all of last year. It also has more ECAC wins, four, than it did last season. The Bears are tied for fifth with Harvard and Yale. The Crimson have been surprising, given the talent on the team and have a few tough losses. Another team I will mention is Princeton that has also largely underachieved.

If the NCAA tournament started today, the ECAC would have just two teams in it. Clarkson is third in the pairwise, while Cornell is fifth. Colgate is just outside the picture in 17th and Union is off the pace in 26th. This is largely caused by a poor inter-conference record by the league. Although the league has played a tough schedule, the .426 mark is hardly good for the coefficients. Clarkson and Cornell have largely been the best teams in non-conference play and both are reaping the benefits of it.

Without further ado here are my random thoughts of the last few weeks.

Below the break Clarkson’s young nucleus, Union’s New Charges, RPI fans should trust the process. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Dec. 4

Posted: December 4th, 2017 / by Jashvina Shah

The past weekend featured conference contests. Notre Dame swept Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin split and Penn State tied and defeated Ohio State. There’s still a lot of inconsistency in the conference, but the Fighting Irish are now on an 11-game winning streak.

Notre Dame is now 8-0-0 in the conference and has a nine-point lead over the second team, which is Penn State. Minnesota sits behind Penn State by one point.

Next weekend the Wolverines will have a home-and-home with Michigan State, Ohio State will host Minnesota, Penn State will play Robert Morris and Wisconsin will host Notre Dame.

What happened to Kyle Hayton?

When Hayton came to Wisconsin as a grad transfer, it seemed like he’d be the best goaltender in the league. The Big Ten has struggled in that department, and Hayton had been the best goaltender in the ECAC. But Hayton has struggled in the offensive league. He gave up five goals against Minnesota and sat on the bench the next night. His save percentage is currently .892.

I was one of the people who assumed Hayton would be the best goaltender in the conference. I’m not surprised that he’s struggling, though. The ECAC is a much more defensive league than the Big Ten, but it’s partly because of goaltending and defense. While Hayton was a good goaltender at St. Lawrence, he also had an excellent defense. While he did see action and face quality scoring chances, they weren’t like the chances he sees in the Big Ten.

That’s partly because there are some spectacular offenses in the Big Ten (like Minnesota’s) and partly because Wisconsin still makes some bad plays and turns the puck over. Maybe once Hayton gets settled his performance will improve.

The Rem Pitlick Show

Yes, Casey Mittelstadt is good. But so is Rem Pitlick. Last year he scored 31 points last year, considerably less than Tyler Sheehy or Justin Kloos. But those were still good numbers for a freshman on a veteran-laden team. Still Pitlick, who was highly-touted coming into Minnesota, wasn’t talked about much nationally. He currently leads the Gophers with 19 points and still doesn’t get talked about as much as some of his teammates. But not only can Pitlick score, he also has some of the skill and speed that makes Mittelstadt so much to watch.

Speaking of Pitlick, the Gopher offense is really good. They have so much skill and speed that they can score quickly, but the team struggles too much defensively and it’s costing them wins.

An eye on the Nittany Lions

Penn State is now on a six-game unbeaten streak after beating Arizona State, Michigan State and Ohio State. The Nittany Lions are second in the conference just above Minnesota, despite being picked to finish fourth. Have the Nittany Lions finally turned the corner?

That’s hard to say. Arizona State and Michigan State aren’t exactly quality teams, but it looks like Penn State’s offensive tactics that helped them win last year are back on track. The Nittany Lions scored seven goals twice in the past two weeks in wins over Arizona State and Michigan State. That doesn’t mean Penn State has recovered enough to beat better teams, but Penn State might not even really have the chance to test itself.

In the second half of the season, Penn State’s toughest opponents will be Notre Dame and Minnesota. Notre Dame is good but the Gophers are inconsistent, which means they may not even be a test.

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