This Week in D-III Women’s Hockey:
Feb. 15. 2007

Mother Nature sure can be a drag. Due to the fact that the Northeast got buried in snow this week, the big clash between Plattsburgh and Middlebury was postponed and will be made up Tuesday night. As a result, we will have to wait yet another week to see who will have the inside track on the No. 1 ranking at the end of the regular season.

Although Middlebury’s battle with Plattsburgh didn’t take place, the Panthers were still in action this weekend, and they found themselves with a bigger fight than expected. On Friday night the Panthers hit the road to face NESCAC foe Amherst. The Lord Jeffs fought Middlebury to a 2-2 tie and beat Williams 5-4 in overtime to improve to 14-5-3 this season and cracked the No. 10 spot in this week’s USCHO poll. Congratulations to Amherst and coach Jim Plumer on what is shaping up to be the most successful season in their program’s history.

Statz breaks record

That wasn’t the only news Friday however. Out west, Wisconsin-Stevens Point goaltender Amy Statz rewrote the record books. Statz set history with the most career wins by a goaltender ever. Needing just one win to break the record, Statz made 13 saves in helping her team defeat Wisconsin-Eau Claire by a score of 5-2. With her 63rd win, Statz broke the previous record of 62, held by former Plattsburgh goaltender Carolyne Roy ’05 and former Middlebury Panther Kate Kogut ’06. With her win total now up to 64, Statz is just padding her total from here on out. The Pointers have four game left in the regular season, meaning if Statz finishes with over 70 career wins, Pointer fans could have an exciting March.

Tigers slay Valiants

With the showdown between Plattsburgh and Middlebury called off, the most important game of the weekend shifted to the ECAC East’s two-game series between RIT and Manhattanville. Manhattanville has been the dominant team in the ECAC East for some time, representing the conference in the NCAA’s every season of its existence. The Tigers, however, are hoping that changes this season.

Led by former Valiant Danielle Nagymarosi and the top offense in the nation, RIT swept the Valiants by scores of 4-3 and 4-0. The sweep was a first for the Tiger’s in their history. They now stand No. 5 in the latest USCHO poll while the Valiants dropped to No. 8. The Tigers have been impressive this season and the hockey world seems to finally be taking notice. With a record of 19-2-1 and wins over Elmira, Utica, and Manhattanville, this team is going to be a force in the playoffs. With such a good record, it is possible that an NCAA berth is theirs for the taking even without winning their conference playoffs. Of course, no team ever wants to take that chance. The Tigers seem focused and on a mission. It is nice to see a new face in the mix each year, and this year, the Tigers are it.

Who will make the playoffs?

The NCAA Regional Rankings were released today and there does not seem to be many surprises. In case you missed it, here are this week’s NCAA Regional Rankings.


1. Plattsburgh
2. Middlebury
3. RIT
4. Elmira
5. Manhattanville
6. Utica
7. Bowdoin
8. Amherst


1. Gustavus Adolphus
2. Wisconsin-Superior
3. Wisconsin-Stevens Point
4. Wisconsin-River Falls
5. Lake Forest

Now that the rankings have been released, let’s take a look at what the tournament field would look like if the playoffs began today.

For the sake of projecting the field, let’s assume that the favorite all win their conference playoffs. This mean’s that the teams in the four conferences with automatic qualifiers are in the dance. These teams are:

ECAC West – Plattsburgh
MIAC – Gustavus Adolphus
NESCAC – Middlebury

With four of the seven teams easily decided by the criteria let’s take a look at the Pool B berth. The Pool B spot goes to the highest ranked team in a conference without an automatic qualifier. Since the NCHA is the only conference to fall under this category, this means that a team from that conference will get the nod.

After look at the rankings, it comes down to either Wis.-Superior or Wis.-Stevens Point. Since the Yellowjackets finish ahead of the Pointers in the NCAA rankings, we will give them the nod as the next team in the big dance.

So right now, the NCAA field looks like this:

ECAC West – Plattsburgh
MIAC – Gustavus Adolphus
NESCAC – Middlebury
Pool B – Wis.-Superior

With two slots left in the field, all other teams who have not made the tournament will now be compared against each other. The NCAA will then determine which two will be the last teams to go to the tournament.

The way Pool C works is they will take the top two teams from the east and the top two teams from the west and select the best two squads out of those four.

Going by the rankings, the two eastern teams are Elmira and Manhattanville. The western squads are Wis.-Stevens Point and Wis.-River Falls. Since the NCAA does not release a ranking of teams from different regions, we will use the next best tool which is the USCHO Pairwise Rankings. The PWR is used to mimic the NCAA selection criteria and is based of a set of five criteria: Winning Percentage, Quality of Wins Index, Head to Head record, Record vs. Common Opponents, and Record vs. Ranked Teams.

When these teams are placed into the PWR rankings here is what we get for a result:

Elmira beats Manhattanville 1-0 with an advantage in the QOW.

Elmira beats Wis.-River Falls 2-0 with advantages in Winning % and QOW.

Elmira and Wis.-Stevens Point tie 1-1.

Manhattanville beats Wis.-River Falls 2-0 with advantages in Winning % and QOW.

Manhattanville and Wis.-Stevens Point tie 1-1.

Wis.-Stevens Point beats Wis.-River Falls 3-0 with advantages in Winning %, QOW, and record vs. common opponents.

Elmira – 2
Wis.-Stevens Point – 1
Manhattanville – 1
Wis.-River Falls – 0

Since Elmira beats out two out of the three teams they capture the first Pool C spot. The next spot comes down to Wis.-Stevens Point and Manhattanville. Let’s take a look at their head to head comparison.

    Manhattanville vs Wis.-Stevens Point
WIN      0.7353  1           0.7250  0
QOW      9.6471  0          10.3500  1
H2H     0- 0- 0  0          0- 0- 0  0
COP     0- 0- 0  0          0- 0- 0  0
RNK     0- 0- 0  0          0- 0- 0  0
PTS              1                   1

As you can see, Manhattanville has slim edge in Winning Percentage while the Pointers have much larger advantage in Quality of Wins Index. While everything is so close, and there is case for each team to be taken over the other, this week we are going to have to go with the Pointers as the last team to be selected for the NCAA tournament.

With all the teams, selected, out field looks like this:

1- Plattsburgh
2- Middlebury
3- RIT
4- Elmira

1- Gustavus Adolphus
2- Wis.-Superior
3- Wis.-Stevens Point

This forms these Quarterfinal match-ups:

Gustavus Adolphus – BYE
Elmira @ Plattsburgh
RIT @ Middlebury
Wis.-Stevens Point @ Wis.-Superior

With this scenario, it looks much like the situation that we had last season. Plattsburgh is currently the clear cut No. 1 team in the country, however due to the NCAA’s policy to limit travel prior to the semi-finals it looks like the Cardinals will be playing a quarterfinal game yet again. The question now is, will the NCAA send the Frozen Four out west and let Gustavus Adolphus host, or will they wait and see the results of the quarterfinals like they did last season.

Whatever the case may be, it sure is going to be an exciting finish to the season. For those of you that are buried under several feet of snow, stay safe and enjoy some great hockey!