Another week, another question of what’s really going on. There are a few teams that have been successful since October – like UMass and Arizona State, although we still haven’t figured out what’s “for real.” I actually believe UMass is for real, but I guess we’ll find out about that soon.
Big Ten play has begun, but so far it’s been hard to see who’s acrually better than who. We’ll find out soon, hopefully.
Notre Dame has settled down
It was hard not to wonder what happened when the Fighting Irish surrendered six goals to Mercyhurst en route to the Ice Breaker tournament championship. And it was still early enough in the season to wonder if that would be a trend for Notre Dame.
The Fightinng Irish haven’t allowed more than three goals since, and Cale Morris’ save percentage is resting at .927. Also those two three-goal games all came against Minnesota-Duluth.
The Fighting Irish that have barely allowed more than two goals per game and are mostly keeping opponents off the scoreboard more closely resemble the Fighting Irish we knew from later on last season as well as the Fighting Irish that I chose to finish first.
It’s not unusual for teams to have uncharacteristic games at any point in the season, especially in the start, but when these games happen at seaosn’s start we don’t yet know if that’s how the team will actually play. Now we know it was just a blip for Notre Dame.
Before the season started, Badgers head coach Tony Granato spoke highly of Lebedeff. The Badgers have badly needed good goaltending, especially with the young teams Wisconsin seems to be getting each year. There was hope, after St. Lawrence transfer Kyle Hayton wasn’t unable to fill the role last year, that Lebedeff will.
I watched last Friday’s Gophers-Badgers border battle. He earned the loss but didn’t get any help from his team, which largely looked confused. One of his players also pushed a Gopher into him on a Minnesota goal, so it’s hard to fault him for that one.
At .927 he is tied for second in Big Ten save percentages. He’s started the last three games and has played in the last six after not playing for the first three.
Penn State’s offense
The Nittany Lions have been scoring, a lot. It’s not surprising because that’s been an asset for them over the past few years. But Nikita Pavlychev and Alex Limoges have 16 points each, which currently ranks second nationally. The Nittany Lions have five of the country’s top six scorers and Penn State is averaging 5.78 goals per game, which is first nationally.
Penn State is still averaging the most shots per game, with 42.67 shots on goal per game. They’re converting 13.5 percent of those chances, which is third nationally. That’s important, because a few years ago Penn State was shooting the puck heavily but not converting as high a number of those shots.