Archive for February, 2016

Projected Hockey East Standings Using KRACH (2/16/16)

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 10.46.44 AM

Projected Hockey East standings using the KRACH rating system.

With two weeks to go in the regular season, Boston College is still projected to finish atop the Hockey East standings, despite Notre Dame pulling ahead of the Eagles this past weekend.

Using the KRACH to project points earned for every Hockey East team in the final two weekends, the Eagles, thanks to a much easier schedule than the Fighting Irish, are projected to win the league by more than one point.

Aside from that, the standings look much like they do right now. Boston University is projected to be the first team out of the first-round bye spots, with Lowell edging the Terriers by one point. Northeastern continues to surge here at the end of the season, and they also have the league’s easiest schedule remaining, but they can’t catch the Terriers regardless of how well they do. What Northeastern’s play, plus easy schedule, does for the Huskies is give them some breathing room with Vermont.


Three Things I Think: ECAC 2/15

Monday, February 15th, 2016

The most surprising result of the weekend was obviously Quinnipiac dropping its first league game, but it was inevitable that it would drop a game. The Bobcats still have a comfortable lead in the ECAC standings, up five points on New Haven rival, Yale. The Bulldogs are hard charging to the race and it has become the team that we thought it would be in the preseason. it has five straight wins and has just one loss in its past 14 games. Harvard, who sits in third is two points back, dropping a game against RPI on Friday and rebounding on Saturday.

St. Lawrence had the most impressive weekend in the league, as it became the giant slayer in finally taking down the league undefeated Bobcats who had just a loss entering the week. The weekend sweep moved the Saints into the  final bye position and leaves it two points clear of Dartmouth and RPI who share the fifth place spot. Clarkson and plunging Cornell are the other two teams in contention for the byes, as the Golden Knights are three points back and the Big Red are four points back. It seems unlikely that either of those teams can recover, because it would have to gain points and pass 3-4 teams to get the bye. Union, who sits five points behind eighth is the only team that can mathematically get to eighth from the bottom four, but it is unlikely. Colgate, Brown and Princeton are assured of travelling the first round of the ECAC tournament. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 15

Monday, February 15th, 2016

The weekend of Big Ten play provided a few surprises. All three series were close, and I think Michigan State and Wisconsin surprised with their play. Michigan defeated Wisconsin and then tied the Badgers while Penn State defeated Michigan State on Friday before skating to a 2-2 tie. The Gophers swept Ohio State again by a pair of one-goal games, including an overtime decision on Friday.

Minnesota holds the first spot in the Big Ten, one point ahead of Michigan. Penn State is six points behind the Wolverines while Ohio State still has 12 points. The Spartans are in fifth with 10 points and Wisconsin is still in the basement with seven. And I know I only talk about wins, losses and ties, but shootouts do factor into the Big Ten standings.

The PairWise was shaken up over the weekend, with some of college hockey’s best teams failing to win. Michigan is at sixth right now, Penn State is 14th and Minnesota is 16th.

It’s kind of hard to say if the Big Ten’s bottom teams are better than we thought they were/if they’re improving or if the Big Ten’s top teams aren’t as powerful as we thought they were.

(After the jump: What’s up with Wisconsin, the battle for first, Michigan State’s the dangerous team)


Quinnipiac’s First Conference Loss Almost Seemed Inevitable

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

It was bound to happen and in all honesty Quinnipiac’s first loss in the ECAC has been brewing for some time. The Bobcats probably should have lost a few games in recent weeks. There was the miracle goal with 9.8 seconds left against RPI, which probably was put in by an Engineer defender, that provided a tie in that game. Then there was the comeback against Dartmouth from down three goals in the third period, which wasn’t all that special but more of a bloodbath. Before those games it was a win against Princeton, where it trailed by a pair in the second period.

To say the Bobcats were playing well, would have been a wrong assumption, but the fact they got this far without a conference loss is notable and an accomplishment. Since the break, whether it be complacency or overconfidence or peaking too early, QU just hasn’t been the team that it was in the first half of the season. (more…)

Hockey East Weekend Preview: 2/12/16

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Maine at Notre Dame — Maine hits the road after getting swept by Providence last weekend, while Notre Dame is looking to put together a new unbeaten streak, after Boston College snapped the longest streak in the nation two weeks ago. The Irish got back on track with a sweep over Vermont last weekend.

During a stretch of 15 games where the Irish have gone 11-1-3, goaltender Cal Petersen has a .946 save percentage.

For Maine, much of any success rest of season will come down to how well its goaltender plays. In overall games (not just conference games), Maine’s 1.93 goals per game is worst in Hockey East. Last weekend, in a 1-0 overtime loss to Providence, Matt Morris made 50 saves to almost earn Maine a point, despite the Black Bears getting almost doubled-up in shot attempts, 85-45 (75-39 at even strength).


Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 12

Friday, February 12th, 2016

All six teams are back in action this weekend. It features the top three teams playing the bottom three teams. Michigan will play Wisconsin, Penn State will play Michigan State and Minnesota will play Ohio State.

While the bottom three teams most likely can’t get a top two seed, the race is heating up for the top three times. And Michigan’s series is important for the PairWise, because a loss to the Spartans last weekend really hurt the Wolverines.


Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 9

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

After just four Big Ten teams played this weekend with mixed results, it’s hard to learn anything new. I’m left with more questions than answers, and am even more unsure of where each team stands.

Minnesota beat Penn State 4-1 before losing 5-3. Michigan State beat Michigan 3-2 in overtime on Friday night, snapping Michigan’s eight-game unbeaten streak. The Wolverines rebounded with a 4-1 win on Saturday.

After the weekend (and before the Beanpot), Michigan dropped to sixth in the PairWise. Penn State is 16th and Minnesota is 21st. The Wolverines and Gophers are tied for first in the Big Ten while Penn State is third – six points behind both teams. The Buckeyes are fourth with 12, Michigan State has nine and Wisconsin has six. 

(After the jump: Is this the norm for Michigan State, Michigan will still probably win the Big Ten Tournament and anyone can beat anyone.)

Is this the normal for Michigan State?

The Spartans now have two wins in their last four games, and have stopped a couple of good offenses in Michigan and Ohio State. Despite losing to the Wolverines on Saturday, only allowing four goals isn’t bad – especially because Michigan State’s defense has really struggled this year.

The win over Ohio State was impressive, but it was hard to tell if it was a one-time thing for the Spartans or an indication of improvement. But beating Michigan and holding their offense to six goals over the weekend makes me believe the Spartans are improving.

Michigan will probably still win the Big Ten tournament 

As much as I enjoy changing my preseason picks in the middle of the season, I have to stick with Michigan. While the Wolverines can lose one game in the tournament, it’s not likely going to be in an offensive shootout. I think the only Big Ten team that can stop Michigan is still Michigan State, but I’m not sure the two will face off in the tournament.

Anyone can beat anyone 

The only thing I really learned after last weekend is that any team in the conference is capable of beating any other team in the conference (well, that’s hard to say for Wisconsin right now.) But Penn State and Minnesota have already played in a couple of tough series, Ohio State has hung in with Michigan and now even the Spartans have proved they can beat the conference’s elite.

This makes it really hard to predict the tournament and the regular-season standings. It will most likely be Penn State, Michigan and Minnesota in the top three spots, but it’s hard to tell who’ll finish first and second. 

Three Things I Think: ECAC 2/9

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Another interesting week hit the ECAC over the weekend, as Quinnipiac continued to remain unbeaten and Clarkson continued its hot streak. Quinnipiac, Clarkson and Yale have a combined for just two losses in their last 30 games. Those three teams are making hay within the league standings, with Quinnipiac running away with the lead. Harvard has struggled recently and it is now tied with Yale for second in the league, seven points behind the Bobcats for the league lead.

One of the interesting aspects of the ECAC standings right now, is that the top eight is pretty much figured out. Clarkson and Cornell are in a tie for seventh, with 17 points. That mark is six points up on ninth place Union. Although it is mathematically possible for a team from the bottom four to catch up with the top eight, it seems unlikely with just six games remaining in the regular season. This should make the battle for the top four and the byes all the more interesting, as positions two to seven in the standings are separated by just four points. One should look at Yale and Clarkson as the favorites to take two of the top four. This would leave the other position to Harvard, Dartmouth, RPI and SLU. The Engineers, Saints and the Big Green are currently tied for the fourth position. Without further ado here are my thoughts for the week. (more…)

Projecting the Final Hockey East Standings Using KRACH

Monday, February 8th, 2016

At College Hockey News, we endorse the KRACH ratings as the best way to compare college hockey teams. The KRACH stands for “Ken’s Ratings For American College Hockey,” and it was first applied to college hockey by statistician Ken Butler, hence the name.

Butler uses a mathematical model known as the Bradley-Terry rating system.


Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 5

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Conference play is back in action for just four teams this weekend. The Gophers, Nittany Lions, Spartans and Wolverines are playing this weekend while Wisconsin and Ohio State take a break.

Minnesota and Penn State will play while Michigan and Michigan will face each other. These are two series that have already happened earlier this season. The Wolverines dismantled the Spartans, while the Gophers and Nittany Lions split.

While Michigan and Michigan State are far apart in the standings, Minnesota and Penn State are separated by just six points. And remember, because of shootouts there are three points up for grabs in each Big Ten game. Three points are awarded for a regulation/OT win, two for a shootout win and one for a shootout loss. (more…)