ECAC Northeast and MASCAC Weekend Roundup: Dec. 6

It’s not even New Year’s yet, but the conference races in the ECAC Northeast and MASCAC are shaping to be a tightly contested battle down the stretch.  Much of the flux in the standings over the last few weeks can be attributed to the lack of games in hand, but much of the change is due to the competitive balance that defined both leagues last season. Here’s a recap of the weekend that was.

Saturday, 12/4

Salem State 6, Westfield State 5: A wild shootout pushes the Vikings up a point into first in the MASCAC over UMass Dartmouth, who was idle in conference play. The Owls led 3-2 entering the final period, but a frantic third period saw a combined six goals (four by Salem State), and dropped Westfield State to 1-3 in MASCAC play.

UMass Dartmouth 3, Stonehill 2 (OT): A non-conference dip here, but it doesn’t seem to matter for the Corsairs, who are off to a 6-1-1 start. Dan Dempsey’s second score of the night gave UMD the win at 3:05 in the extra period.

Worcester State 3, Fitchburg State 2 (OT): Shocker of the weekend. The Lancers are now in third place in the MASCAC thanks to a hat trick by senior Chris Wallin, including the game winner in overtime. The win marked the first time in seven seasons that Worcester State beat Fitchburg State.

Plymouth State 9, Framingham State 1: The Rams actually scored first, but it was all Plymouth State after that, leaving Framingham still looking for their first win on the season.

Salve Regina 7, Western New England 5: While Framingham State came up short in an effort to get their first win, the Seahawks out slugged the Golden Bears Saturday to grab their first victory of the season and give head coach Andy Boschetto his first career win. It also marked the Seahawks’ first win in their last thirty games (o-29-1)

Curry 4, Nichols 2: After a shaky start, the Colonials are reverting to form. Curry is 4-0 after an 0-2-2 start.

Sunday, 12/5

Westfield State 5, Western New England 4: For the third time in three years, the Owls are the Falcons’ Cup Champion, in a game held at the MassMutual Center, home of the AHL’s Springfield Falcons. WNEC lead 1-0 early and scored twice in the third period, but wasn’t able to pull out the win as they now sit at 3-5-1 after a 3-0-1 start.

Johnson & Wales 8, Salve Regina 5: One of many slugfests on the weekend put the Wildcats at 3-0 in conference play, one point behind first place Wentworth.

Wentworth 5, Suffolk 0: The Leopards have been buoyed by the play of several freshman and now sit alone atop the ECAC Northeast.  Suffolk falls to 4-7, and their eleven games played mark the most of any ECAC Northeast team.

Midweek Picks

Weekend record: 6-3

Overall record: 37-21


Westfield State at Worcester State: Westfield State 5, Worcester State 4 (OT)


Nichols at Franklin Pierce: Nichols 6, Franklin Pierce 2


Stonehill at Wentworth: Wentworth 5, Stonehill 2

Plymouth State at Fitchburg State: Fitchburg State 5, Plymouth State 3

Southern Maine at Salem State: Salem State 6, Southern Maine 3

UMass Dartmouth at Framingham State: UMass Dartmouth4, Framingham State 0

Weekly Awards

ECAC Northeast

Player of the Week

Joe Siemone, Johnson & Wales: Siemone scored a hat-trick, including the game-winner, and added a pair of assists to lift Johnson & Wales to an 8-5 victory against Salve Regina in an ECAC Northeast contest on Sunday.

Goalie of the Week

Chris Azzano,Wentworth: Azzano stopped 49 of 52 shots in a 2-0 week for Wentworth.  He turned aside 27 shots in a 5-3 win over Nichols before earning his first career shutout with a 22-save performance at Suffolk.  For the week, he posted a 1.50 goals against average and a .942 save percentage.

Rookie of the Week

Corey Lillie,Wentworth: Lillie factored into six of Wentworth’s 10 goals this past week by scoring three goals and assisting on three others.  In Wentworth’s 5-3 win over Nichols, he had a goal and two assists before closing out the week with two goals – including the game winner – and an assist in a 5-0 win over Suffolk.

Honor Roll

Mike Paglino, Wentworth: Paglino scored a goal and added four assists for a five-point week.

Travis Owens, Curry College: Owens made 18 saves in a 6-3 victory over Suffolk and 35 saves in a 4-2 win over Nichols.

Joe Colaianni, Salve Regina University: Colaianni scored two goals and dished out three assist to help the Salve Regina University men’s ice hockey team snap a 30-game winless streak (0-29-1) with a 7-5 win over Western New England on Saturday afternoon. He also scored a goal the following afternoon against Johnson & Wales.


Player of the Week

Chris Wallin, Worcester State: The senior had four goals and an assist for five points in a 2-1 week for the Lancers, including his first career hat trick in 3-2 win over Fitchburg State.

Goalie of the Week

Bryan Kalczynski, Worcester State: Stopped 50-of-52 shots for the Lancers in a 3-2 win over Fitchburg State.

Honor Roll

Kevin McCready, Fitchburg State: Had two assists in a 3-2 loss to Worcester State.

Jason Stahl, UMass Dartmouth: Had three goals and four total points in a 2-0 week for UMD.

Collin Tracy, UMass Darmouth: Senior continued breakout season with a 1.95 GAA and .922 save percentage in two wins.

Jack Astedt, Plymouth State: Posted two wins and a 1.80 GAA and .933 save percentage on the week.

Alex Cottle, Plymouth State: Had six points (1-5) 9j a 2-0 week for the Panthers.

Nick Lampson, Salem State: Posted two goals in a 6-5 win over Westfield State and five points on the week overall.

Dennis Zak, Westfield State: Had seven points (3-4) in three games for the Owls.


  1. Ditto on the congrats to Ferris. It’s nice to see the proverbial “little” guy lead one of the toughest conferences in the nation this late in the season. I don’t intend any disrespect whatsoever in that comment either. A lot times, in the CCHA especially with its diverse mix of schools, everybody gets caught up in talking about the larger schools. FSU and WMU have battling for the confernce lead for about 3 weeks now, and all anybody could talk about was U of M. I really thought the NCHC should have given more consideration to giving invites to FSU, NMU, or LSSU. The Broncos will probably need to win out in the regular season now to catch the Bulldogs.

    • Western probably would need to run the table here and as great as that would be, I just hope we can finish in the top four to host a playoff series at Lawson. Unless I missed something in my research, the last time the Broncos swept a team on the road was October of last season at Mercyhurst and the last time we swept a CCHA team on the road (and I’m counting two regulation/OT wins, not any SO wins) was at Lake State in March of the 2005-06 season. This trip to to Taffy Abel definitely has me concerned, hopefully all the teams below us can beat-up on one another these next two weekends.

  2. Congrats to the BULLDOGS!

    Way to get it done down the stretch!
    Bob Daniels is Coach of the Year (unless they somehow give it to Red again)

    Small school, small facility, small budget…..who cares?
    Finish strong Bulldogs!

    • Agreed, FSU has earned their place at the top and a full congratulations goes their way.  You would think Daniels would be an obvious choice for Coach of the Year, but then again Blashill should’ve have been picked last year and they gave it to Jackson.

      • Completely agree!!  Blashill should have received the Coach of the Year.  He turned that program around in 1 year, unbelieveable!  Being an Ferris Alum, of course my obvious pick would be Bob Daniels, but we’ll see how things shake out these final 2 weeks of the regular season.  Should be an exciting last week of hockey with a home and home series against those tough Bronco’s.

  3. I would expect Paula to get the Big Ten beat.  She’s based in Columbus, after all.

    The CCHA trophy should be frozen in carbonite.  Or maybe they should just call the 9-team conference which will have five current CCHA members the CCHA instead of the WCHA, and call the 8-team conference with 6 current WCHA members the WCHA instead of the NCHC.

  4. They are ranked 5th because they are the hottest CCHA team behind Ferris. Michigan has only lost 2 games since Christmas while the rest of the CCHA (again, save Ferris) has been consistently playing .500 hockey. Polls are pretty much about what you’ve been doing lately, so losing for a while and then getting hot at the end of the year is going to bag you more credit than splitting every weekend.

    In terms of Pairwise, that’s probably got everything to do with the fact that we’ve split with good teams but have a winning record against the top teams we’ve played. We swept Ferris at the beginning of the season, and have a win over BC. If we can sweep Northern this weekend, that’ll make a winning record against the next CCHA team in the rankings, and we have a winning record against the next two CCHA teams in the Pairwise as well (2-1-1 with Miami, 3-1-1 with MSU).

    I would also like to point out that the scheduling this year is the exception, not the rule. Michigan generally schedules a HE team every year and normally has the College Hockey Showcase as well. Wisconsin decided they didn’t want to do the Showcase since the BTHC is on its way, and I’m not really sure why we didn’t play a HE team at the start of the season (which kind of makes me sad, since we have been @ BU, @ BU, and @ UNH the last three years and I would have liked to finally see one of them come to Yost during undergrad).

  5. Paula, don’t know if it is still the record, but there was a GLI Final at the Joe in the 80sor early 90s that I was at, MSU and Munn South in it’s heyday, vs. MTU and I am pretty sure it was over 21,000.  Place was absolutely jammed and, of course, wild.   Was a great scene.   

  6. Paula, while Alaska may be as good on the road as they are at home, MSU is much better at home than on the road. I see 6 points staying in East Lansing.

  7. Paula, I’m glad you picked NMU to get swept. If your predictions were correct, NMU would be 12-18-0 this year instead of 14-10-6. This “unpredictable” team has lost just 4 of its last 17 (10-4-3).

  8. Which NMU-Ann Arbor October series were you referring to? NMU won 5-3 and tied 3-3, then losing the shootout. NMU 1-0-1-0 on the weekend, 4 pts. Ann Arbo r0 -1-1-1, 2 pts.

    • Probably right around the same time as the game when NMU lost to SCSU in double overtime by a score of 4-2…Paula’s record on NMU and the other smaller schools in the CCHA is an embarrassment.

      • SHHH!  You must NEVER mention her 4-2 double overtime game!  She has yet to retract that and I hear the pool is up to over $1000 if you get the date right of her retraction, it’s a $10 buy in let me know if you’re interested.  I hear the odds in Vegas on Paula making at least one mistake in an article that contains information about Northern Michigan University is coming off at even money, so I think the retraction pool is your best chance at winning some decent cash.  Just to let you know I already have money down on “When Hell Freezes Over” and “Never”.

  9. I would still like to know the rational for Paula to ding the Cats from 9th PWR to 19th in the ballot.  I’m getting the idea from all of this that there is simply a focus on personal favorites. 

      • It certainly isn’t just Paula but she ‘should’ have a better grasp on what’s happening in the CCHA than a lot of the other voters who aren’t as familiar with the smaller schools in the league. She could easily just say this is what I see when I look at NMU and that is why I place them there, this is what I was thinking, I was looking at these factors, ect and end the whole thing. The only problem that would be things along the lines of an NMU win and a tie and sol equaling losing 5 points to Michigan…

    • What’s I’d like to know is how fans of a team with a .500 record in conference can complain that I play personal favorites when I rank their team 19th in the Poll.  Ohio State is tied for 15th in the PWR and ahead of NMU in the CCHA standings and I don’t have them ranked at all — and yet no OSU fans have emailed me or posted here to complain that I’m playing favorites of some kind.  

      I put them one ahead of where they ended up in a poll that has 50 voters.  Is everyone playing personal favorites?  And as Wildcat Fan points out, NMU’s ranking is not unique to the USCHO Poll.

      • Because its the norm to hear about how Northern is some cliched enigmatic two-word phrase or something like that, then you pick against them and screw up all their stats. Of course NMU is unpredictable if you don’t have any correct information about them. Its worse when every single reader knows you have seen NMU play at least once this year. 
        When readers see that and then your poll is so similar to the national trend, it looks like you are taking the lazy way out and just plucking out a common name. When this practice is done by your own conference blogger it can become pretty insulting and the hate mail cometh. The actual acts are forgotten because the readers just want to get angry and find faults in everything.

        *Disclosure moment* I have unfortunately done the same thing in some no-hockey polls I do for spots 20-25. Its mostly for teams I haven’t seen play though and have to rely more on stats than actual play. 

      • How about taking a look at overall record, win % and strength of schedule. Of your #19 NMU, 18 WMU, 16 MSU 15 Miami and 13 Notre Dame, who has the best winning %? NMU, with Notre Dame tied for the poorest % of that group. Who had second toughest schedule of that group? NMU.Who had the 2nd easiest? Notre Dame. None of those 5 teams has a better overall record and only MSU has played a tougher schedule.

        • how about the TUC % (record vs. teams under consideration for the tourney)…Miami, ND, northern all have below .500 records..OSU and WMU sit right at .500.

          To me this is the best indicator of how good a team is, how well do you match up against teams you might play come march and the CCHA just doesn’t look so hot, mainly due to league parity and everyone beating up on everyone else

      • Well seeing as you want to go by winning percentage I guess ranking them 19th is valid.  I wonder why you ignore things like Strength of Schedule and RPI which explain why NMU is ranked 9th in the PWR, which unlike your opinion actually mean something come tournament time.  I guess this also explains why you rank Union and Cornell #11 and #12 when neither team would make the tournament without an auto bid.  You know who else has a better winning percentage, Air Force, RIT and Quinnipiac, but I see when it comes to them you take into account their SOS and RPI.  Here’s a good one, you put Colorado College 14th on your ballot, a team that is tied for 20th in the PWR and is one spot ahead of NMU in Win%.  I guess what we’re all wondering is why you pick and choose which statistics to use when it comes to different teams.  If you didn’t do that there wouldn’t be room for people to rip apart your ballot every week.

      • If you actually took the time to check NMU stats you’d get a much kinder response. You consistently make errors when dealing with their stats and when these mistakes are pointed out instead of just taking it on the chin and fixing it you make excuses. I’m sure a middle aged divorcee has so many pressing matters that spending five minutes checking an article for acuracy is out of the question.

  10. Hopefully WMU can shake this Saturday thing. It does still kind of confuse me how a team can be 2nd in arguably one of the best conferences in college hockey and be on the outside looking in for the national tournament. I get how it works with the pairwise, but something just doesn’t make sense

  11. I think Western is a year away from being an elite team.  You can see the desire and even the talent is there, but they are too young and can’t close the deal, which is why they can’t get a sweep, even when outplaying their opponent. 

    Give Murray a full offseason and the underclassmen another year to mature.  I bet they win the CCHA next season.

  12. Hey guys, sorry I’m late to the “Paula made another mistake hate fest”, but that’s what happens when you have a 4 hour time difference.  I’d just like to remind everyone to be very careful on calling out Paula on blatant errors.  Doing so may result in having your posts removed, edited, or in my case always needing to be reviewed by a moderator before posting.  Don’t worry, I’m sure Paula will fix her mistake just like she always does(n’t) when it comes to off the wall statistical errors related to NMU.

    • When it comes to moderation of the forums following articles, it’s usually not what’s said but how it’s said that gets people into trouble.  For the record, I’m not a moderator — and flagging can come from anyone, including other posters. 

      • Paula, if you have time to make responses like that, then why don’t you have time to make sure your statistics are accurate?  Better yet, why is it that your articles with statistical errors in which NMU takes the hit never seem to get fixed? I’m sure you allow your students to go back and fix the mistakes that you catch while grading their papers, and assign them a new grade after the changes are made.

  13. I think Northern will get swept in Ann Arbor. Michigan’s too good at home. And the reason why Northern isn’t ranked as high as they are in the pairwise? Maybe it’s because we live in reality where Northern isn’t a top 10 team and the pairwise isn’t perfect. I mean seriously, Northern is 8th in the CCHA and there’s still a ton of other teams that are clearly better like BC, BU, UMD, Denver, Umass-Lowell, etc. 19th is about right

    • Yet U of M-AA could only manage a tie when they played in Marquette.  Yes, lets ignore the statistics and assign rankings based off of perception.  You do realize that only 6 points separate 8th place NMU and 2nd place Western, and that if (yes a big if) NMU were to sweep U of M-AA you would be ranked below NMU in the CCHA standings.  Though I’m sure you would still insist that U of M-AA is still somehow better than NMU.

  14. OK lets let it go.  Hopefully there will be two great games to watch this weekend.  The games in Marquette were pretty intense. 

    Remember when it was so funny that USCHO writers were talking up Yale? They had first place votes after playing about half as many game as anybody else and  they were  in the 20’s by PWR.  No one has fallen farther and gotten so much hype press in the process. 

  15. Nice pick on the sweep by Michigan.

    By the way, this will probably change after the later games tonight, but as I’m typing this, Michigan is number one in KRACH, RPI, and the Pairwise.

  16. Guess What NMU Wildcat Fans?It was a clean sweep!GO BLUE.Forget the games in October,Michigan is playing there best hockey NOW(when it matters)ITS GREAT TO BE A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE.

    • I am guessing a walmart wolverine….or U of M has not taught their students the difference between “their” and “there” 

  17. Good call on Michigan. Won Friday despite terribly one-sided officiating and won Saturday despite playing probably their worst game since Thanksgiving.

    Feels good, particularly with all the crap Northern fans have been talking all week.

  18. Go get that point Bulldogs and win the title outright!

    A New WCHA team (not NCHC or Big Ten) winning one of the last CCHA titles….perfect.

    • Great to see the support on this. I am a Ferris Alum, so I am a little bias on this.

      I love seeing Ferris doing this well before the conference additions. Ferris has been a growing strength in the always difficult CCHA. With the top teams from WCHA moving to NCHC, and the addition of Big Ten, it seems that Ferris is being thrown into a “weaker” conference. Long story short, great job this season showing that you belong with the big boys.

      Good Luck in Nationals!

    • thanks Bigspartan….  I’m a Ferris Alum and always like rooting for the smaller schools to do well.    Need to take care of business this Friday @ WMU to wrap the title up.

  19. Ferris State beat another below average team…yawn. Apparently people don’t choose to look at the losses to an average W.Michigan, below average Alaska, RIT, and Vermont, and getting swept by Michigan. Also Notre Dame and N. Michigan have been playing awful as of late. Have fun exiting the NCAA tourney in the first round Ferris State.

    • Why so much hate towards the Ferris State Bulldogs Jason??  Well UM plays BGSU this coming weekend another team as you put it ” below average team” So UM has an easy ending schedule??  BGSU is a young and upcoming team and deserves some credit inspite of their current record.  FSU will do just fine come the NCAA Tournament.  Is your team even being considered for the tourney?

    • Assuming you’re a Minnesota fan since you said your team is “set” to win the WCHA, you might want to check your own team’s losses before you spout off. Also, check your SOS. Just because teams are playing awful doesn’t change anything. Most of those wins against awful teams have been dominated affairs. That’s what good teams do. They don’t play down to their competition.

      I am not claiming that Ferris will succeed in the national tournament because I think, as the year as shown, that any team can win on any given night. Regardless of what happens, RIGHT NOW, who else would you vote for? The Bulldogs haven’t lost in 7 weeks.

      This is why I hate polls.

  20. So if WMU sweeps Ferris AGAIN!, will they get any respect in the polls, my sneaking suspicion is they will not. Although my other hunch is that WMU won’t be able to win on a Saturday for some reason 

  21. I’m not quite sure what the issue is here. If there is no autobid participant, I would argue that there is nothing to protect. 12-16 should all be about equal to one another. If there is an autobid participant, then it is someone demonstrably lower than the 16 seed you have here, so there is something to protect. And if there are multiple autobids, then there is more scope to give the number 1 seed any of these as “protection.”

  22. I am a student at Niagara University and know for fact that our hockey team can compete with the best in the country. I think we are seeded right where we should be at the moment. However if our team continues on its current pace and wins the Atlantic Hockey Title I feel we should be a strong 6 or maybe even 5th seed come tournament time. I know many people know little to nothing about Niagara University and its athletic programs but our school is on the verge of becoming a new mid major along the lines of Butler and Gonzaga.

    • Until you get knocked out in the AHA playoffs, eliminating your chances of an NCAA birth. Anything can go in single elimination games, so don’t count on your golden ticket just yet.

      • Unless they slide down the stretch, think Niagara would stay within top 16 even if they lose their tournament. That being said, SCSU and ND must be salivating at prospect of that Providence bracket……

        • I was actually wondering that myself. For example, if they lost to RIT in the tournament (who are having a horrible year), or another poor performing AHA team, would their PWR drop significantly enough to not be invited otherwise?

          Edit: If not.. this would be a historic season where two AHA teams make the NCAA playoffs.

          • If Niagara lost in their tournament and dropped under 14 in the PWR, the winner of the AHA tournament would go in as the automatic bid. There would only be one AHA team in the tournament.

          • Depends how they finish regular season. Have Mercy, AF, Canisius, Morris. Can see a couple losses there….

    • No one can deny your enthusiasm for your schools hockey program but it’s a little bit of a jump to state for a fact Niagara can compete with the best in the country. Yes, Holy Cross and RIT has had success in the past but I wouldn’t consider that the norm. Here are some facts to consider: Niagara’s SoS is 56th out of 59 in the country. Niagara’s record against TUC is 2-2 with it’s two wins coming against HC and Bobby Mo. That’s 8 less games played against TUC then any other current tourney bound team. Not exactly marquee wins against the best in the country now is it. Obviously time will tell for Niagara but to say they are a mid major hockey program based on this season’s results seems a bit far fetched,

    • “…know for fact that our hockey team can compete with the best in the country.”

      Do you have any evidence that this is true?

      • I mean, I’d say teams like Niagara, RMU, or Air Force at this point can win and one game against almost any opponent. Are they going to win 9/10 games or even 5/10 games? No, but the NCAA tourney is single elimination, and as RIT proved anything can happen in one game.

        • Until they show they can beat someone even remotely good (I can’t seem to even find a quality win) I honestly don’t think you could say that. When you look at the Pairwise Rankings they have only played two games against a team on the list and that was a split with Holy Cross.

    • Niagara wouldn’t even stand a chance against any of the likes of the WCHA. Not even a sniff towards the top of the standings. Just be happy that they are in atlantic hockey or the tournament would be a reach at best.

    • Agreed – it’s two hours from Kalamazoo to Toledo, and an hour from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids. Jayson’s making it out like they’re practically next door.

      If you put Minnesota and NoDak in Grand Rapids, and Miami and Western in Toledo, you’ve got two solid regionals. He’s moving things around just for the sake of making things more complicated.

      • If you look at how much WMU packs the Joe, I think they can get similar numbers in the much smaller huntington center 45 minutes south

  23. Let Niagara play a tougher schedule and then we can talk about if they deserve to be in the tournament. An AHA schedule just does make the grade.

      • Please tell me you are kidding. Niagara hasn’t played ANYONE inside the top 20 this year or until the end of the year. That’s ridiculous to consider they are tied in pairwise with North Dakota considering 70% of their schedule is against top 20 teams. It just doesn’t make any sense at all.

        • It goes to show that perfection (practically) in the AHA is about as valuable as the .600 win percentage No Dak has put up in the WCHA. How can you even be mad that a team that has executed flawlessly, though against weaker teams, is on par with a team has had an average season in a tougher conference? That seems pretty spot on to me.

          • Against weaker teams is an understatement. None of them have even sniffed the top twenty. Their SOS is basically at the bottom and when they do finally play a good team, not great team, you will see how badly they get outplayed and beaten. Unfortunately their schedule won’t let them play one so the tournament is going to have to do. But for now it’s just a waiting game. The top tier of the AHA doesn’t even compare to the bottom of the WCHA. Maybe HE but not WCHA.

          • Well of course. The powers of BSU and UAA would win the AHA easily but Maine, Vermont or Northeastern would probably be no better than the middle of the pack… really?

      • Well, both of you would benefit from a little thought before you type. The AHA deserves a bid no doubt in my mind, seen by some of the competitive games they’ve given HE WCHA ECAC and CCHA teams. At the same time don’t be so jaded Leo when it comes to PWR and Niagara’s success. Niagara is where it is because of it’s win % against weak competition. TUC category hasn’t even kicked in. Here are some more numbers (might help your argument if you used some of these): 9 of Niagara’s opponents this season are in the 40-59 RPI range. That’s approximately 16 of its 26 games against the worst third in college hockey. The point is Niagara deserves to get in the tourney but they will prove themselves in the tourney not during the regular season.

        • You’re right, though I think it’s fair to say every team has to prove themselves or back themselves up in the tournament. Niagara has played almost flawlessly in conference, and that has gave them so much success in the polls. However, because of the nature of PWR, their ties and wins in NC games, including all the wins AHA teams have gotten in NC, gave them a boost. You can make the same argument for lots of higher PWR teams: they beat someone decent who also beat other decent teams..

    • Well, they could win the autobid.

      By the way, did you notice Hockey East is back to three teams. BU looks really vulnerable, so Lowell/Providence might make it in at BU’s expense.

  24. No matter what happens Minnesota is gonna have a rough road in the regionals. If they keep winning they are sill going to have to go through Western Michigan in Grand Rapids. And that is not going to be an easy road to the Frozen Four. Out of all the #1 seeds, right now it looks like the Gophers road is the toughest.

  25. You need BC or BU in Providence for attendance purposes. yes a potential UNH vs BC or BU in Manchester will be a huge draw there, but if you have Dartmouth in Manchester as well or possibly Lowell you’ll still get decent attendance (if UNH could win some post season games…). The Providence one is weak. Yeah, Notre Dame has fans and alums everywhere, but the attendance will not be there for QU, St Cloud or Niagara.

  26. Niagara is long and away the best team in the AHA. As somebody said before, the tourney will have to be where they prove themselves because looking at their conference, I can see why they stand as they do. One loss came to a freak blowout from a roller coaster of a Colgate team, another was a bad bounce to Holy Cross. But when they approached middle-of-the-pack CCHA teams in Michigan State and BGSU, they went 0-2-2. Against the likes of Notre Dame, QU, and SCSU that bodes very poorly. It would be a great opportunity to prove some meddle with an upset, but I see a pretty cut-and-dry first round exit.

  27. Why wouldn’t you switch Yale and Niagara for attendance purposes? QU/Yale in the final would bring attendance up in Providence and the move for Niagara could be better as well.

  28. No one has answered my question so far in other threads so I’ll post it here: If Niagara loses in the AHA tournament, say to Air Force, does that mean there will be two AHA teams making the NCAAs? Or will their PWR drop so harshly that they wouldn’t get an invite?

    • It would depend on how far Niagara goes before they lose. If they win 2 straight in the 1/4 finals, win the semifinal and lose to Air Force or Mercyhurst in the finals, they would not drop out of the top 14 Pairwise and the AHA would have 2 teams. This is the big disadvantage of playing in a non-power conference because losing early to a really low-ranked team can drop you 5-8 spots and out of the PWR tourney rankings.

        • I would not hate it at all. Air Force plays DU and CC every year and they are always a tough game. If it works out that Niagara and the AF/Mercyhurst winner gets in, it will be because they deserve it.

  29. My feeling is that right now Niagara deserves to be in for a couple of reasons. Pairwise is about as objective as you can get. It doesn’t care about “they didn’t play this team or they won’t play that team”. Even if they drop out of the top 14 in PWR (taking into consideration 2 autobids get in), they should get in if they win their 12-team AHA Conference anyway. Winning any 12 team conference should get an autobid, don’t forget next year the winner of a 6-team conference gets in. The only thing unfair about the Regional selections is where they put teams in the name of “attendance”. #1 seeds should get the closest site, the rest should go 1/8/9/16, 2/7/10/15, etc. The ONLY exception should be if a lower seed has the “home” site. For instance, if the “Ralph” in Grand Forks was a regional site and North Dakota (formally Sioux) was a #7 seed, they would be sent there anyway no matter how the “seeding numbers” worked out. If you notice for the last 10 years, there were a ton of empty seats for the Regional Finals if the “home” team lost their first game. By the way, I like Jayson’s bracket this week. With any luck, and hot goalies, this could be a repeat of 2005!!

  30. Though I will agree that Niagara has not played as tough of a schedule by any means as any other team in consideration, they have beaten everyone they should beat. (Aside from one of two at HC without top player). They have dominated the AHA. They have played some CCHA teams tough (MSU and Bowling Green on the road) The only other NC games their schedule allowed were 2 games vs Clarkson and one game with Colgate (Which was embarrassing early).

    Also if you think about if as of recent AHA hasn’t fared to bad at NCAA’s for the games they have been dealt.

    2012 Air Force lost to NC BC 2-0 (Closest game BC played all tournament).
    2011 Yale needed OT to get by AF
    2010 RIT beat Denver and UNH to get to Final 4.
    2009 AF beat Michigan and lost to Vermont in OT
    2008 Miami needed OT to beat AF
    2007 Minnesota by 1 over AF
    2006 HC beat Minnesota before losing the next round

    AHA comes to play vs the Nation’s best when it comes time for NCAA’s so don’t write off Niagara just yet because they haven’t gotten the shot to prove themselves vs. Top Teams.

    • Those CCHA are near or at the bottom though, so you can’t really say they were even “good” losses. I will say that the AHA does come to play when the NCAA’s roll around. They always look like they belong there.

      • I agree that those teams aren’t great but both have beaten Notre Dame this season who is currently being seen as an at-large. The AHA plays too many conference games and hurts their chance at getting multiple teams in the tourney. Seven games is not enough to make up for the weak teams they play three times a year.

        • I agree with the number of conference games being too many. HE has 27 league games, so only the same amount of room to schedule 7 games as well. It is not as much of a factor because the league, top to bottom is stronger, but it’s still too many league games. I am glad that with the addition of Notre Dame and UConn, they will only be playing 22, so have much more room to schedule.
          I was definitely not taking away from what they have done and as you stated, they always give whoever they face a tough time in the tourney.

    • I totally agree with you. I was at the 2007 regional in Denver and AF was ahead 3-1 with about 5 minutes to go. If they don’t go into an extreme shell they would have, and should have, beat Minnesota. You can’t however say “for the games they have been dealt”. Since they normally get a lower rank (14/15/16), as they almost never get in by their PWR ranking, they are paired with a #1 seed.

      • No, I agree with you on those are the seeds they have earned going in. Just stating that every year they play hard vs. the very best seeds. And they will continue to be 15 or 16 seeds until they cut the number of conference games and start playing more games vs. traditional powers to improve their resumes. Travel is not the issue. Niagara just got out of a conference with Alabama-Huntsville and Bimidji State… My opinion is they should have gone independant and waited until they had a chance to join a regualr conference.

        • Great thought about the schedule but one big problem is that most WCHA, HE and CCHA teams tend to schedule only “ranked” teams. This is not like college football where good teams schedule the “compass” (SE Maine, NW Louisiana, SW Boise State) teams early just to get extra “practice”. At least, by location, Air Force can schedule WCHA teams. It might be harder for the Niagara’s to schedule teams in the CCHA or WCHA with the new alignment next year. It is a real shame because AHA teams tend to play very tough against better competition.

  31. Though I will agree that Niagara has not played as tough of a schedule by any
    means as any other team in consideration, they have beaten everyone they should
    beat. (Aside from one of two at HC without top player). They have dominated the
    AHA. They have played some CCHA teams tough (MSU and Bowling Green on the road)
    The only other NC games their schedule allowed were 2 games vs Clarkson and one
    game with Colgate (Which was embarrassing early).

    Also if you think about if as of recent AHA hasn’t fared to bad at NCAA’s for
    the games they have been dealt.

    2012 Air Force lost to NC BC 2-0 (Closest game BC played all
    2011 Yale needed OT to get by AF
    2010 RIT beat Denver and UNH
    to get to Final 4.
    2009 AF beat Michigan and lost to Vermont in OT
    Miami needed OT to beat AF
    2007 Minnesota by 1 over AF
    2006 HC beat
    Minnesota before losing the next round

    AHA comes to play vs the Nation’s best when it comes time for NCAA’s so don’t
    write off Niagara just yet because they haven’t gotten the shot to prove
    themselves vs. Top Teams.

    • Nice post. I appreciate an AHA supporter at least presenting some information rather then tooting their own horn. Those are certainly some memorable games the unfortunate statistic in all this is the AHA won 4 games out of 28 possible NCAA tournament games in the last 7 years.

  32. Jayson how does toledo need to be stronger? UND will obviously have plenty of fans there and miami is in Ohio so i would guess they draw a decent crowd too…. its just as strong as any of the other regionals attendance wise

  33. I dont agree with alaska being higher ranked than OSU or FSU. Less wins, more goals against, less goals for, less points, makes no sense. Both OSU and FSU Split with Alaska.

  34. This guy must work for the actual selection committee, the way it looks as if he makes BC’s path as easy as he can within the “rules”

  35. At the rate the ECAC teams keep knocking each other off …. I am not sure , beside Quinnipiac, you have the right teams. Will it be Yale and Dartmouth or some combination of RPI, UNION and St.Lawrence?

  36. I generally am a fan of PWR, and I am not complaining this season as my team BU despite playing atrocious hockey for large chunks somehow barely squeezes in.

    That said, I have a question about Merrimack. Can Merrimack get itself to a place where they could get an At Large and what would be the likeliest way if possible?

    Is the only way FIRST PLACE MERRIMACK can make the NCAA is by winning HE tourney because of lousy but not that much worse than BU play against Non Conference foes? If so, I think there is something that needs to be tweaked. I am NOT suggesting that they tweak things in reaction to one team when it is after the fact, anyhow, this is just the most glaring omission of a Hockey East team I have seen in years. I do not know but it seems there are too many teams between Merrimack and that 14 slot which is probably where they would need to get minimum to have a shot at an AT LARGE bid.

    If they win HE Reg Season and then get knocked out in the qtrs, semis, or finals of HE tourney — Even though they are not my team I do not know how it works out that they don’t finish ahead of enough TUCs to make an NCAA tourney when they will be in front of Defending National Champs BC, UNH, & the Terriers.

  37. Here’s a possible scenario…. Niagara being knocked out of the AHA tourney in the quarters or semi’s. Their possible opponents have held their own (two possible opponents for Niagara in the semi’s are AIC and RMU if I did my bracket for the AHA properly). Where does that place Niagara and the two teams that are not a TUC?

    • Another possibility once again is the all-WCHA in the Final Four. Remember that a few years ago??? Well, the bracketology today shows it is likely!

      I think people are writing off Denver, St. Cloud, and Minn. State, but what they don’t realize is these teams are smokin’ good this year. St. Cloud is in 1st place in the WCHA, above the Gophers and UND. Don’t write them out of the 2nd weekend of the regional tournament.

      With seven of the top 18 teams in the country the WCHA tournament might just very well BE the national championship tourney!

      I wonder if it is possible that the WCHA reach six teams in the brackets?? Whoa…. what a thought.

      • Almost no chance that another team from the WCHA gets in if you look at it. UNO is just too far back and if they were to win the WCHA tourney that would almost certainly help knock out another team from the WCHA as DU is looking like they are going to have to do well down the stretch to stay in the top 16.

        I would prefer to not have to play this tough a set of upcoming games as any of the WCHA contenders are going to have to play now through the WCHA tourney. Just doesn’t usually work out for them, they beat each other up so much that there isn’t enough left in the tank for the national tourney.

  38. a playoff loses its legitimacy when you move teams around for sake of attendance(of which never improves)and makes rankings and the pairwise unimportant and defunct….I mean what’s the point when we FU*K it up anyways….my two cents.

  39. Don’t think the potential for a 2/5 and 3/8 matchup in the Regional finals will fly with the committee. Thankfully there will be a shake-up between now and then.

      • Be careful what you wish for. Not sure I would want my team playing Minny for the right to get to the FF. Would prefer to play them later if at all possible. You may not like them but you have to admit they have a deep team this year with a TON of talent.

  40. This seems like a lot of analysis for a bracket that could be pretty solid with just two switches. Why not just switch Yale with Notre Dame and BC with North Dakota? Yes, I realize that North Dakota would still be playing a WCHA team, but since there are 5 WCHA teams in the field, first round matchups don’t need to be avoided, correct?
    WIth those switches you have Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Minnesota State, and Minnesota in Grand Rapids, so the attendance there is great. Then there’s Miami, SCSU, and NoDak in Toledo, which is about as good as Toledo is going to get attendance-wise. Providence has QU, Providence, and Lowell, so that seems plenty good, and Manchester has UNH, BC, and Dartmouth, which is very solid.
    Attendance is fine, if not better overall with only these switches in my opinion. Toledo looks horrendous both from an attendance and a bracket integrity standpoint with Niagara there in place of NoDak. Obviously, attendance is paramount to the NCAA, but bracket integrity needs to be considered too and it seems like Jayson’s bracket isn’t necessarily better attendance-wise and is significantly worse in terms of bracket integrity.

  41. I love it. How long before this turned into some sort of crying game featuring the WCHA and CCHA. You guys are a joke. First it was Quinip holding onto the anointed ones’ #1 ranking, now it’s some sort of bracket supremacy. The “bracket of death”, the one that will be “more interesting than the frozen four” features how many of the more reason title holders?

    I’ll let you look that up. Here’s what I know. You need to look back 10 years to find goldy hoisting anything. 4 of the last 5 titles were won by a team from HEA. Kind of funny. I don’t see many HEA fans running their mouths. They must be busy doing something more interesting. cheers

    • Outside of Boston College, Boston University, and Vermont have each made the frozen four once in the last 5 years. While the CCHA and WCHA basically supply the other three every year. YES Boston College is a very good program, and yes they have won 3 of the last 5, besides them i dont see much tournament success from the rest of HEA.

  42. Let’s look at the big picture: MN is the state of hockey (just ask them).
    umtc has it’s pick of the mn elite players.
    So, to reiterate, umtc gets to select the best players from the best pool.

    So, can someone tell me why umtc does not win 5 titles every 10 years?

    • Agreed, we should win a title every other year. Everyone knows that we have the most talented team AT LEAST every other year. However, the most talented team doesn’t always win, like that Matt Frattin team.

  43. Because North Dakota is the top No. 2 seed and because of attendance considerations, we place North Dakota in Grand Rapids.Minnesota is the No2 overall seed who cares about attendance you will already have that with Western and Minnesota in this region. ND should not be in this region.

    • Agreed. You could help attendence just about anywhere else by moving UND to another region as they travel really well usually. And that would help the bracket integrity at least a little bit.

      • As a BU alum, I think we could hold a regional on the moon and UND fans would show up with great numbers. They sure do travel well.

        • If you’d ever been to North Dakota, you’d understand why they jump on any chance to get out of that place…

          • We do travel well, but there are thousands of us across the country. And as far getting out… You are absolutely wrong about that. If you choose to never visit we won’t mind. Many of the students at UND come from around the country for their education and return to their home states (Pilots, for example). When UND hockey shows up in their regions the fans pull out the colors and go to watch. Next time you fill your gas tank in mn (I know you don’t) or you look at your paystub, remember ND. We have enough oil to put the Saudis back in the dark ages, and our budget is balanced (Read LOW taxes). mn could learn from North Dakota…

          • I bet there are “thousands” of you across the country. I was there once— it was enough. You’re right about the oil — ND has it, Minnesota doesn’t, but don’t mistake having a natural resource for some brilliant socio-economic plan that makes North Dakota some model for the rest of country. I remember reading articles about companies leaving North Dakota a couple years ago because they couldn’t get skilled workers to come there.

          • Perhaps I should, maybe you can enlighten me as to the economic boom in North Dakota that is NOT related to oil boom…maybe i’ve missed all the fortune 500 companies relocating to North Dakota.

          • The point is North Dakota has not squandered away it’s good fortune. The good people of North Dakota are saving for the future. mn has had good times in the past and did not do so…

          • You are correct when you say Minnesota has wasted money in the past. But, we’ll see how North Dakota handles its prosperity, and it still doesn’t make it any more desirable to go to visit.

  44. I don’t know if it came up but awarding the Hockey East autobid to Providence based on a 4-way tiebreaker clouds one interesting thing: if one of the other Hockey East teams currently in the top 10 of PWR wins the HE tournament it lets another ECAC team in (RPI). That would make three of the four #4 seeds ECAC teams and would mean Quinnipiac would have to face Notre Dame in the first round.

  45. This whole bracketology thing is a waste of time until the night before the selection show after all the conference tournaments are finished. Teams can move around a lot in the next three weeks.

  46. I get that it’s a 3-points of emphasis blog for an 11 team conference, but man, Notre Dame and BU get a lot of consistent focus on here, especially for 2 teams who are below .500 in conference play this year. It’s the 3rd time in 4 weeks you have something about Notre Dame ultimately see-sawing around in the upper bottom-half … to which I have to ask two questions: Other than Irish fans themselves, who has been “waiting all year for them to make some sort of move up”? And seeing as it’s incredibly unlikely that even a late surge will propel them into a home ice situation for the QFs… why would most fans of the conference care so much about ND finishing 5th or 6th instead of 7th? As opposed to say: a race that’s heating up for 3 home ice spots up for grabs with 4 teams separated by only 3 points… with some of these teams having upcoming head 2 head matchups?!

    And BU losing and losing and losing is getting brutally redundant. We get it. They stink this year. They’re rebuilding. It happens. I’m not interested in their every single loss when I’m looking for what’s happening around Hockey East at this point. I just took a peak to make sure I wasn’t imagining it…In your sections where you make a specific team a focal point and don’t just speak about the conference’s standing as a whole… since 2014 struck, BU’s losing has headlined more blog blurps than the fortunes of Top 20 Providence, Northeastern, Vermont and Maine combined!
    I’m not saying the column should be a HEA can-do-no-wrong, lets just hand out gold stars and have a love fest every week… but we’re boasting 8 of the top 25 teams in the country right now and there are some really unique things going on, or stories to tell about these teams enjoying success and on the verge of representing nationally… either with a righted ship, a new coach, a team who hasn’t been in the mix in some time, some underrated players….
    But last week it’s: Despite being held winless (0-2-2) over their last 4… the Terriers are looking better in those games! Come on, man! Boston University gets enough service from NESN and the regional writers. Spread some props around this time of year rather than so much focus on two teams who have lost more conference games than they’ve won.

    • I don’t get it. It just feels like there’s been a concerted effort all year to boost Notre Dame, from HEA, NESN, NBC Sports, and USCHO. I know ND (and their alumni base) have deep pockets, but promoting a mediocre team isn’t necessarily great for the sport.

      • I think the ND “brand” is what NBSports is playing off to compete against the Big10. I don’t think many outside of the everyday HE fans saw ND’s trainwreck of a season coming. NBCSports also was bias towards picking up U-Mass Amherst games over UML (the historicaly and current better program). But I realize they’re just trying to gain national attention through the biggest “brand” schools as rated by the casual viewer. Hopefully their strategy starts to change in the coming years.

        • NBC = NotreDame Broadcasting Company. When HE announced that NBCSports would be carrying all sorts of hockey east games, and then ND came on board, it was almost like it was all part of the plan all along, since they were already carrying Irish hockey.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I read the caption this morning about ND getting back into the thick of things…what?, they’re in 7th friggin place and got swept by UNH then lucky not to be swept again by Maine (at home!).
      Yes they beat a good Providence team on the road, an accomplishment, but so much attention to a team in the bottom half most of the season. Is this a sign of things to come?

    • In fairness, Notre Dame is sitting 15th in pairwise, so it is probably worth some attention, along with Maine, UNH, Vermont, and Providence. I think it was also picked pretty high by the league coaches before the start of the year, not just the media. I thought they’d drop 3 points in Providence and we’d be done talking about them, but the surprise they pulled off last weekend sucks them back into our attention. Same token, UNH’s sweep this weekend probably should get press for reviving their post-season chances.

      • I didn’t say they aren’t worth *some* attention… they’re getting more pub (not just here, but NESN, etc) than a handful of our other top 25 teams combined.

        But what kills me is how it’s written like we’re ALL just on the edge of our seat with special curiosity in terms of how they do. Like as if we’re expecting them to walk in and assume a power spot.

        As far as I’m concerned, they can earn their place in this conference… and if they’re below average in league play… no need to push special attention.


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