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WCHA Weekend Preview, March 6-7

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Here we go again. For the second-straight season, the WCHA is coming down to the final weekend. All five league series have major postseason implications and all ten teams are playing for something, whether it be in conference or nationally.

The MacNaughton Cup (Minnesota State vs. Michigan Tech), the final home ice position (Bemidji State vs. Northern Michigan vs. Ferris State), and the bottom two playoff spots (Alabama-Huntsville vs. Lake Superior State vs. Alaska-Anchorage) are all up for grabs this weekend. Even playoff-ineligible Alaska has its rivalry trophy, the Governor’s Cup, with the Seawolves to play for.

In the Polls: After taking three of four points from Michigan Tech last weekend, Minnesota State stayed at No. 2 in this week’s poll. The Huskies dropped a spot to No. 4, while Bowling Green slid two spots to No. 13 after splitting with Alaska-Anchorage. Bemidji State continued to pick up votes in the poll with 19 this week.

With just one weekend left in the regular season, the Mavericks and Michigan Tech remain in solid position to receive NCAA Tournament bids. Minnesota State is ranked No. 2 in the Pairwise, while the Huskies are No. 7. The Falcons, though, aren’t as secure in their spot after sliding two more spots to the fringe of consideration at No. 14.


Weekend Preview: Big Ten, March 5

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

With just two weekends left in the regular season, Michigan is first in the Big Ten.  Minnesota currently holds the second spot, but only eight points separate the top four teams. Penn State and Michigan State are the other teams in play for a bye.

Minnesota is No. 11 in the PairWise, and Michigan is 15th. While Michigan is in a more dangerous bubble position, the Gophers still have to win a couple of tough series ahead of them if they want to keep their spot.

Ohio State is ready to move up in the standings, and will face the Gophers this weekend. A struggling Penn State team will face Michigan, and the Spartans and Badgers square off. Remember – each win counts for three points. A shootout win counts for two, and a shootout loss is one.

There were some big injury announcements this week, as Travis Walsh is out for the rest of the season after blocking a shot in the face. He needed to have surgery on his jaw. Penn State’s Jonathan Milley’s playing career is over, and Taylor Holstrom is definitely out for this weekend, and most likely for the season.


Three Things I Think: Big Ten, March 2

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

After sweeping Wisconsin, Michigan has a three-point lead for first place in the conference. The Gophers split with the Spartans, dropping Minnesota to second and giving Michigan State third. Penn State is in fourth, thanks to a sweep by Ohio State. The Buckeyes are now eight points ahead of Wisconsin in the standings.

There’s more separation between the top four teams, which are now separated by eight points. Remember – because of shootouts, a win equals three points. And there are four games left in the season, so that means 12 points are at stake.

The Badgers were swept by Michigan. While the Wolverines aren’t scoring as many goals as earlier in the season, they appear more consistent than earlier in the year. And they dominated the Badgers in possession on Saturday (I’m saying this after watching, but the Corsi stats back it up).

(After the jump: Who can finish where, the best Big Ten goalkeeper and Ohio State is poised for a surge) (more…)

BigTen: A Look Into Corsi, Week 20

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Michigan has sole control of the Big Ten after sweeping Wisconsin, and the Wolverines have a three-point lead. Minnesota is second, while the Spartans are now in third after the teams split last weekend. Ohio State is now eight points out of the basement after sweeping Penn State, and could move up in the standings.

There were no real Corsi surprises this week, save that Michigan State pushed Minnesota in possession. The Gophers haven’t had great possession numbers all season, but neither have the Spartans.

The Corsi stats are listed below: (more…)

WCHA Weekend Preview, Feb. 27-28

Friday, February 27th, 2015

The race for the MacNaughton Cup takes center stage this weekend as No. 3 Michigan Tech visits No. 2 Minnesota State. The Huskies come into this weekend just one point behind the Mavericks for the league lead. While the eyes of the nation will rightfully be focused on that series, all five WCHA match-ups have major playoff implications.

With just four games left in the season, one home ice spot is still up for grabs and no team has been eliminated from playoff contention. Six teams have already clinched a spot in the postseason (Minnesota State, Michigan Tech, Bowling Green, Bemidji State, Northern Michigan, and Ferris State) and two more can do so this weekend (Alabama-Huntsville and Lake Superior State). Bowling Green can clinch the third home ice spot and Bemidji State can take the final one if everything falls its way.

All in all, it’s going to be a pretty exciting weekend in the WCHA.

In the Polls: In this week’s poll, Minnesota State stayed at No. 2, Michigan Tech jumped up a spot to No. 3, and Bowling Green fell three places to No. 11. This week is the first time the Falcons have been ranked outside of the top-10 since the Jan. 5 edition of the pool. The WCHA also has two teams in the top-three for the first time this season. Bemidji State (7) was the only tream in the conference to receive votes in the poll.

The league also looks to be in good shape for qualifying three of its teams for the national tournament: The Mavericks rank No. 1 in the Pairwise, while the Huskies are No. 5, and the Falcons are tied for No. 12.


Big Ten: A Look Into Corsi, Week 19

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Here are this week’s Corsi stats:


Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb, 26

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

The top of the Big Ten standings are still tight, and two of the top four programs – Minnesota and Michigan State – will battle over a two-point difference between first and third. With the season almost ending, these are important weeks for both Minnesota and Michigan. The Gophers are currently on the inside, but Michigan is out.

Two good teams, Michigan and Penn State, will have tough contests in Wisconsin and Ohio State this weekend. The two bottom Big Ten teams have been playing better, or in Ohio State’s case, finally healthy.

It’s late in the season, but there are still so many question marks, mainly of consistency, with all of these teams.


Three Things I Think: ECAC 2/25

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Another week in the books and we have hit the last weekend of the regular season. Quinnipiac locked up at least a share of the Cleary Cup last weekend with two ties, while St. Lawrence will be the second seed in the ECAC tournament and still could gain a share if it wins twice, while the Bobcats drop both on the weekend. But that probably won’t happen so don’t think that it will even be a thing. The home ice teams seem to be a lock, but two byes are going to go to the wire. Yale should end up the third seed, but is up just two points on Colgate who it plays on Friday night and Harvard who has the spot. Dartmouth is a point behind both Harvard and Colgate in fifth. Cornell and Clarkson seem to be locks to host first round series’ in two weeks.

The pairwise situation is still marginal at best, as Quinnipiac sits in 11th, while Yale is the only other team in and on the bubble, in 15. Harvard wrecked its chances with an overtime loss to Boston College on Monday, but St. Lawrence would be interesting and close if it continued to win hockey games at the pace it has. The Ivy league is also up for grabs this weekend as Yale would clinch it with a win on Saturday against Cornell, but Dartmouth also has a chance at it if Yale were to fall to the Big Red. Without further ado, here are my thoughts of the week: (more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 25

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

It was another interesting week in the Big Ten.The Gophers are tied with Michigan for first in the conference, but Penn State and Michigan State are both still two points behind.

The Badgers earned their first win streak of the season, defeated Michigan State 2-1 in the first game of their series. The Spartans responded with a 3-0 win, but things are looking rocky for the Spartans now. Tom Anastos just suspended Dylan Pavelek and Carson Gatt for violating team rules, the second and third Spartans to be suspended this season.

They’re out indefinitely, and Michigan State has a huge series against Minnesota coming up. Then at the end of the season, the Spartans will take on Michigan just before the season’s end.

Speaking of Michigan, the Wolverines – in a huge upset – fell 5-3 to Ohio State. It was entirely surprising, given the Buckeyes are starting to get healthy, and scored six goals against Michigan this season. That extended Michigan’s losing streak to three games, until a 5-2 win over the Buckeyes snapped it.

After an impressive series against Michigan last weekend, the Gophers defeated Penn State and extended their winning streak to five. The Nittany Lions earned a 4-3 win in overtime on Saturday.

(After the jump: Wisconsin’s getting better, the two worst teams will go farther then you think and a PairWise check.)

How Important is Scoring First?

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

For the past few weeks, it seems like every player or coach I’ve spoken to has brought up the importance of scoring first. How important is it, though?

Truth is, it’s pretty important.

Across the nation this season, the team that has scored first has won almost 70 percent of the time (69.8%). Atlantic Hockey drags that percentage down, actually. In every other conference, the winning percentage for teams that score first is over 70 percent. In Hockey East, it’s the highest at 74 percent.