Archive for January, 2018

Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/18

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

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 (more…)

Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, Jan. 14

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

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

(more…)

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

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

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: (more…)

Comparing penalty numbers in college hockey with the NHL

Friday, January 12th, 2018

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?”

Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, Jan. 3

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

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

(more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/1

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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? (more…)