ECAC East/NESCAC Weekend Wrap-up – December 13, 2010

Oh where, oh where have the super teams gone?

We have just come to the semester break for the holidays and just take a look at the league standings and USCHO Poll – where are the juggernauts this year?

Sure, there are a lot of the usual names up top, like Oswego, St. Norbert and Norwich, but take a good look at the numbers in the loss column; there are very, very few clean slates this season, which speaks volumes about the level of competition across each and every conference.

In the interlocking schedule of the ECAC East and NESCAC, there are only three teams without a loss in league play to date:  Norwich (4-0-1), Amherst (3-0-1) and Williams (4-0-0) haven’t posted an “L” in  conference play yet and only Williams (7-0-1) goes into the break without a loss this season.  In fact, the way the Ephs are playing, they qualify as THE juggernaut this year.

Williams has dominated opponents this year outscoring the opposition by a 38-8 margin overall and 23-2 in conference play.  That’s right, a miniscule half a goal against average per game in league play.  On Sunday night, a Nichols team that has already scored 51 goals in their first 10 games was shutdown in Williamstown by a 3-1 score – a game decided by an empty-net goal. It showed the Ephs can play it uptempo, defensive or any other style that will drive opponents nuts.  With Ryan Purdy posting a .957 save percentage and 0.99 GAA, the rest of the team has to be supremely confident about the opportunity to win games without scoring a lot of goals.  That takes a lot of pressure off the offense, but Williams will still need to improve on it’s 12.5 percent power play conversion rate heading into the New Year.

Another team coming off a rare sweep of the home-and-home intrastate rivalry with Colby is the Bowdoin Polar Bears.  Bowdoin’s only loss is a 7-6 OT thriller at Skidmore, where the Polar Bears scored four unanswered goals in the third period, including an EAG with 50 seconds remaining to force overtime.  Skidmore got the game winner halfway through the extra stanza, but Bowdoin has demonstrated it can score goals and is led by senior defenseman Kyle Shearer-Hardy with 13 points in the first seven games.

In the ECAC East, Norwich sits alone atop the conference standings, having taken last week’s travel partner matchup from St. Michael’s.  Last year’s national tournament star Pierre-Olivier-Cotnoir had four goals and an assist while Scott Schroeder did him one point better with a goal and five assists in the 8-1 romp.  Over the weekend, Norwich played a nonconference game against a familiar league opponent in Castleton and found themselves on the short end of a 3-2 overtime loss.

Castleton my be one of the surprise teams this year.  Currently only 3-2-0 in league play, the Spartans are 6-2-0 overall and their significant improvement in special teams play may be a big reason for the early season success.

The Spartans power play unit was 3-for-3 against Norwich on Saturday night, scoring twice in the third period and once in overtime to upset the Cadets on their home ice.  In fact, team leader Stuart Stefan, with four power-play goals, had only one assist against Norwich, showing the Spartans’ depth upfront.  Moreover, the penalty killing group gave up nothing to the Cadets on five chances, showing the effort that the team has put into the special teams this season.  Through Saturday, Castleton was holding opponents to 11 percent on the penalty kill while scoring at 35 percent on the power play; that will help you win a lot of games.

So it sounds like there are some juggernauts in the making this season and maybe, just maybe, some of the teams have names we might not often associate with the top of the league standings on a regular basis.  A quick look at both conferences shows that there is a lot of balance and the teams that play with consistency and get on a solid run can move up quickly in the standings.

As we head into the break, the ECAC East has four teams with winning records, three with losing records and three at .500 for the season. Just two points, one win, separate the second place team from the eighth place team in the league.

On the NESCAC front, five teams have winning records heading into the break, four have losing records and one team is at .500.  Only four points separate fourth place from the bottom of the standings, and it would seem unlikely that teams like Middlebury, Trinity and Colby won’t play better in the second half.

So enjoy the holidays, hope that Santa delivers that missing ingredient your team needs most to have a great New Year and get ready for what will be one of the most interesting seasons in recent memory.  If the first half has shown anything, it’s that anything can and will happen in these conferences this year and anybody has a chance to win it all.

Speaking of winning it all, my prognostications finally got above .500 after this last weekend.  Having gone 6-3-0, I head into the break at 34-33-6 (.507) overall and hopefully on an upswing.  While the teams have started to show what they are about this year, I am not guaranteeing the second half is going to be any easier to predict, but I am sure it will be fun trying.

Happy Holidays to All!


  1. Oh what do you know, Minnesota in the toughest bracket as usual, and a shocker North Dakota in the same region! Why are the committees so scared of the WCHA? Oh yeah because they dont want the frozen four to be all WCHA teams again do they! Such a joke!

    • As a Lowell fan I would have to agree. That region is by far the toughest. It will change as league playoffs commence. I would love to be in Manchester, NH for the first round. Somehow I will end up in the Midwest.

    • hmm 7th seed NoDak in 2nd seed minn regional….anything wrong with bracket integrity? go ahead i’ll wait.

      and for lowell to have number 1 at manchester shows how the hockey east playoffs get more interesting with lowell on fire in the 2nd half. Interesting for Hellybuck-Gilles matchup this weekend

    • Thanky you! I knew i wasnt crazy posting about how we get the shaft every single week. The love that Notre Dame matchup with a NoDak follow up.

    • last chance to sabotage the WCHA by sending the top 2 teams to the same region. Gophers and Fightin Whioux shouldn’t have to meet each other until Pittsburgh. Smart money says this is exactly the way the NCAA will group them.

  2. It doesn’t matter where North Dakota ends up in the Pairwise, they will make sure they are put them in with Minnesota. Can’t have the top two WCHA teams in Pittsburgh

    • I wonder what the current WCHA team fans will bellyache about next year when their power teams are split into different conferences? Don’t worry folks. The regional selections are far from being decided at this point.

    • If those teams are so good, they should be top 4 RPI after all is said and done, righ??. If the WCHA gets 5 teams then at some point they will have to play each other. Win and move on. Stop whining!!

      • This would make it four of the last five trips to the NCAA for MN that UND has shared a regional with them. As the #2 overall team in the country, I doubt the Gophers fear anyone, but this perpetual assignment of their biggest rival to their region is getting ridiculous. And to the clowns pointing to “bracket integrity”, UND was assigned to MN’s region in the previous bracketology – as the #5 overall – so that argument holds no water.

  3. What a load of whining from the W set. You want out of the match-up, win the rest of your games and change your seeding- after all, Miami doesn’t deserve a #1 seed in Toledo, right? 1st criteria, bracket integrity/host schools. 2nd criteria: geography. 3rd, attendance. Last I checked, both UND and Minn were in the west or midwest. The rules apply to everyone. No one is afraid of another all-WCHA FF. But, I guarantee you, no one outside of your conference shares the same narcissism when it comes to the mighty W. Poor, picked on W.

    • Name all the criteria like a robot if you like, but it won’t change the fact the committee can arbitrarily favor whichever factor they like in order to get the regional assignments they want.

      None of the criteria really apply to MN and UND being in the same regional. They won’t impact attendance much (Grand Rapids and Toledo are too far away for that to matter). Geography is irrelevant as well. While I suppose it’s possible they could drive to those sites, given the distance, they may as well fly. Both are roughly 11 hours from Minneapolis by bus and 15 hours from Grand Forks.

      As for bracket integrity, give me a break. MN is #2 overall and had UND in its regional each of the last two articles posted by the always reliable Moy. UND? #5 last week, #7 this week. So bracket integrity matters…except when it doesn’t. Try thinking critically next time before launching into your tired old defense of this comical regional selection system – a system that has paired MN and UND in the same regional 3 of the last 4 times MN made the tournament.

  4. Awesome! For the second week in a row we get to end NoDaks season! I love the way you put together these brackets. I only wish we could play them in the very first game so we could put them out of thier misery right away.

        • You got placed at home as a #2 while a defending Nat Champion (and also #2 seed) had to fly to Boston? Sorry we couldn’t beat you in Back-to Back home games, but at the end of the day what is remembered – another conference championship or UM losing in the semis and walking away with nothing?

          • You and others’ repeated insistence that Mariucci = the Xcel Energy Center is both ignorant and laughable. If you look at MN’s win pct at each venue, it’s not even close.

          • I have a legitimate question, not trying to stir up the gofer-faithful, though that is like shooting fish in a barrel… Do the umtc gofer players stay at home/dorms or do they, as all the other teams must during the F5 in mpls, stay in hotels and eat as a team in restaurants? As a frequent traveller I know I prefer my home and home-cooking.

    • Hahaha the Fighting Who are like the Yankees. Excellent recruiters, importing their talent from Minnesota and Canada instead of building from their own (not that there are a lot of native North Dakotans on the ice), and a fan base that obnoxiously clings to notion that they are the best team year after year.

      Both the Gophs and NoDak are different teams this year, history is irrelevant. Both are capable of making a deep run in this tourney. This year, the Gophers have played like the better team and have the depth to rely on full teamwork to win games instead of 2 standout players. An 8-0 non-conference record says a bit about comfortably playing against unfamiliar opponents too. If NoName puts up the W, congratulations and you can say you told me so then. Neither team’s success will be a surprise.

        • And how was UMD playing before they won the title a couple years ago? Until the NCAA tournament started, they showed no signs whatsoever of making a run, and they looked terrible at the Final Five. “Momentum” means absolutely nothing.

          When the NCAA’s start, it’s a new season for all sixteen teams. What they did last week or last month no longer matters.

          • Bemidji State’s Final Four appearance a little while back is another good example. “I knew that was going to happen” said no one ever.

  5. MN as a 2 and UND as a 7 seed is perfect bracket integrity, I have zero problems with that.

    Remember a couple weeks ago when i said BC keeps getting the preferential treatment for close to home regionals? BC is originally in Toledo regional, and instead is moved to Providence. surprise surprise!

  6. Sure the Minny-Nodak regional is a familiar one, but you wanna know what really grinds my gears? Not a single regional game will be played outside of the eastern tome zone. What a load of crap. BC is a six seed that will play closer to home than a #2 seed (and the mileage isn’t even close). Now you have me, a Sioux fan, arguing for the sack of a gopher fan. What has the world come to? A regional in Chicago, Madison, St. Paul, Denver, or even Fargo would have way better attendance numbers than the regional in Toledo will have. I can’t wait for 5 years from now when all 4 regionals are held in New England. Stupid NCAA

    • I have noticed attendance numbers for years and ALL the sites have trouble packing buildings, including western sites. Madison, St. Paul or Boston would do much better than Bridgeport ( last year ), Worcester, Toledo and some of these odd spots. The NCAA seems to go out of their way to keep teams from having home ice while Manchester, NH always has UNH. Go figure. Problem is that if Denver hosts a regional and CC and DU aren’t good that year, the buidling would be empty. The Boston Garden would pack a regional as BC , BU , Lowell or UNH would be there. Probably 2 of the 4. For some reason ( Bruins and Celtics ? ) the Garden never hosts NCAA hockey.

      • Bob, you clearly weren’t paying attention in 2007. Denver hosted the west regional with UND, MN (oh look, another region with those two!), Michigan, and Air Force. I attended those games, and it was a VERY well attended regional. The lower bowl was completely full, so there was at least 9000 fans there. That crushes whatever total is generated in Toledo, Fort Wayne, or basically anywhere else.

        • 9000 fans out of 18000 is still half full. They should play at arenas around 10000 or so near top teams or Boston Garden or the Excel Center. Toledo and Providence will have so so attendance.

          • I’m pretty sure with BC in Providence, you’ll get fairly good attendance. Now if only Providence could sneak in…

          • Availability is always an issue. Places like Excel and Boston Garden are tied up with high school and college tourneys, as well as pro teams. The Wild can’t get a weekend game at home for 4-6 straight weeks. Toledo and Manchester are available at a reasonable price. Why not put all regionals in Houston, Tampa or Orlando. Easy to get to, nobody complains about home ice, and a weekend in the sun will be a big draw.

          • As I have stated many times in these blogs, there is NO WAY that the TD Garden will be hosting an NCAA hockey regional.

            The building holds 18,000 people. It is booked more than 300/year. Hosting a regional means at least six days the arena cannot be used. It takes a day to repaint under the ice, once to remove any advertisements and a second time to put them back. It takes another day to reform the ice. All non-NCAA advertisements must be covered, including all of the Celtics/Bruins/Beanpot banners hanging from the rafters.

            The TD Garden cannot sell beer or alcohol during the regionals. This is a big loss of revenue, which can only be made up by guaranteeing a sellout. This is why the TD Garden only hosts Frozen Fours and NCAA Basketball.

            If you watch any highlights of the Beanpot or the Hockey East playoffs, please make note of all advertisements. Chipotle/Bud under the ice. All of the dasher ads. All of the ads ringing the seating areas. Also, please make note of all the people with a beer in their hands. College hockey can sell out (or get 90% capacity) at the TD Garden. But not for the short notice regionals.

  7. WMU has never won a tournament game in program history and they have possibly their best team ever, one that has Frozen Four talent, and now my beloved Broncos are looking at this gauntlet…there’s a lot of talent in that GR regional!

  8. I like it, but I’d kinda like to see a HE team (BC) moved to GR, send UNH to Providence and move UND to Manchester. I want a potential ND v BC matchup in the regionals as a preview for ND joining HE (a move that makes zero sense besides a pathetic effort to preserve a football rivalry)

  9. St Cloud State is having a great regular season, but I can assure you North Dakota and Minnesota are considered a much bigger threat to win the National Championship. If Minnesota ends up #2 and North Dakota ends up #7 I have no problem placing them in the same Regional. My issue is the “creative” placement when their pairwise don’t warrant them in the same Region

  10. I thought the ncaa wouldn’t allow any one conference to have a team in each regional? If that is the case I think st cloud and niagara would have to be switched.

    • If the WCHA only had 4 team in that would be the case. But since they have 5 that unwritten rule is thrown out. Bracket integrity and inter-conference matchups must be first accounted for.

    • Actually, the committee prefers having two teams from the same conference MEET in a regional final if at all possible. This is usually because of attendance. You know what fills an arena out West? Minnesota-North Dakota (or similar) meeting for the right to go to the Frozen Four. You know what fills an area in the East? Hockey East teams meeting for the right to go to the Frozen Four.

      Spreading out a conference 1-2-3-4 to the different regions usually means two teams have a lot of travel on short notice. The teams that travel will have less fans and often will play in a non-neutral site. Sometimes this works out, such as playing BU or BC in Manchester when UNH is on the other side of the bracket and the Wildcat fans cheer against the Boston schools. Sometimes it does not.

      In the end, getting 3-4 teams to the Frozen Four is a very good accomplishment, but usually reflects getting 5-6 teams into the tournament AND playing really well, the way the WCHA did when they got all four, or when Hockey East had 3-4 teams for the Maine-UNH finals.

      We will worry a lot less about this next year, as NCHC, BTHC and the new WCHA will split up a lot of teams that right now cannot play in the first round.

  11. Mankato and UND should swap for the sake of bracket integrity. Minnesota has the 2 seed and has the more difficult 2 & 3 seeds than #3 Miami. Swapping Mankato and UND would solve the problem.

  12. Please note that Jason’s title for this blog states ATTENDANCE before INTEGRITY. This attendance crap is a total waste of time, there is no integrity involved. We have an unbiased Pairwise system that is totally irrelevant as far as seedings, except the top 16 (including AHA champ) get in. If Miami loses its’ first game in Toledo, what attendance will you have for the finals? Same for Quinnipiac and BC in Providence, and New Hampshire in Manchester. I realize that with 5 teams from one conference you need to have at least 2 in one regional but putting Minnesota and North Dakota in Grand Rapids has nothing to do with attendance or integrity. Attendance concerns are covered with Notre Dame and Western Michigan. North Dakota fans, I can attest, would travel if a regional was at Madison Square Garden or the Forum in LA. Until the “committee” and “experts” like Jason seed strictly by PWR, EXCEPT for home city or state, there will never be INTEGRITY. Putting 1-8-9-16, 2-7-10-15, 3-6-11-14, and 4-5-12-13 is the ONLY way that is fair, but would probably eliminate a ton of words in these blogs.

  13. The West and East regions look brutal. The Midwest is a joke. Those matchups are brutal. Bemidji State could almost make it out of that region.

  14. Sadly, there are only two ways MN-UND will not both be in GR. The first is if UND wins the broadmoor which would probably put them as the final 1 seed. The 2nd is if SCSU, DU or MSU are the #7. Otherwise the committee will always maneuver UND to play MN regardless of if UND is the #5 or #8.

  15. I say lets not worry about the attendance and play the brackets out. NCAA is always worried about the small crap. When you have schools like in the WCHA they will travel no matter where the games will be. Hint North Dakota Fans are the most traveled college hockey team in the Nation. Lets do it this year UND!!

  16. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong; 2 or 3 years ago, BC was the overall #1 seed and was sent out west to St. Louis largely because of the foolish host school rule, and secondly because of the (somewhat sensible) non conference match up rule. I think number 1 (though unlikely) can end up anywhere particularly if The Committee chooses to be a little partial (as I believe they periodically are) though not consistently in the same vein.

    What is indisputable, is that the present Pairwise formula is irreperably warped.

    • Yes. BC went out west due to the host rule (UNH again). Same year Yale was a 1and a host and got Bridgeport.Dislike it as well. I’ve said it before: Why can’t conferences be hosts? Would eliminate the host school problem. And I would have no problem with intra-conference 1st round games if the numbers called for it. If BC is #8 and BU #9 and they have to play round1, so be it. Bracket integrity should take precedence…..

      • The reason BC got schooled that year was Colorado College was a terrible matchup for them. I could see that happily from the opening whistle. The team speed and forechecking turned a dominant Hockey East team into a quivering mess. The same team that won in three of the past five. Only Minnesota Duluth and Boston University could grab titles.

          • Well, I am biased like that when it comes to BC!

            Seriously, however, we all know that there are times when you score first early and it means very little five minutes later. Colorado College roared back in that game. Also, it was a few years back and my mind does wander…

          • They did roar back. Got in my car leaving Bridgeport regional for 45 minute ride home and received message BC scored to go up 1-0. By the time I got home, it was 4-1 CC and went to bed. Saw the final score the next morning and deleted the recording without watching. BC had more shots, but CC had 2 pp and 2 sh goals…..

          • I watched that game on one of the ESPN channels and it was a rout in the truest sense. One of the few times in the past few years I have seen BC dismantled. I know that Minnesota did it this year over the break, but I did not see it.

          • I did and it wasn’t pretty. I posted somewhere else that BC played 5 frosh D that night, 2 whose first college games were the night before against Alabama. And one of those two was a forward they moved back. Gaudreau wasn’t there, either. Late in the game announcer made crack like “Now we can forget about Tampa!”. Would love for BC to get another crack at them……

          • BC is better than that score indicated, just like MN was better than their 6-1 loss in last year’s frozen four. With that said, in both cases, it’s fairly obvious which team is better (BC last year, MN this year).

          • I’m not ready to concede who the better team is this year. Minny certainly was in that game earlier this year, but I think there were extenuating circumstances from a BC point of view. Give me one more game on neutral ice……

          • MN shared their conference title, a conference that is sending the most teams to the dance. MN has a far better record, ran the table in its non-conference slate, and beat the crap out of BC in the middle of the season. Pretty apparent based on all games played to this point MN is the better team… which is why they are locked in as the #2 overall.

      • To further your point, meeting your rival in the tournament at any juncture is a great thing for the game.

        BU/BC for the title at Providence was great, so was BU/Maine. But if they had met one round or two rounds earlier, what would be the harm? BU/Vermont in 2009 was also great, being a national semi-final made little difference. In 2009, if I had my way, BU would have faced Lowell in the finals and not Miami, setting up a rematch of the Hockey East finals. And BC would have been the 16th seed and played BU in the first round.

    • It is part of the natural progression of the sport. We are about 40 years behind NCAA Basketball in terms of the tournament growth and its size.

      For example, Georgetown is a host for the East Regional for basketball at the Verizon Center. They got moved to the South Region because they cannot play the round of 16 and 8 at “home”, as they are too close to home. If Kentucky made the tournament, they could not have played at the site they are hosting at, their home court of Rupp Arena.

      Today, we need to ensure that enough tickets will be sold at each venue and hope for attendance. Even today, however, basketball holds some sub-regional sites in places like Boise ID, Albuquerque NM, Spokane WA, Lexington KY and others to spread exposure, forgoing some revenue for great television. Loud crowds always look good on the tube.

      Just because a St Louis or Green Bay may struggle does not mean NCAA Hockey should not try. Even the Frozen Four in Anaheim or Tampa should be seen through that lens. Just no more Ford Field-style Frozen Fours, please.

  17. Don’t like the conclusions the author makes, if the NCAA is concerned about attendance, then put the regionals in a locality that it is supposed to represent, my prefrence is the #1 seed would host regionals. To call Grand Rapids Michigan a Western regional site is absurd. The idea of loading Western teams in Western regionals and Eastern teams in Eastern regionals for the sake of attendance/travel takes away impartiality and the excitement of playing teams that are seldom seen or played. A perfect example was highlighted by the Womens NCAA tourney where ND and MN played for the 6th time in one season…..pure unadulterated garbage decision by the selection committee.

    • Well, if they didn’t play each other last week and both won, they would have played a 6th game this weeked anyway, right? And why are we talking women’s hockey??………I don’t care about attendance. Bracket integrity should trump everything (including the bs “host school” rule and intra-conference matchups in first round). Give me 1v16, 2v15, etc. all the way through and I’m good…….

      • The women’s tournament shows that the NCAA cannot rank teams. The women’s Frozen Four starts this Friday, but the national championship has already been played. No one will take the Minnesota women to 3 OTs this weekend, they will walk to a national championship. If the NCAA knew how to rank teams, UND and Minnesota would not have met as the 1 vs 8 matchup.

        • Minnesota/North Dakota was a one/eight matchup based on Women’s Pairwise.

          One of these years, a non-WCHA will win the women’s Frozen Four. This year, it would only take one hot game from a BC/BU/Mercyhurst goaltender. BC and BU can score, as can Mercyhurst.

          The Gophers are heavy favorites and got the first scare of the year.

        • Ok. This is the last I comment on the women’s game. There is PWR for them. By the looks of it, UND shouldn’t have even been there! There was a tie for 8th with Wisco, Northeastern and UND and after the tiebreakers, UND was 10th……..

          • This was actually covered in the womens blog. There is very valid reasoning as to why NoDak was chosen over WI.

          • Ok, I don’t know anything about that. Maybe you can address patm and Rtn2 above as to why it was correct in Minny and Dakota playing each other last weekend…….

  18. This North Dakota Minnesota always being put in the same Regional is getting crazy. In Basketball, if Duke played North Carolina every year in the second round both schools would scream bloody murder. Let them play each other in Pittsburgh

  19. Oh yeah it looks good, except of course for the loss of bracket integrity. This is such a joke, and all these writer for USCHO are a joke.

    • How is the writer a joke? He is dead-on with his brackets just about every single time. Clearly he understands the process. You can hate the process all you want, but it’s idiotic to hate on the writer for CORRECTLY summarizing and explaining it to you.

      • You obviously didn’t read my statement…..I’m criticizing him for encouraging the poor way the NCAA puts each team in pairings. 1 should always play 16 and 8 should play 8………like I said bracket integrity. NCAA treats college hockey like it’s a joke, and the funny thing is….IT IS!! I’m sick of seeing empty arenas in regionals and poor attendance in the FF. Understand what I’m saying before you respond next time.

        • You called the writer a joke after griping about the system. The writer has nothing to do with the NCAA’s implementation of its criteria; he is merely communicating what it is to all of us and has been very accurate over the years in doing so. You’re the joke, not the writer. That much is clear. Now go cry to mama about your allowance and leave the discussions to the grown-ups, please.

        • Why are you upset about attendance? Does it affect your enjoyment of the games? Makes no difference to me and actually makes it easier to get tickets. Hockey has a small (compared to other sports), loyal following. Would be nice if more people were interested, but I’m not losing any sleep over it. I like it and I enjoy the games in person and on TV no matter how many people are in the arena. You may be right about regional attendance, but I think the FF is usually very well attended…..

          • I’m sorry that hockey isn’t well respected in your area. In Grand Forks we are proud of the fact that we sellout the greatest hockey facility in North America during every home game…..not to mention many opponents home games. My gripe once again is about bracket integrity. Teams should be pitted against their equal opposite rank…….it’s like speaking to a child.

          • Hockey IS well-respected in my area, northeast. But I’m not naive enough to think the rest of the country (for the most part) gives a rat’s a** about college hockey. It’s just the way it is. I enjoy it and don’t really much care if it’s just here and the midwest. And most of what I’ve posted has been that the tournament should be 1-16, 2-15, all the way through. Don’t care about attendance or intra-conference matchups, bracket integrity should be the ONLY consideration. And I also suspect the main reason Grand Forks sells out all the time is that the best alternative is cow tipping…….

  20. As I read through this latest piece, Manchester went from ‘OMG! I have to get tickets!’ to ‘Meh…they’ll probably be giving them away.’

  21. Jayson has explained his reasoning above. This is the same process the NCAA goes through. On Sunday when all the info is in and Jayson does his final Bracketology, you will know what the NCAA brackets will look like. Jayson has been nearly 100% the last several years. These may be his opinion, but he uses the same breakdown the NCAA does, whether you agree with his predictions or not, they are extremely accurate.

  22. If it is all about marketing the frozen 4 to make more money and put college hockey in the spot light to bring in more fans for the best sport out there why not put the gophers and the no names in different regionals a gopher no name championship would draw the best arena and tv audiences

  23. I’m having troubles finding a scenerio that would cause SCSU to be a bubble team. Although, if a lot of upsets occur in the tournaments, they could find themselves up to a #4 seed.

    • Only ways I can push the huskies out are with a fairly rediculous set of upsets. Managed to push Denver out as well with one combo. Basically lower seeds have to win every tourney. Mercy/Conn over Niagra, OSU or Mich, Union over QU, BU or Prov, CC or Wisconsin. In most, Denver and SCSU tie for 12th, but have 5 auto bid teams below them (12,13,14,15,16). So neither make it. One (Mich/Prov/Wisc) put SCSU down to 14th with 4 autobids below them.

  24. It is impossible for Michigan to not win the CCHA tournament, so please show them as the # 4 seed in Grand Rapids and adjust your bracketology picks accordingly.

  25. I love how there can’t be any Union or Niagara or Mass-Lowell in Minnesota’s region because of attendance. So, instead, they get to play all WCHA and CCHA teams, a couple of which they’ve already played. What’s the point of the tournament if a team finishing as perhaps the #1 team in the country isn’t rewarded for it by getting to play some eastern cupcakes???

  26. let’s just mix it up (NCAA) send low east seeds west low west seeds east and see what happens, Last years ECAC champ, got a cupcake bracket to get to Frozen…mix it up

  27. I love how the WCHA co-champions are ten spots apart in the Pairwise. Apparently we still value 7-8 non-conference games more than the 28-game league schedule. Why bother having conference play if this is how the system works? Just be an independent and schedule every decent team in the country. The system is broken and needs to be fixed!

    • The (an) issue is, that college hockey is in growth mode. For the good of the sport overall, one of the goals is to increase the league’s popularity beyond the CCHA/WCHA/HE fraternity. Sure, if they had a balanced schedule and sent the best 16 teams the tournament might be “higher quality” overall, but they’d never have an AHA or ECAC team. The way it’s set up is structured to give visability to teams that otherwise would never be on the national stage. (causing their teams to have even more difficulty getting recruits & building the program)

      As it is now, 3 – 5 teams a year “shouldn’t be there”; and there usually are double that number that “deserve it more”. If you’re a CCHA/HE/WCHA team, you need to aim for top 10, not top 16. I agree with their reasoning and support the status quo for the good of the sport.

      Hockey is a sport where superior teams can ,and do, lose in a single elimination format. Bemidji State (pre-WCHA) or Union’s runs to the Frozen 4 in recent years are exciting, and have helped those schools and college hockey in general.

      • I don’t disagree – I’m a huge fan of growing the game. I don’t want teams to get in based on reputation alone or based on which conference they play in, because that’s not fair. I want the system to reflect what’s happening on the ice, and too many times it does not.

    • I love how people don’t understand the system, nor do they understand the differences in scheduling / results.

      The WCHA schedule is unbalanced (12 teams, 28 league games). So, even a tie in the standings doesn’t mean much. For example, the only series MN and SCSU played was in St. Cloud. Had it been played in Minneapolis, MN could very well have won the league outright.

      Secondly, they played very different non-conference schedules and had wildly different results. SCSU got swept by two different teams in that batch of games. MN ran the table in its entire non-conference slate.

      Hence, they most certainly *should* be separated by a significant gap in the pairwise. The Gophers have shown themselves to be the better team over all games played.

      • We’re saying the same thing in different ways. You’re explaining how the system is set up, while I’m explaining why the system doesn’t work. It devalues 80% of the season and overvalues the other 20% of the season. That doesn’t make any sense.

        • Count your blessings. Be happy there is a 16 team tourney for the title. This system is far better than the football BCS. Imagine if we had that system, we’d be stuck with Quinny in the national championship game with a half dozen (or more) teams legitamately saying they “deserved it more”. Complain all you want about being a #3; at least you’re in the tournament with a chance.
          The system isn’t perfect (as evidenced by Quinny and Yale in the top 5), but I think it strikes a good balance between the power and weak conferences.

        • Your whining doesn’t make any sense because there is no solution to what you complain about – teams do not play enough non-conference games to get a very accurate picture of who is better between conferences. No matter how you tweak the system, the underlying problem isn’t going away, so it will just be skewed one way or another and anger some group or another.

          • The problem won’t go away because the system isn’t being changed. If a team’s 28 game league schedule was weighted proportionally, this wouldn’t be such a problem. Instead, they let a 7-8 game sample skew the entire season. Why is that so difficult to fix?

  28. I attended the UConn – Penn State games. UConn should have and could have won the Friday night game. They were leading 2-1 in the final minute of the game when Penn State scored off a scrum in front of the UConn net. Saturday UConn was flat and Penn State won most of the loose puck battles, hence the 7 -1 score.

    I cannot understand why Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan was suspended for the Saturday night game against Vermont. I heard the interview last year that allegedly got him suspended one game. He said nothing to warrant a suspension. Every league game is so important.

  29. UVM has gotten used to being the Rodney Dangerfield of HE, but the eighth-place finish predicted by the coaches really shows the lack of respect they get. Other than McCarthy’s hands and Lenz’s leadership, they really didn’t lose much in their graduating class last year. In fact, having the woefully underperforming Brickley out of the lineup is a blessing. As you mentioned, the sample size (one game) is too small to infer much from, but their performance against NU might have shown that UVM fans have good things to look forward to this season. In fact, perhaps their being picked so low was a good thing in terms of “bulletin board” motivation.

  30. Dear zacyarybrandon, I think optimism clouded my judgement and said Maine would sweep Union. They are supposed to win road games because they only won 1 game last year. I think what we are lacking is goal production up front, defense is ok but guys upfront need to put more pucks in the net and score goals. They played well last night but Union is defending national champions and we need to play harder and tougher and need to win. I think we still are improving but that improvement needs to accelerate.


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