I jumped into the comments of a recent post on Western College Hockey taking some to task for not wanting to help teams like Bemidji State for the wrong reasons. Good to see Chris and The Rink Rat on the same side as well.
Bottom line for me is, worrying about conference strength especially in terms of PWR and KRACH when making scheduling decisions or who should be in is a recipe for disaster in college hockey. This is currently forced upon teams and creates a huge gap of the haves and have-nots. Sooner or later, someone will have to step up and begin to bring all of NCAA Hockey into balance, or will risk having the same sort of situation as college football, where to give any “second tier” team a chance, they’ll need a special provision. I think there’s an opportunity to fix this somewhere and raise the level of hockey across the board.
It’s time to band behind the schools that want to stay in college hockey, and those who want to join the ranks and bring up the game as a whole. I only wish there were more schools that wanted to pour time, money and effort into being successful college squads.
Speaking of the PWR. Lots of interesting things to look at. Who would’ve thought RIT was going to play such a role this season. The Tigers are tip-toeing the 25 spot on the RPI despite, and despite being ineligible for the post-season, these last few games could flip some comparisons for teams above them. RIT is also hunting for its first banner at the Division I level as they try to capture the Atlantic Hockey regular season title. All eyes are also on the Western Michigan / LSSU series. Western sits in 24th in the RPI and LSSU is in 27th. The cliff could make a big difference this year.
Teams 12 through 20 on the PWR. It’s do or die time. It’s already the playoffs for these teams, a loss this weekend makes every game in the playoffs a must win. The Vermont / BU and Wisconsin / Michigan Tech series are looking pretty threatening for all involved. BU can take a couple of bullets, but the other three it’s go time. This group includes St. Lawrence who with a win will seal the ECACHL conference championship. Regardless of that accomplishment, they still need help in the playoffs to get that bid.
While everyone is looking at the bubble, there’s a phenomenal matchup at the top of the heap with Minnesota and St. Cloud going at it. SCSU is coming off a rough 1-2-2 stretch, but is still in the hunt for that #1 seed. If they can take three points from the Gophers, they’ll be well on their way. A huge test for both teams just a couple of weeks before the playoffs.
Both North Dakota and Denver want to come away with no less than a split this weekend. Both are middle of the PWR pack, and a sweep would definitely put extra pressure on the loser heading into the end of the season.