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College Hockey:
Weekend work-up, Jan. 30, 2012: Bulldogs and Buckeyes and Parity — oh my!

Yet again, a weekend of play reminds us of how unpredictable this season is. Three quick things:

1. Ferris State may be the story of the year — or not. Raise your hand if you thought the Bulldogs would be in first place at any point this season. Okay, so if you’re a die-hard Bulldogs fan, you may be jumping out of your seat right now, but I doubt even FSU coach Bob Daniels saw this coming. As the only team to sweep this past weekend, the Bulldogs now find themselves in first place for the first time this season with a one-point margin over the three teams immediately behind them, Miami, Western Michigan and Ohio State. At midseason, FSU was fifth; with an undefeated January (6-0-2, 4-0-2 CCHA), the Bulldogs have rocketed up the CCHA standings — and they did so without a single knockout punch. Every win was by a goal. They didn’t take the shootout point in their tie with Alaska Jan. 13. The Bulldogs are averaging just 2.79 goals per game, the 33rd-best offense in the country.

2. Ohio State has made the most of that once-generous points cushion. The fact that the Buckeyes are in second place after going 0-4-4 in January says two things: 1. The five-point lead that the Buckeyes held when they ended the first half in first place was greater than the sum of its reality. 2. The parity in the league made those five points work as a larger cushion, but it’s not because the Buckeyes did themselves any favors in January. OSU hasn’t won a game since beating Robert Morris Dec. 30 and the last OSU league win was against Miami Dec. 10. In January, OSU went 0-4-4; those four ties brought them exactly four points, as they didn’t earn a single extra shootout point in the month. Goalie Cal Heeter’s numbers are still very good and OSU scored three or more goals in three of those eight games — one loss, two ties — so something less than obvious is amiss in Columbus.

3. You don’t need a lot of shots on goal to beat a ranked team in this league. All those teams at the top — from the first-place Bulldogs to the three teams one point behind them in second place — have both Alaska and Bowling Green to thank, in part. The Nanooks beat visiting Notre Dame, 6-3, on Friday night, and they did so with only 23 shots on goal. Steven Summerhays gave up four goals, Mike Johnson gave up two, and the Fighting Irish’s biggest weakness — team defense — was exposed again. Western Michigan enjoyed a brief moment in first place after Friday’s win before dropping Saturday’s game to Bowling Green, 2-1. The Falcons had 22 shots on Frank Slubowski; two were all they needed. For Alaska, it was the sixth league win of the season. For the Falcons, it was their third, their second in two weeks. In fact, the Falcons are .500 in 2012 (2-2-2).

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  • Fox5 2

    Hey Paula,The few weeks should be very interesting in the CCHA some good matchups that will have a Big outcome for the regular season standings.As you can see the 2nd half of the season is when teams wake up and start playing hard night in and night out(except ohio state).And as far as the regular season standings,they really don’t matter once the tourney starts you’ll see the power houses of the CCHA come to life.My 1 question is,How do the Voters determine te ranked teams??I can’t quite understand how teams lose 8 straight or 4 of 6 games and they stay put in the rankings.Do they use the rankings 2 pick the NCAA tournament?Sorry that’s 2 questions.Thanks.GO BLUE!

    • IHF

      Fox5 2:  I hope your not offended if I assume you are new to the sport?  The process for picking the tournament is very transparent.  It may not be perfect but most college hockey fans at least are happy that we know exactly why our team makes it or doesn’t.

      Go to the black banner on most USCHO pages and mouse over rankings, then click on Mens D1: PWR.  This will give you the current ratings.  Remember each conference gets one automatic bid to the NCAA tournament (whoever wins their post season tournament), and the other 11 teams selected will be the highest rated teams in the pairwise ranking (PWR) who didn’t win their tourney.  The PWR that USCHO and many other college hockey sites list only really matters once the conference tournaments are complete.  The numbers now are always needed to be looked at as “if the season ended now.”   Remember to check out the “bracketology” articles on this site and FAQs on some of the others.  They will explain all the ins and outs of how the field is selected and seeded, and how the teams end up wherever they end up.

      • Paula Weston

        Thanks, IHF, for telling Fox5 2 about how to get to the PWR.  I didn’t mean to imply that the NCAA selection committee’s process isn’t transparent — clearly, given the ability to mimic it with the PWR, it’s not much of a mystery — but there are variations sometimes that aren’t apparent until it’s all over.

        And Fox5 2, absolutely check out the excellent “Bracketology” blog.  When things come down to it and USCHO’s Jayson Moy is blogging weekly, Bracketology is a fun as well as useful read.

      • Fox5 2

        Not new 2 the sport,just new 2 computers.I live in New jersey and as you can guess we get no college hockey or college hockey news.It sucks.Thanks for the power ranking info,it still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  • Paula Weston

    Good morning, Fox5 2!

    I can’t speak for all voters, but I know that when I vote I look at not just a team’s most recent performance but overall trends and developments.  Some voters may take the PairWise Rankings into consideration, too.  You allude to Ohio State, which had a rough month.  OSU is still high in the PWR, though, so that may affect some voters.

    The NCAA hockey selection committee has its own formula for picking the 16-team tournament field.  We at USCHO think that the PWR mimics that process closely, but no one knows for certain until the field is announced exactly what the committee seems to have done to pick a given year’s field.  The poll has nothing to do with that process. 

  • Josh

    As a Lake State fan, here’s what I DON’T get. Ohio State is winless in eight games, yet maintains a top ten ranking nationally. That’s pathetic. 

    LSSU, who took 5/6 points from the Buckeyes, not only fail to move up significantly, but actually drop a spot LOWER in the voting! What the heck? You know who passed them? Michigan State…who got swept over the weekend.

    People are stupid everywhere.

    • Fox5 2

      Josh totally agree with you,you can’t lose 8 straight and drop 8 spots over 4 weeks.I don’t care who your competition is.Ohio state is a fraud anyway.

      • Josh

        Thanks Fox5 2! I have to admit, I still think Ohio State is a decent team. But I believe they are severely overrated, and that the voting seems to be playing favorites. We saw this at the beginning of the year when 7-6-1 Denver was ranked #10. 

    • Bigguy9329

      you’re right, thats ridiculous.

      • Josh

        Thanks for the support!

    • Day Man

      While I think the voters you speak of have some logic behind them, I still agree more with you. Its laughable sometimes!

    • Day Man

      In the second month of the season Miami U swept Alaska and moved from 26th in the votes to 25th.  Next they beat and tied Michigan and didn’t move a single spot.  I know they built up some negative charge going 2-6 in October but it was still crazy that a pretty good weekend didn’t convince enough voters to result in moving closer to the top 20. Its all opinion though and I believe every voter wouldn’t claim omniscience in the matter. They try to fairly rank teams though and their scope of knowledge only extends to so many teams.

      • Josh

        Thank you Day Man! I would prefer to edit my post, as I don’t believe the voters to be stupid…but it still makes little sense to me why some teams can move up with ease or take forever to drop. Conversely, some teams play a perfect weekend and move up one spot (or in the case of LSSU, actually drop in the voting). 

  • dusty bronco

    Dang, lose one game drop from first to fourth. Should be a great finish and I can’t wait until Ohio Sucks comes to Lawson…gonna get rowdy

  • WMUFAN

    Paula I have a question about your article about the Sheahans hit on Walters. We all know who made the hit on Walters including the ND coach Jackson.The video doesn’t lie. So why didn’t he appeal the penalty on Costello so the CCHA could review it. Then the proper penalty could be assigned to Sheahans? He had no problem appealing that infraction when they assigned it to the player who really did it. So my question is why would Jackson be so angry!!! He knew who committed the infraction. If he would have done the right thing from the start. We would not even be discussing it.I question coach Jackson motive about this whole incident. It just doesn”t make any sence.

    • matt foley

      as a ND fan, i gotta agree w wmufan; jackson should have owned up on the spot; even though sheahan’s hit was clearly not a head shot, it also was clearly planted on a defense-less player who didn’t either have the puck or had just released the puck.  there’s also something very wrong w an officiating system that allows video review on goals but not to correctly identify the correct player on a penalty.