Quinnipiac’s First Conference Loss Almost Seemed Inevitable

Posted: February 13th, 2016 / by Josh Seguin

It was bound to happen and in all honesty Quinnipiac’s first loss in the ECAC has been brewing for some time. The Bobcats probably should have lost a few games in recent weeks. There was the miracle goal with 9.8 seconds left against RPI, which probably was put in by an Engineer defender, that provided a tie in that game. Then there was the comeback against Dartmouth from down three goals in the third period, which wasn’t all that special but more of a bloodbath. Before those games it was a win against Princeton, where it trailed by a pair in the second period.

To say the Bobcats were playing well, would have been a wrong assumption, but the fact they got this far without a conference loss is notable and an accomplishment. Since the break, whether it be complacency or overconfidence or peaking too early, QU just hasn’t been the team that it was in the first half of the season. Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...

Hockey East Weekend Preview: 2/12/16

Posted: February 12th, 2016 / by Mike McMahon

Maine at Notre Dame — Maine hits the road after getting swept by Providence last weekend, while Notre Dame is looking to put together a new unbeaten streak, after Boston College snapped the longest streak in the nation two weeks ago. The Irish got back on track with a sweep over Vermont last weekend.

During a stretch of 15 games where the Irish have gone 11-1-3, goaltender Cal Petersen has a .946 save percentage.

For Maine, much of any success rest of season will come down to how well its goaltender plays. In overall games (not just conference games), Maine’s 1.93 goals per game is worst in Hockey East. Last weekend, in a 1-0 overtime loss to Providence, Matt Morris made 50 saves to almost earn Maine a point, despite the Black Bears getting almost doubled-up in shot attempts, 85-45 (75-39 at even strength).

Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 12

Posted: February 12th, 2016 / by Jashvina Shah

All six teams are back in action this weekend. It features the top three teams playing the bottom three teams. Michigan will play Wisconsin, Penn State will play Michigan State and Minnesota will play Ohio State.

While the bottom three teams most likely can’t get a top two seed, the race is heating up for the top three times. And Michigan’s series is important for the PairWise, because a loss to the Spartans last weekend really hurt the Wolverines.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 9

Posted: February 9th, 2016 / by Jashvina Shah

After just four Big Ten teams played this weekend with mixed results, it’s hard to learn anything new. I’m left with more questions than answers, and am even more unsure of where each team stands.

Minnesota beat Penn State 4-1 before losing 5-3. Michigan State beat Michigan 3-2 in overtime on Friday night, snapping Michigan’s eight-game unbeaten streak. The Wolverines rebounded with a 4-1 win on Saturday.

After the weekend (and before the Beanpot), Michigan dropped to sixth in the PairWise. Penn State is 16th and Minnesota is 21st. The Wolverines and Gophers are tied for first in the Big Ten while Penn State is third – six points behind both teams. The Buckeyes are fourth with 12, Michigan State has nine and Wisconsin has six. 

(After the jump: Is this the norm for Michigan State, Michigan will still probably win the Big Ten Tournament and anyone can beat anyone.)

Is this the normal for Michigan State?

The Spartans now have two wins in their last four games, and have stopped a couple of good offenses in Michigan and Ohio State. Despite losing to the Wolverines on Saturday, only allowing four goals isn’t bad – especially because Michigan State’s defense has really struggled this year.

The win over Ohio State was impressive, but it was hard to tell if it was a one-time thing for the Spartans or an indication of improvement. But beating Michigan and holding their offense to six goals over the weekend makes me believe the Spartans are improving.

Michigan will probably still win the Big Ten tournament 

As much as I enjoy changing my preseason picks in the middle of the season, I have to stick with Michigan. While the Wolverines can lose one game in the tournament, it’s not likely going to be in an offensive shootout. I think the only Big Ten team that can stop Michigan is still Michigan State, but I’m not sure the two will face off in the tournament.

Anyone can beat anyone 

The only thing I really learned after last weekend is that any team in the conference is capable of beating any other team in the conference (well, that’s hard to say for Wisconsin right now.) But Penn State and Minnesota have already played in a couple of tough series, Ohio State has hung in with Michigan and now even the Spartans have proved they can beat the conference’s elite.

This makes it really hard to predict the tournament and the regular-season standings. It will most likely be Penn State, Michigan and Minnesota in the top three spots, but it’s hard to tell who’ll finish first and second. 

Comment on this Post ...

Three Things I Think: ECAC 2/9

Posted: February 9th, 2016 / by Josh Seguin

Another interesting week hit the ECAC over the weekend, as Quinnipiac continued to remain unbeaten and Clarkson continued its hot streak. Quinnipiac, Clarkson and Yale have a combined for just two losses in their last 30 games. Those three teams are making hay within the league standings, with Quinnipiac running away with the lead. Harvard has struggled recently and it is now tied with Yale for second in the league, seven points behind the Bobcats for the league lead.

One of the interesting aspects of the ECAC standings right now, is that the top eight is pretty much figured out. Clarkson and Cornell are in a tie for seventh, with 17 points. That mark is six points up on ninth place Union. Although it is mathematically possible for a team from the bottom four to catch up with the top eight, it seems unlikely with just six games remaining in the regular season. This should make the battle for the top four and the byes all the more interesting, as positions two to seven in the standings are separated by just four points. One should look at Yale and Clarkson as the favorites to take two of the top four. This would leave the other position to Harvard, Dartmouth, RPI and SLU. The Engineers, Saints and the Big Green are currently tied for the fourth position. Without further ado here are my thoughts for the week. Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...

Projecting the Final Hockey East Standings Using KRACH

Posted: February 8th, 2016 / by Mike McMahon

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...

Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 5

Posted: February 5th, 2016 / by Jashvina Shah

Conference play is back in action for just four teams this weekend. The Gophers, Nittany Lions, Spartans and Wolverines are playing this weekend while Wisconsin and Ohio State take a break.

Minnesota and Penn State will play while Michigan and Michigan will face each other. These are two series that have already happened earlier this season. The Wolverines dismantled the Spartans, while the Gophers and Nittany Lions split.

While Michigan and Michigan State are far apart in the standings, Minnesota and Penn State are separated by just six points. And remember, because of shootouts there are three points up for grabs in each Big Ten game. Three points are awarded for a regulation/OT win, two for a shootout win and one for a shootout loss. Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...

Three Things I Think: ECAC 2/3

Posted: February 3rd, 2016 / by Josh Seguin

Separation from positions two through eight is hard come by in the ECAC standings right now, but the only tie in the league is 11th where Princeton and Colgate are tied with eight points. The seven teams between 2-8 have a progressive seven point difference. Harvard has 19 points, RPI has 18, while each of the teams below them have one less point until reaching ninth place Union which is three points behind eighth place Clarkson. Dartmouth and Quinnipiac played an interesting, 7-5 game in Hanover on Friday night and the Bobcats remained undefeated in ECAC play. Right now Quinnipiac, is running away with the league (6pts up) and it is time to acknowledge that fact.

I think the biggest question going forward is not the title race, but whether or not Quinnipiac can finish the season with less than two losses on the season in league play. Both of these numbers would be historically significant, because the league has only seen less than two losses ten times, with most of them happening before the 1980’s arrived. The last team to have one loss in ECAC play, was 1984-85 RPI. That RPI team went 20-1-0 in the ECAC, losing its first game to St. Lawrence and then ran the table with 20 straight wins. There has been only one team in ECAC play that went undefeated, which was 1969-70 Cornell that went 21-0-0. That Cornell team is often the bench mark of college hockey, as it also holds the distinction of being the only team that finished a season undefeated, 29-0-0. Although Quinnipiac also has more ties, finishing with  less than two losses would be a monumental feat to say the least. The Bobcats have played 14 games and are 11-0-3 with eight games remaining in the ECAC. It has been a historic run for Quinnipiac thus far, who are 20-1-5 overall this year.

The national picture has gotten better in recent weeks, despite teams dropping. Quinnipiac is the clear number one in the pairwise and will be even if it starts dropping games, while Harvard is seventh. Those two are joined by Yale, Rensselaer, Dartmouth and Cornell in the top 16. All four of those teams are in jeopardy with losses over the next few weeks, as Dartmouth and Cornell are 15 and 16, while Yale and RPI are right in front of them at 13 and 14. If the tournament, started today four league teams would be in, while two others would just miss out. All in all, this is fine but we also know how much of a grind the ECAC is. Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...

Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Feb. 1

Posted: February 1st, 2016 / by Jashvina Shah

Another weekend of the season featured an in-conference matchup, a different stage and the last pieces of non-conference play for these teams. My biggest takeaway from this weekend is that the conference is a mess – and you can’t make much out (aren’t they all, though).

Minnesota and Michigan are tied for the conference lead while Penn State is third, Ohio State is fourth, Michigan State fifth and Wisconsin last. I know several weeks ago I said the Spartans would finish last, but now I’m not so sure.

Michigan State split its series with Ohio State, winning 4-2 before falling 2-1. The Wolverines swept Penn State. Minnesota dropped both its games at the North Star College Cup, while Wisconsin swept Alaska in non-conference play.

After the sweep this weekend, Michigan has moved really high in the PairWise – standing in fourth place. They’re the only team safely in the PairWise, though. Penn State is next at 17th and Minnesota is 20th.

(After the jump: Maybe MSG was a better idea, weaknesses non-conference play exposes, and the same dilemma with Michigan) Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on this Post ...

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

Posted: February 1st, 2016 / by Mike McMahon

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.

Comment on this Post ...