MCHA, MIAC and NCHA picks Dec. 10-11

Forgive me, Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds for having doubted you.

I mistakenly attributed your back-to-back wins over No. 7 Adrian and No. 9 SUNY Geneseo to tryptophan-laced turkey and inertia-inducing giblets on your opponents’ Thanksgiving dinner plates.

I picked Wisconsin-Stout to prevail. But you showed me, didn’t you? By sweeping Stout last weekend, you cast further doubt on the Irish Seer’s Cleo-like clairvoyance.

My misgivings left last week’s record at  3-3 while causing my overall 9-14 puck prognostication mark to plummet dangerously close to Krusty the Klown territory.

For those who don’t partake in watching TV animated shows, let me explain: In a classic episode, “The Simpsons” star clown was revealed to have a serious gambling problem, underscored by his penchant for laying serious coin on the Harlem Globetrotters’ favorite foil, the Washington Generals.

Confronted by his financial advisor with this stinging reality, the seltzer-spewing punter looked to the heavens and cried, “But they were due. …”

Me thinks I’m due for some fortuitous forecasting this week .

Dec. 10-11

Friday and Saturday

St. Thomas at Milwaukee School of Engineering: The undefeated No. 8 Raiders (8-0, 6-0 MCHA) arguably face one of their toughest tests in this nonconference match-up with the MIAC Tommies (7-4, 4-2). St. Thomas is fresh off a 2-1 overtime victory against No. 6 Gustavus Adolphus Dec. 4, which was indicative of the young team’s remarkable buoyancy this season. The Tommies nabbed the victory after losing Friday’s game to the Gusties, 5-3. MSOE’s firepower with leading scorer Jordan Keizer (13 goals and 4 assists) and home-ice advantage should extend the Raiders’ winning streak to 10.

MSOE, 5-2 and 3-1

Wisconsin-Stevens Point  at Wisconsin-Eau Claire: These teams are on opposite trajectories with the No. 14 Blugolds (7-4, 3-3) enjoying an impressive four-game winning run — all against Top-15 squads — while the Pointers (4-7, 2-6) are mired in a six-game losing funk. While UW-Eau Claire has momentum and home-ice advantage, UW-Eau Claire has enough talent — namely Nick Graves (2.37 GAA and .910 save-pct.) in goal — and moxie to sneak out with a split.

UW-Eau Claire, 4-1; UW-Stevens Point, 2-1

St. Scholastica at Wisconsin-Superior: Despite having few individual scoring phenoms, the No. 15 Yellowjackets (7-3-1, 5-1) sprung into the NCHA’s upper tier by grinding out wins with a balanced attack as 22 players have at least a point. Meanwhile, the Saints’ wildly inconsistent campaign was highlighted by last weekend’s upset victory over No. 2 St. Norbert at home. Any carryover isn’t likely to mask the Saints’ serious special team deficiencies. St. Scholastica (5-6, 1-5) ranks last among NCHA teams on the penalty kill (16-of-22 for 72 percent) and second to last on the power play (3-of-16 for 11 percent).

UW Superior, 5-2 and 4-1

82 COMMENTS

  1. Larry is a 20-year journalist who has worked for twice-weekly and daily newspapers in Michigan. His work has appeared in USA Hockey publications and Michigan Hockey Magazine as well as Arizona and California Rubber magazine…who remarkably has absolutely no clue what he’s talking about.

  2. Larry is a 20-year journalist who has worked for twice-weekly and daily newspapers in Michigan. His work has appeared in USA Hockey publications and Michigan Hockey Magazine as well as Arizona and California Rubber magazine…who remarkably has absolutely no clue what he’s talking about.

  3. For those enjoying putting down NMU as a weak team, you do realize they had the 4th toughest schedule in the country, don’t you? Only Notre Dame, U of Michigan, and Michigan State had stronger schedules. Yeah, in all likelihood they won’t make the NCAA’s, but they are a good team. 

      • Like I said earlier, some teams just seem to be a jinx to other teams. NY Giants against the Packers at Lambeau in 2007 and 2011, for example. 

    • The RPI ranks Northern as having the 3rd toughest schedule in the nation, with U. of Michigan #1 and Michigan State #2.

      KRACH strength of schedule rankings:

      1. Notre Dame – CCHA
      2. Michigan State – CCHA
      3. U. of Michigan – CCHA
      4. Northern Michigan – CCHA
      5. Ohio State – CCHA
      6. Miami – CCHA
      7. Western Michigan – CCHA
      8. Northeastern
      9. Boston College
      10. Alaska – CCHA

      RPI strength of schedule rankings:

      1. U. of Michigan – CCHA
      2. Michigan State – CCHA
      3. Northern Michigan – CCHA
      4. Notre Dame – CCHA
      5. Boston College
      6. Ohio State – CCHA
      7. Northeastern
      8. Boston University
      9. Miami – CCHA
      10. Western Michigan – CCHA

      Either way, the computers rank the CCHA as having the toughest schedules in the nation.

  4. Pwt 1997-
    2012, 2011, 2001. Bowling Green owns Northern Michigan in CCHA Playoff elimination games at the Berry Events Center. Sad to note for this Wildcat fan.
    —————————————————————————————-
    Yup. And, unfortunately, this year is probably the last best chance they will make the NCAA’s in a long time.  The core of the team is graduating, so they will be rebuilding for the next couple years.

  5. This season the CCHA has seen the impossible become possible.., I didn’t count the Falcons out, who did they beat the week before? Every team has peaked or loitered in the rankings. If the season would go for another few weeks who knows what might have changed. My point is that so many factors are at play. Injuries, coaching, a hot goaltender, the fans that are on spring break. Much like UMD last year the team that can get that recipe right can win. It’s playoff time and next season is not that far away. 

    • As I also omitted Minnesota’s loss to Michigan Tech (3-5 L) and ties against Alaska-Anchorage (2-2 T) and the US U-18 team (2-2 T). At least RMU was in the Top 20 at one point.

  6. Seems to be possible to get 7 WCHA teams if the tournament really plays favorite to the underdogs.

    Atlantic Hockey
    Semifinal #2: Connecticut defeats Mercyhurst
    Semifinal #1: Niagara defeats Canisius
    Championship game: Niagara defeats Connecticut

    CCHA
    Semifinal #2: Notre Dame defeats Ohio State
    Semifinal #1: Miami defeats Michigan
    Championship game: Miami defeats Notre Dame

    ECAC
    Semifinal #2: Yale defeats Union
    Semifinal #1: Quinnipiac defeats Brown
    Championship game: Quinnipiac defeats Yale
    Consolation game: Brown defeats Union

    Hockey East
    Semifinal #2: Boston College defeats Boston University
    Semifinal #1: Massachusetts-Lowell defeats Providence
    Championship game: Massachusetts-Lowell defeats Boston College

    WCHA
    Play-in #2: Colorado College defeats North Dakota
    Play-in #1: Wisconsin defeats Minnesota State
    Semifinal #2: Colorado College defeats Minnesota
    Semifinal #1: Wisconsin defeats St. Cloud State
    Championship game: Colorado College defeats Wisconsin

    • CCHA – These are one off games now and Michigan is red hot. Michigan is going to slam the Redhawks (and I’m not a Wolverine fan). And although Notre Dame is a better team on paper, Ohio State has had many first night surprises this season (including one against ND). So I wouldn’t write-off the Buckeyes so easily.

      I think Michigan is going to take the last Mason Cup.

    • I don’t see Union losing two games. The consolation game for them would be just as important as the semi-final game, since it could determine a dance spot. It would be a meaningless game for Brown, as they must win it all to go.

  7. Union will beat Yale. As I said a couple weeks ago, Union has 21 returners from last year’s Frozen Four squad, and come playoff time they know how to win. Union has already tied and beat them this year, and they only finished one point about Union in the regular season standings. i predict a fantastic game with Union coming out on top and defending their ECAC Championship crown.

    • Good point, but in game 1, Yale was missing 2 of top 4 forwards and game 2 they were without their goalie who has been the backbone of this team. I think it will be a great game that will go either way. I also think the winner will “upset” Qpac in the finals.

  8. Managed to get 5 teams from Hockey East into the tourney
    Atlantic Hockey
    Semifinal #2: Connecticut defeats Mercyhurst
    Semifinal #1: Niagara defeats Canisius
    Championship game: Niagara defeats Connecticut
    CCHA
    Semifinal #2: Ohio State defeats Notre Dame
    Semifinal #1: Miami defeats Michigan
    Championship game: Miami defeats Ohio State
    ECAC
    Semifinal #2: Yale defeats Union
    Semifinal #1: Brown defeats Quinnipiac
    Championship game: Yale defeats Brown
    Consolation game: Quinnipiac defeats Union
    Hockey East
    Semifinal #2: Boston University defeats Boston College
    Semifinal #1: Providence defeats Massachusetts-Lowell
    Championship game: Providence defeats Boston University
    WCHA
    Play-in #2: Colorado College defeats North Dakota
    Play-in #1: Minnesota State defeats Wisconsin
    Semifinal #2: Colorado College defeats Minnesota
    Semifinal #1: St. Cloud State defeats Minnesota State
    Championship game: St. Cloud State defeats Colorado College

    • and what I think the 16 teams that are actually going to make it into the tournament are going to be:

      1. Quinnipiac (Qn)
      2. Minnesota (Mn)
      3. Miami (Mm)
      4. Yale (Ya)
      5t. Massachusetts-Lowell (ML)
      5t. Niagara (Ni)
      7t. Minnesota State (Mk)
      7t. Boston College (BC)
      7t. North Dakota (ND)
      7t. New Hampshire (NH)
      11. St. Cloud State (SC)
      12. Denver (DU)
      13. Notre Dame (Nt)
      14t. Western Michigan (WM)
      14t. Boston University (BU)
      16. Union (Un)

  9. Sounds like lots of folks have written UNION off in the ECAC tournament. Yep, they are a much smaller team that either Brown, Yale or Quinnipiac, giving away on average 2+” and 20 lbs per player. How can anyone dare to compare them to the likes of Quinnipiac or Yale or Brown? Who did they ever beat besides those weakling ECAC teams anyway. Are they from Kentucky? Maybe they should be required to come in the service entrance when they reach the Atlantic City Arena. They are definitely going no-where in this tournament. Right? Yep, just keep believing that …..

    • Nice tongue in cheek comment 4life. It’ll be just like last season. No one gave Union a chance, and they ended up in the Frozen Four. For the record, they were 1-0-1 against Yale this year. I think if they win either game this weekend, they will make the dance.
      There will be no more (NY) in parentheses after their name THIS year!

  10. I haven’t crunched all the scenarios yet, but has anyone had Western Michigan in anything but the 14th or 15th ranking? From what I’ve calculated so far, if there are 3 or more teams outside the top 16 that win their respective tournament and get the auto bid, my beloved Broncos are definitely out. It seems that most scenarios have them surviving 2 auto bids from outside the top 16 and every scenario in which there is only 1 or no auto bids from outside the top 16. Can anyone else confirm this or should I keep plugging away? I hate that I have to bite my nails for third consecutive year, but this is the position that we put ourselves in.

  11. The following combination gets Atlantic Hockey’s #5 seed, Robert Morris, in to play Quinnipiac in the opening round of the NCAA’s tournament. Surprisingly few upsets are required to achieve this result. (RMU also gets in with Wisconsin beating Minnesota State.)

    Atlantic Hockey
    Semifinal #2: Mercyhurst defeats Connecticut
    Semifinal #1: Niagara defeats Canisius
    Championship game: Niagara defeats Mercyhurst
    CCHA
    Semifinal #2: Notre Dame defeats Ohio State
    Semifinal #1: Miami defeats Michigan
    Championship game: Miami defeats Notre Dame
    ECAC
    Semifinal #2: Yale defeats Union
    Semifinal #1: Quinnipiac defeats Brown
    Championship game: Quinnipiac defeats Yale
    Consolation game: Brown defeats Union
    Hockey East
    Semifinal #2: Boston College defeats Boston University
    Semifinal #1: Massachusetts-Lowell defeats Providence
    Championship game: Boston College defeats Massachusetts-Lowell
    WCHA
    Play-in #2: North Dakota defeats Colorado College
    Play-in #1: Minnesota State defeats Wisconsin
    Semifinal #2: Minnesota defeats North Dakota
    Semifinal #1: St. Cloud State defeats Minnesota State
    Championship game: Minnesota defeats St. Cloud State

    My actual tournament predictions at this point:
    Providence:
    Quinnipiac vs. Michigan / Yale vs. St. Cloud State
    Grand Rapids:
    Minnesota vs. Union / North Dakota vs. Notre Dame
    Manchester:
    Boston College vs. Western Michigan / Niagara at New Hampshire
    Toledo:
    Miami vs. Minnesota State / Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Denver

  12. Has anyone seen a scenario where DU’s loss at home in the first round of WCHA tourney play cost them a trip to the NCAA?

    • Du is sitting at 13, i believe in pairwise, and clearly in danger if upsets occur, but most scenarios i played out still had them in

  13. Has anyone figured out a way, or is it not possible, to make merimack a TUC. they are .499 right now, if union wins, they can be bumped up, which would make them a TUC, which would effect BU. But it seems that the pairwise only takes into effect teams that are already TUCs.

    • Lots of underdogs win, especially Hockey East. If you see a BU/Providence final, pretty sure that was a scenario. AHA has one team and I forget what I did with ECAC. No matter what, Miami, Q and Minnesota were one seeds.

      North Dakota needs to take Hockey East’s number one seed. I think if BC or Lowell get to the final, that secures it for the Hockey East team, as well as being in Manchester or possibly Providence.

  14. I’m curious about happens if both Brown and Providence College win their respective tournaments. Brown is the official host of the Providence regional. And thus, if they win the ECAC championship, they are hosting as the #4 seed. Little doubt about that. This presumably sends Quinnipiac up to Manchester and then BC down to Providence as the #1 seed.

    Once that has occurred, it’s hard to imagine that the committee wouldn’t keep Providence College in the Providence region, but they would be a real weak #3 seed in the bracket with no logical #2 seed perhaps other North Dakota. They wouldn’t put another ECAC and Hockey East team in Providence and they wouldn’t want to uproot Miami from the Toledo bracket.

    Other thoughts? It is conceivable that the Committee would send Providence College up to Manchester to play Quinnipiac rather than keeping them 4 miles from campus?

    • You would have to find a way that Providence creeps in the third band of seeds, because Brown with definitely be in the fourth band. Providence would also have to be third band because of the Hockey East first band team that moved from Manchester after Quinnipiac moves to avoid first round matchup with Brown.

      I am not sure how Providence gets to 12 or even 13 at this point. Pretty sure either BC or Lowell will be a number one seed in Providence. I did get one outcome in the predictor where the top four were Minnesota, North Dakota, Miami and Quinnipiac. Under your scenario, one of the WCHA teams would be in Providence.

  15. I can assure you that MTU fans were well aware of the possibility of missing the playoffs. The lack of offense, along with the weird scheduling, has been very frustrating. Fortunately, last weekend’s sweep bumped us up into the middle of the standings. I think we still have a slim chance at home ice with another sweep or two.

  16. Actually, St Cloud hosts Saturday’s game and Minnesota hosts Sunday’s game. You have the two days mixed up where they are playing.

  17. Actually, St Cloud hosts Saturday’s game and Minnesota hosts Sunday’s game. You have the two days mixed up where they are playing.

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