Archive for the 'Commentary' Category

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.

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BC Student Manager, Van Kula, Backing Up Demko In Beanpot

Monday, February 1st, 2016

With injuries sidelining Boston College goaltenders Chris BirdsallAlex Joyce and Ian Milosz, the Eagles will turn to their student manager, Chuck Van Kula, to backup Thatcher Demko tonight in the Beanpot.

From what I can find on Google, Van Kula played at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia and was an ICSHL All Star in 2013. He started 93 games over his final three years at St. Joseph’s, posting a 2.84 goals-against average and an .892 save percentage his senior year.

Van Kula is a sophomore at Boston College, and is scheduled to graduate in 2018.

Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/26

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

The league standings started to take shape over the weekend and some teams certainly made the most of their opportunities against teams near them. Harvard outclassed Cornell at Lynah on Saturday, which saw them build on a good win at Colgate on Friday night. Dartmouth continued its resurgence with a weekend sweep opposite of Harvard, while Clarkson and Yale picked up three points. Quinnipiac still has a wide margin in the league standings, followed by Harvard, RPI, Yale and Dartmouth. The Big Green are now 7-1-0 since the break and are on a current five game winning streak, including four against conference opponents.

Over the weekend I got to visit the two Central New York rinks and had a good time in doing so, certainly both share interesting histories and a certain charm. It is always tough to see old barns close, like Starr, and I really enjoyed that rink. Cornell of course had quite the atmosphere for the Harvard game, but it was quelled fast as Harvard never looked challenged by the Big Red.  Cornell is winless in its last four and is dropping fast, as its offense has sputtered in recent weeks. (more…)

Kevin Roy Returns For Northeastern

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Northeastern captain and senior forward Kevin Roy returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 13 on Friday night, missing 12 games with an upper-body injury. Roy finished with an assist, helping on Dylan Sikura’s goal in the third period as the Huskies extended their unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2) in a 5-2 win over Merrimack.

Roy was listed on the line chart on Northeastern’s third line, alongside Brendan Collier and Sam Kurker

“I thought he looked really well,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said. “He played 200 feet, he went on the offense, he snapped a couple off, he was really good away from the puck coming back, and that’s how we’re playing as a team. He’s been watching a lot and he has seen it. He jumped right in there and I thought that this was one of his best games all year. I thought he skated really effortless and a lot of fluid to his game. It was nice to see him back. He snapped off a couple of passes there, one to Sikura there for the goal.

“You mention third line, but we have three lines we think can score goals. If Kevin Roy is our third-line winger we might be in the NHL next week.”

Hockey East Weekend Preview, 1/22/16

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Providence and Vermont went at it in a heavyweight fight last weekend, and the result was one of the most controversial games of the season. Kevin Sneddon was suspended one game after berating officials and throwing water bottles over the ice. Clearly, that’s something punishable by the league and according to Hockey East’s release, Sneddon accepted the suspension and apologized to officials, but I also think his frustration was warranted.

“I accept it with humility and regret,” Sneddon said. “It’s time to move on.”

That game was a mess.

Simply put, the officials lost control. Providence just welcomed back Jake Walman after an injury he sustained in early December, and he took a charge from Brady Shaw that nearly re-injured him. According to Mark Divver of the Providence Journal, Walman was in a red no-contact jersey this week.

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Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/17

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

The second half of the ECAC season is off to its usual tough-nose nature. All teams came back from the break improved, with Dartmouth and Brown most improved. Quinnipiac continues to lead the league by a wide margin, now seven points, as its top competition of Harvard and Cornell have each dropped games in recent weeks. RPI now sits in second, followed by Cornell and Harvard. Those three teams are separated by a mere three points, while Yale is a mere point behind them four points out of second. The league standings are tight and it will make for a phenomenal second half. RPI and Quinnipiac will meet on Thursday night

Nationally, the league has dropped off a bit but it is because the league is so strong from top to bottom. Clarkson has picked up two wins against top teams, SLU and Harvard. Cornell dropped a game against RPI on Friday and picked up a tie against Union. The ECAC has four teams in tournament positions, with each of them in the top 10. It also has nine teams in the top 27 of the Pairwise and six in the top 19. Quite frankly, on a given night every team can beat any other in the ECAC. This is what makes the league great. (more…)

ECAC Weekend Preview 1/15

Friday, January 15th, 2016

This week, the ECAC returns to full conference play, with Princeton and Quinnipiac having the weekend off. There are many intriguing matchups on the docket, but to me the game of the week is RPI and Cornell on Friday night. RPI has struggled of sorts of late, while Cornell has continued its strong play. Harvard and SLU will also meet on Friday night, with both teams carrying losing skids and in need of wins. A lot of teams can do themselves good in both the conference and national picture, but some teams need wins more than others. SLU and RPI would be most beneficial to the national picture if they could pick up sweeps, while teams like Harvard and Cornell could further their position in the league standings. All told, it should be a pretty good weekend of action throughout the league. (more…)

Hockey East Weekend Preview, 1/15/16

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

It’s hard to believe that the playoff push begins now, but with so many non-conference games over and done with, it’s the push run for Hockey East.

Here is a look at this weekend’s series:

Boston University vs. Boston College (home-and-home) — It’s the marquee matchup of the weekend, without question. We’re not sure if the Eagles will have Thatcher Demko back between the pipes as of this writing. The BC goaltender returned to practice this week after what was described as an “upper-body injury,” that according to some not-so-quiet whispers was a concussion.

BU was sparked last week by the returns of Ahti Oksanen and Matt Grzelcyk. Time is running out for the Terriers, however, if they want to be one of the top teams in the Hockey East standings come the end of the season. BU is only two points behind Notre Dame for third in the league, but the Irish have a game in hand. The Terriers sit four points bak of BC for second in Hockey East.

Mike’s Pick: Series split.

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Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/12

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Harvard struggled defensively last week, but its offense is still the most talented in the league. Despite a poor showing in the first period against Quinnipiac at Madison Square Garden, where they left trailing 4-0, the Crimson were able to come all the way back to force overtime. Quinnipiac got a goal from Derek Smith in a seeming fitting ending on the World’s Most Famous Stage. Struggles were abounded in non-league play, as SLU was swept by struggling Northeastern, while Colgate split with Maine in Orono.

This weekend marks the return of ECAC play for most league teams, while Quinnipiac and Princeton have the weekend off. Quinnipiac has a commanding lead in the standings, but it is not as large as it appears. Its lead over Cornell sits at nine points and it has a ten point lead on third place, RPI. But both the Big Red and Engineers have games in hand. Cornell has four games in hand, while RPI has three games on the Bobcats. Five points separate Harvard in fourth place and Union in tenth place. The battle for the last bye and home ice positioning looks to be as close as it usually is. but then again it is still early, with most teams yet to hit the halfway mark of the league slate. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/6

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

The ECAC keeps winning in non-conference play and in recent weeks it has picked up in regularity. Last weekend both Harvard and Dartmouth took home holiday tournament titles, while Union also went undefeated at the Ledyard Bank Classic and missed out to its conference rival on goal differential. Brown took down one of the best teams in the nation, defending national champion Providence, looking good in the process. RPI also split a non-conference series with Miami. Clarkson did the same against Bowling Green. All told, the league is now second in inter-conference record with a .620 winning percentage against the other leagues.

ECAC  teams have played strong schedules, partly because they have played each other but it is furthered by the fact it has played strong non-conference schedules. Dartmouth played a pair at Michigan, Brown played Providence twice, Quinnipiac hosted St. Cloud twice and so on and so forth. This helps the overall strength of schedule and because the league has won a good portion of these games, the ECAC is doing really well in the Pairwise. Quinnipiac and Harvard are one and two in the Pairwise, while four other teams join them in the top 15. All told, there are six teams in NCAA tournament positions (QU, Harvard, Cornell, Yale, SLU, RPI), five league teams in the top 10 of Pairwise and eight in the top 20. You can see how strong the schedules have been in the league, in CHN’s Krach ratings.

The most interesting addition in the top 20 is Dartmouth, who played a murderous schedule in the first winter and is 5-7-1, but because of its strength of schedule it is right in the thick of a tournament bid if it goes on a run in the second half. It could be a monumental year for the league in terms of the NCAA tournament and how many teams make it, if the trends continue. There will be no easy games in the second half of the conference slate. It seems as though there is a high probability of at least five teams, but six is a possibility. The worst case scenario seems to be four. (more…)