Archive for the 'Big Ten' Category

Big Ten: Big Ten: A Look Into Corsi, Week Seven

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Big Ten play finally kicked off this week. Given how the teams have played against non-conference teams, I was intrigued to see what their Corsi numbers would look like. For the most part, 5-on-5 play Corsi numbers hovered around 50 percent.

Michigan State and Ohio State faced off, as did Michigan and Penn State. Both series were split, although Michigan’s win over Penn State on Saturday night was very lopsided. The last few minutes of the game were disastrous for Penn State, which allowed five goals in the third.

Since we’re getting into Big Ten play, I want to note that these stats don’t represent how good a team is, just what their possession looks like. And when you’re looking at possession, think of quality scoring chances. Michigan State rarely out-possess opponents, but they’re still able to win for multiple reasons. Jake Hildebrand, their goalkeeper, is very good, and so are some forwards like Mackenzie MacEachern. The most important reason is the Spartans are very good at finding quality scoring chances when they have the puck.

The stats and context are provided below. Because it’s Big Ten play, I listed the stats a little bit differently this week: (more…)

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 24

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Well, that was an interesting weekend.

Both Big Ten conference matchups ended in splits, except Michigan rebounded from a 3-2 loss with an 8-1 win. Yes, they scored eight goals against Penn State, and five of those goals came in the third period. After rewatching Michigan’s 8-1 win, the final minutes of the game was a disaster for Penn State. The Wolverines were aggressive in their loss, and continued that play in the victory on Saturday.

The weekend confirmed my suspicion about Big Ten play: I will never know which team is going to win on a given night. Except for Minnesota.

The more the season progresses, the less I know what to expect from any team — except Wisconsin. Even though the Badgers are winless and lost to Colorado College, they still have a legitimate chance to finish high in the Big Ten conference. That’s how inconsistent and questionable the conference is right now.

As far as Ohio State and Michigan State goes, I still don’t know which team is better. The Spartans won 3-1 the first night, but fell to Ohio State 3-0 the second night. From the first game, I learned why Michigan State can win without possessing the puck. They generate quality scoring chances and Jake Hildebrand is good. And so is And Mackenzie MacEachern.

Hildebrand wasn’t the only Big Ten goalkeeper to start both games over the weekend, as Penn State’s Eamon McAdam, Michigan’s Zach Nagelvoort and Ohio State’s Matt T0mkins also played in both games. Joel Rumpel was the only netminder who didn’t, as he only played in the 3-2 loss to Denver.

McAdam has appeared in net for Penn State after replacing a pulled Matthew Skoff on Nov. 14. McAdam has started in three straight games, and his save percentage dropped from .952 to .906 after Saturday’s eight-goal game. Nagelvoort didn’t look too shaky for Michigan, and has started four straight games. Tomkins earned his first shutout of the season in Ohio State’s 3-0 win on Friday.

The only guarantee in the Big Ten is that Minnesota will finish first. But anyone could finish from second to sixth. The scary part is there’s a chance Wisconsin, the worst team in the country, could finish higher than last place.

Also, KRACH is out — the best way to rank reams. Minnesota is fifth, and the next highest team is Penn State at 20. Ohio State is 27, Michigan 31, Michigan State 40 and Wisconsin dead last. Yes, just after winning the Big Ten tournament, the Badgers are dead last. Given the confusing nature of the Big Ten, that order sounds right.

(After the jump: I will never understand Michigan, why Michigan State can win without the puck and Corsi things)
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Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Nov. 19

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

It’s finally here. This weekend, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State start conference play. Big Ten teams have struggled out of conference this season, there are little clues about what will happen in conference play.

Both conference matchups are intriguing. Penn State has the second-best overall record in the Big Ten and has consistently played well. But it’s possible to argue Penn State hasn’t beaten quality opponents. Michigan has continued its inconsistent play, but at times the Wolverines have looked like a strong team. This will be a test for both teams.

With a Thursday matchup, the Buckeyes and Spartans will start conference play. The past four games between these two teams have gone into overtime, and the Buckeyes went 1-0-3-2 in those games. (This is also your friendly reminder that the Big Ten has shootouts.) This series features two teams known for low scoring, and it could come down to the goalkeepers.

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a how Big Ten shootouts work. Each OT or regulation win earns a team three points. If the game goes into a shootout, the winning team gets two conference points and the losing team one. For PairWise purposes, all shootout games are officially counted as a tie.

After spending three of the past four weekends on a bye, the Badgers are back in action with a trip to Colorado. First the struggling Badgers play Colorado College and then they’ll travel to Denver. Minnesota will face the NTDP U-18 team in exhibition play.

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Big Ten: Big Ten: A Look Into Corsi, Week Six

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Minnesota was swept by Minnesota-Duluth last weekend, suffering losses of 3-0 and 2-1. Both Penn State and Ohio State split their weekend games, while Michigan swept AIC. The Spartans dropped a 3-2 decision to Boston College.

Ohio State’s Corsi numbers seem to be improving, and most teams in the conference have Corsi numbers around the 50 percent mark. Michigan had the highest Corsi close and 5-on-5 Corsi from the weekend as they dominated AIC.

Here are this week’s Corsi stats, with Corsi close and other explanations listed below:

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 17

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

What a weekend of college hockey. Michigan Tech is still undefeated, Minnesota lost both games to Minnesota-Duluth and Ohio State played Bowling Green well — and earned the series split.

Ohio State and Minnesota’s results were very surprising, but for different reasons. The Bulldogs earned 3-0 and 2-1 wins, backed by Kasimir Kaskisuo in net. On Friday, Minnesota’s home winning streak of 17 games was snapped with the shutout loss. The last time the Gophers lost on home ice was also to the Bulldogs.

After an early 2-0 hole on Saturday, the Gophers battled back in the third. But it was too little too late, and Minnesota wasn’t able to tie the game. The already intense rivalry became more intense when Dominic Tonanato hit Minnesota’s Kyle Rau in the closing minutes of the game, forcing a scrum that almost turned into a full-fledged flight.

The Buckeyes pleasantly surprised this weekend against in-state rival Bowling Green. In the first game, the Falcons struck first. But the Buckeyes scored three goals in the third — including the game winner from Anthony Greco with 34 seconds left in regulation. Scoring was more spread out the next night, but the Falcons also scored the game-winning tally late in regulation.

It was an interesting weekend for Penn State as well. The Nittany Lions lost to UMass Lowell 5-3, which prompted a goalkeeping switch to Eamon McAdam in the middle of the game. McAdam started the second game, helping Penn State to a 4-1 win. Casey Bailey had four points on the weekend, while Taylor Holmstrom — who’s tied for the nation’s lead in points — had five. His 16 points also leads the Big Ten.

As expected, the Spartans fell to Boston College. After a 2-0 deficit, the Spartans rallied just short and lost 3-2. Michigan State blocked less shots than BC, something to keep an eye because they were notorious for blocking shots last year.

Michigan swept AIC at home, but that indicates nothing of how Michigan will play this season, especially in conference games. The Wolverines won 5-2 and 5-3, and Andrew Copp had four points on the weekend, while Zach Nagelvoort started both games.

(After the jump: More goalkeeping controversy, stop looking at PairWise, and the great rivalries)
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Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Nov. 13

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Five teams will play for the Big Ten this weekend, as both Penn State and Michigan return from byes. The Badgers will be idle for the third time in the past month.

But the best part about this week is it’s the last week of non-conference play for several teams. Next week Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan will kick off Big Ten play.

Several teams will be tested this week, as the Gophers should have tougher competition against Minnesota-Duluth in a home-and-home series. Ohio State will have its own challenge in Bowling Green, a team that sits tied for second in the WCHA — a conference that’s quietly been one of the better ones this season.

Michigan State will host a struggling Boston College team, while Penn State will face against UMass Lowell. The pair of games will contribute to the Big Ten-Hockey East Challenge.

Inconsistent Michigan returns home to host AIC, and should be able to snap out of their losing streak.

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Big Ten: Big Ten: A Look Into Corsi, Week Five

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Four Big Ten teams played this week, and Wisconsin returned to action after a two-week bye. The conference finished 3-5 over the weekend, with Minnesota sweeping Notre Dame and Michigan State splitting its series with UNH.

This is the first week I’ve been able to calculate Corsi for the Badgers, who are 0-6-0 on the season. On Friday, Wisconsin recorded a Corsi close of 38.10 percent, while on Saturday it was 50.82 in 5-on-5 play. I delve more into the situations of both games below, but the Badgers lost 4-3 on Friday and 5-1 on Saturday.

Following the theme of scoring more goals while possessing the puck less, the Spartans recorded four goals in a 4-3 win over UNH, and finished the game with a 39.62 percent Corsi close. In Saturday night’s loss, Michigan State’s Corsi close was 46.94 percent.

Like last week, I provided the Corsi for each game by period. Below those stats, I have more details on Corsi close:

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Nov. 10

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Now that we’re a month into the season, it’s evident the Big Ten conference is one of the weakest. Penn State, idle last week, has the second-best overall record in the conference with five wins. Minnesota is already cruising through its schedule, and will more than likely have an easy time taking down other Big Ten teams.

Of the four schools in action last week, Michigan State was the only team besides Minnesota to earn a win. The Spartans split its series with UNH, but Wisconsin and Ohio State were both swept by North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha, respectively.

The Buckeyes dropped their first game 4-1. On Saturday, the Buckeyes had a 3-1 lead against Nebraska-Omaha before allowing three unanswered goals in the 4-3 loss. Tanner Fritz leads Ohio State’s offense with nine points, while Matt Tomkins and Christian Frey have continued splitting starts.

Michigan State defeated UNH 4-3 on Friday, winning its second game in a row and scoring four goals for the second night in a row. On Saturday, the Spartans lost 5-2. Matt Berry and Mackenzie MacEachern each have eight points this season, and the Spartans seem to be lowering their block total by week and now average 15.25 blocked shots per game.

The Gophers defeated Notre Dame 5-0 and 4-2 over the weekend, despite playing without Travis Boyd and Brady Skjei. So far, the Gophers have swept through almost all of their opponents, and should find conference play very easy.

(After the jump: What’s up with Wisconsin, the goalkeeping dilemma and Big Ten woes) (more…)

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Nov. 6

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Four Big Ten teams will be in action this week, as Michigan and Penn State both have byes. Three teams — Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State — will be tested with some out-of-conference matchups.

The Gophers should have an easy time facing Notre Dame, but the Badgers, who are winless this season, will take on rival North Dakota. To make things more difficult, the freshman-heavy Badgers also haven’t played a game in two weeks.

Michigan State continues the Big Ten-Hockey East Challenge with a trip to New Hampshire, its first since 1982. Michigan State, a team seldom known for offense, will face a Wildcat team that allowed eight goals in its last game.

Last weekend, the Buckeyes earned their first win since the season opener. They’ll face Nebraska-Omaha, which hasn’t lost since opening weekend and has two of the nation’s top scorers.

The Buckeyes, Spartans and Badgers have all struggled this season, and they should be the most tested teams in out-of-conference play this week.

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Big Ten: A Look Into Corsi, Week Four

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Five Big Ten teams were in action this week, as the conference finished with a 5-4-1 record. Michigan lost both games to Michigan Tech, Michigan State split with Ferris State, Minnesota split with St. Cloud, Ohio State tied and beat Canisius and Penn State swept Bentley.

Like last week, I calculated Corsi stats for total and 5-on-5 play in each period of each game, which are listed below. This week I also paid more attention to Corsi Close, so Corsi in close-score situations (when there’s a one goal difference in the first two periods or when the game is tied). Those calculations are in the analysis paragraphs at the bottom.

Here are the Corsi stats: (more…)