Archive for the 'Notes, Thoughts, Ramblings' Category

Big Ten: A Look Into Corsi, Week Three

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Last weekend was a much better one for the Big Ten. With Wisconsin and Ohio State on byes, the conference finished with a 5-3-0 record. Penn State swept Holy Cross (and recorded the highest Corsi of all Big Ten teams), Minnesota swept Bemidji State, Michigan split and Michigan State lost both games by one goal.

In the 3-1 win over Holy Cross, Penn State recorded a second-period of Corsi of 88.37 percent. As impressive as that number is, the Nittany Lions had a 5-on-5 Corsi of 63.44 percent in the 7-1 win over the Crusaders.

Minnesota’s Corsi wasn’t spectacular in the sweep, which seems to be a pattern for the Gophers in this young season. Minnesota’s Corsi hovered around 40 percent for the 5-2 win on Friday and rose to around 50 percent on Saturday.

Michigan State’s Corsi was a lot higher than I thought it would be, given how little the Spartans are known for puck possession. But after a rough time at Boston University, the Spartans bounced back for a 53.85 percent 5-on-5 Corsi against UMass Lowell. Unfortunately for the Spartans, the game ended in a 2-1 loss. But Michigan State recorded a season-high Corsi of 78.13 percent in the second period of that contest.

Michigan’s Corsi also stayed around 50 percent for the weekend, when the Wolverines dominated UMass Lowell 8-4. I’ll provide some more context into Michigan’s Corsi later on.

As like last week, I listed the stats below, but I’ve also provided some context with a focus on Corsi in close-score situations. (This also might be worth checking out for Michigan and Michigan State, because I watched them last weekend against BU.)

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ECAC Power Rankings: Oct. 28

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

I was going to wait until the Ivies started, but I decided that it was time to premiere the inaugural edition a week earlier. There have been some noteworthy trends, of course. Quinnipiac has fallen off the map (A loss to UConn does that), Union is still Union and Colgate is good like we expected. St. Lawrence has arguably the two most impressive wins, defeating Miami and  Ferris, while Clarkson and RPI are struggling mightily. I will try not to move the Ivies too much from their preseason position but RPI and Quinnipiac warrant movement down.

Just as a reminder road wins and home losses count more to me than home wins and road losses. I guess I am like the pairwise in that those things matter to me. Whereas St. Cloud’s home win at Union was impressive, Colgate’s road win at St. Cloud will  be equally impressive. Without further ado here we go. I will apologize in advance for my lame sense of humor, I figured I would make everyone laugh to begin the year.  (more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Oct. 27

Monday, October 27th, 2014

The Big Ten fared much better this week, going 5-3-0. Minnesota and Penn State both swept the weekend, while Michigan split and Michigan State lost both games.

I’m a little proud of myself for correctly guessing the results of all of the games this weekend. But predicting some of these outcomes, even though it’s still early, has gotten easier.

Minnesota continued its strong start to the season with two victories over Bemidji State. The Gophers put up five goals in each contest, earning scoring from several different players. The Gophers are now 4-0-0 on the season.

Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, depending on how you feel about Michigan, the Wolverines took down UMass Lowell 8-4 on Friday before falling 3-2 to Boston University. Michigan State played in two one-goal contests, dropping games against both the River Hawks and Terriers.

Penn State swept Holy Cross with a 3-1 and 7-1 wins. That’s the second time this young season the Nittany Lions have won 7-1. Freshman Scott Conway had two goals and tow assists in the win, while Rickey DeRosa added three assists. Taylor Holstrom recorded an assist in each game, and he’s now the team’s leading scorer with eight points.

The results seemed to confirm a few things: Minnesota is still dominant, Penn State might be a top-three conference team, and Michigan State still plays in close games.

(After the jump: Michigan is for real, why the Spartans are good and why they’re bad, and how Penn State could finish third.) (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC, Oct. 27

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Last weekend was a tough weekend all around for the conference. In all honesty it was disappointing at 4-5-1. St. Lawrence’s win against Miami and Union’s win against St. Cloud will go down as the highlights of the weekend. The lowlight’s will go to RPI, which was swept in a weekend series at home against Bentley. Union’s long streaks came to an end on Saturday, as a tough St. Cloud team defeated them in Schenectady. Union won 16 consecutive games, were unbeaten in 22 games and hadn’t lost a home game in nearly a year. All of those streaks should be a source of pride for the small school, because there have been very few teams that have attained streaks of those size in college hockey history.

The Ivies will begin play this weekend and conference play will get underway this weekend with three games. As always, it is a long road to get to this point of the season for the six Ivy league schools and its fans. I living closest to three Ivy league schools myself, Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown always look forward to this time of year as well because it means the pool of games to see is always bigger.

This weekend should be dubbed a rivalry weekend, as RPI and Union will renew their rivalry at the same time Clarkson and St. Lawrence renew theirs. RPI and Union will play back to back nights in conference games while the Clarkson and St. Lawrence weekend will be a non-conference pair. (more…)

Three Things I Think: Hockey East, Oct. 27

Monday, October 27th, 2014

So here we are, once again. Saturday night, Boston University came back from a 2-1, third-period deficit to beat Michigan, 3-2, at Agganis Arena.

It was a great win for BU, and a tough loss for a Michigan team probably deserving of the victory. Both of these clubs have a lot to look forward to this season after disappointing years. Right on cue, the questions came in from college hockey fans wondering about this week’s rankings.

Polls — Everyone’s favorite completely meaningless method of measuring a college hockey team’s value and progress. Inevitably, one reader said that the polls were important because “the top 16 make the (NCAA Tournament).”

I always expect these questions early in the season. Like new players come into teams each year, there are new fans or those taking a greater interest because their favorite team is better. And every season, I have to remind people that A. Polls are completely irrelevant and B. Even thinking about the Pairwise until after Christmas is a complete waste of time.

The Pairwise has its problems. It’s made by people and changes from committee to committee, so there are are some biases inherent in the algorithm. Still, it’s a very good process, and it rarely gives us a field with an undeserving team.

The Top 16 teams in some poll have nothing to do with the NCAA Tournament. It’s at best a way to tell fans which teams are better than others. At worst, it’s an inelegant way to attract eyes to a website.

Six conference tournament winners make the NCAA field. The 10 remaining teams with the best Pairwise standing earn the at-large bids. They’re then seeded, banded and grouped based on their Pairwise standing and a few other considerations designed to make the tournament more exciting and profitable for the NCAA.

Please stop paying attention to polls. It’ll make you smarter. Just enjoy wins for now. Even some clubs with poor records are in good shape for the rest of the season despite pollsters arbitrarily shooting them down the top 20 because a goalie on some team played out of his mind for a night.

Polls are bad because they mislead fans. Polls are bad because they emphasize fleeting results instead of focusing on a strong couple games that will eventually yield wins for teams. Stop asking me about polls. Stop looking at them. Stop thinking about them. They mean absolutely nothing. Just worry about the way teams play right now. It’s all that matters.  (more…)

The Takeaway: UNH dominates Colorado College

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Durham, NH- It was the home opener for UNH and the Whittemore Center was packed to the brim to welcome a struggling Colorado College team. UNH dominated the opening stages of the game but were unable to get quality chances at the CC goal. At 16 minutes, 57 seconds of the first Maxim Gaudreault scored shorthanded, off a 2 on 1 rebound, to give UNH a lead it never relinquished.

Gaudreault would score a similar goal in the second period to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead. Cody Bradley responded a minute and  a half later to bring Colorado College to within one. But UNH’s freshman duo of Andrew Poturalski and Shane Eiserman scored goals 12 seconds apart to give UNH a three goal lead. UNH scored another two in the third, while CC added another to give New Hampshire the 6-2 win.

UNH improved to 2-2-0 on the young season, while Colorado College dropped its fourth straight decision to fall to 2-4-0. The Tigers were outscored 12-4 i its two games over the weekend. (more…)

NCHC Weekend Preview, October 24-25

Friday, October 24th, 2014

There’s only one conference series this weekend, as Denver visits Minnesota-Duluth in the league openers for both teams… but every other NCHC team (except reigning CHN Team of the Week Nebraska-Omaha) is in action in nonconference competition.

DENVER AT MINNESOTA-DULUTH

The reigning NCHC tournament champ Pioneers visit Duluth after a weekend that saw Jim Montgomery’s crew outscore Rensselaer 7-1 in a weekend sweep. The story out of Magness Arena a week ago was the play of Zac Larazza and Quentin Shore, who combined for four goals while playing on a line with highly-touted rookie left-wing Danton Heinen. The trio led the offense, while the Pioneers enjoyed strong goaltending from Evan Cowley, who picked up both wins. On Saturday, he replaced an injured Tanner Jaillet just 2:20 into the Jaillet’s first career start. Cowley and Jaillet will likely split this weekend’s games.

Meanwhile, UMD has seen an inconsistent start to its season, with a pair of Friday night losses coupled with a pair of Saturday night wins. Last weekend, the Bulldogs beat Minnesota State 6-2 a night after falling to the WCHA’s Mavericks in overtime. The player to watch: sophomore Dominic Toninato. The Duluth native scored seven goals last year as a freshman … and already has five this season. The Bulldogs offense has been rolling and will face a tough test against a seasoned and responsible defensive unit in Denver.

Prediction: Denver wins Friday, Duluth wins Saturday

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Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Oct. 24

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Four Big Ten teams will return to action this weekend after the conference collected a 2-7-1 record last weekend. Michigan and Michigan State were the only two teams who won, defeating UNH and Massachusetts, respectively.

Both Wisconsin and Ohio State were swept last week, and both teams will sit off for a bye this weekend. The Badgers dropped two games to Northern Michigan, falling to 0-4-0 on the season, while Ohio State lost to Miami.

The Spartans and the Wolverines continue the Big Ten-Hockey East challenge with a trip to Massachusetts. Both teams will face Boston University and UMass Lowell. 

Both Penn State and Minnesota will host matchups this weekend. The Nittany Lions return home after the Brice Alaska Goal Rush. The Gophers will host in-state rival Bemidji State.

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ECAC Game of the Week: St. Cloud State at Union

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

I figured I would start a pre-weekend blog to go along with the Three Things I Think and the Power Rankings, which will commence with the Ivy League season. I figured a preview format would be pretty boring, I have tried it before. It was always long and tedious. Instead, each week I will pick a game on the ECAC calendar to call the game of the week. I will also provide my predictions for the weekend for all the games, while also providing a blurb  into my thought process.Without further ado, here’s to the inaugural edition.

St. Cloud State (1-1-0, 0-0-0 NCHC)

at Union (4-0-0, 0-0-0 ECAC)

All time series: 2-1-2 St. Cloud

Fri and Sat 7pm (more…)

Big Ten: A Look Into Corsi, Week Two

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

This week was a difficult one for the Big Ten. With Minnesota on a bye, the conference finished 2-7-1. Wisconsin and Ohio State were swept, with Michigan and Michigan State picking up the only conference wins.

I calculated Corsi statistics for Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State based on the statistics available. After looking at Ohio State’s stats, and the shot charts from various periods, it’s easy to see the Buckeyes had possession problems over the weekend.

Below is a list of the Corsi stats for those teams (I haven’t been able to put it into a table yet, so it’s still a long list). Below the stats, I provided a breakdown with context of each period. I hope this information will provide some more background to the stats. (more…)