Weekend work-up, Jan. 9, 2012: The second season may be that, for real

I didn’t expect 2012 to be such a fascinating year. Sure, the Mayans have predicted some exciting things, but I certainly didn’t think that the scenery would move so quickly the first weekend in January. Here are three things that have changed my perspective a bit following the past weekend of hockey.
1. Six points in one weekend in this league is a lot. A conference weekend sweep has been a semi-rare thing in the CCHA this season, as Miami knows all too well. With a pair of road wins over Michigan State this weekend — Friday’s 2-1 overtime win and Saturday’s 4-0 game — the RedHawks have just their second sweep of a CCHA opponent this season and the valuable six points has vaulted Miami from sole possession of ninth place to a tie for fifth with Northern Michigan. Miami began the weekend with 18 points and ended it with 24, and was the only team to sweep its conference opponent. The RedHawks have every bit of talent they need to redeem that disappointing first half, and now they’re 10 points out of first place — as opposed to 14 points out of first, which is where they started the weekend.
2. Anybody cannot beat anybody else on any given night, apparently. The parity of the league — and of college hockey throughout the country this season — was the big story of the first half and this past weekend did little to change the tone of things (Miami excepted, of course). But actually defeating an opponent? Well, that’s another story. Kudos to Bowling Green for the Falcons’ four-point performance against Ohio State and kudos to Lake Superior State for its tie and shootout point against Michigan Saturday — the first points the Lakers have taken from the Wolverines in Yost Ice Arena since 2005 — but ties are not wins, even when a successful shootout makes them feel like victories. And Western Michigan certainly proved that anybody cannot beat anybody else on any given night when the “anybody else” in question is the defending NCAA champion Bulldogs. Minnesota-Duluth’s two wins in Kalamazoo — in which they outscored the Broncos 9-3 — extended the Bulldogs’ unbeaten streak to 16 games. Thank goodness for Ferris State, who successfully defended the realm with two wins over visiting Colgate, proving that an excellent defense is sometimes the best offense.
3. The Fighting Irish should pay me to pick against them, especially in single games against ranked nonconference opponents. First I picked Boston University to beat Notre Dame in South Bend on New Year’s Eve. The Irish won that game 5-2. Then I picked Minnesota to beat ND in Minneapolis in the Hall of Fame Game this past weekend. The Irish won that game 4-3. Sophomore Steven Summerhays made 31 saves in the contest for a game save percentage of .911 — well above his first-half numbers — and picked up his sixth win of the season. (He also got the win against BU.) Sophomore Jeff Costello’s third goal of the season early in the third period put the Irish ahead 4-1 and held up to be the game winner as the Golden Gophers netted goals 31 second apart late in the third. Someone close to the Notre Dame team chided me with a genuine “tsk, tsk” after the game, especially since the Irish were playing the day after legendary Notre Dame coach Lefty Smith’s funeral. Now I know.

55 COMMENTS

  1. Please explain how they were 18 points out of first, earned 6 points, and are now only 10 points out.  Is that mathematically possible?

    • Kudos Exactly.  I saw Bowling Green up in Bemidji this year and I have to tell you I would have never picked them to beat Ohio State!  Gotta Love conference match-ups! 

  2. Wildcats are 6th in the PWR with a favorable remaining schedule.  They are only 20th in the poll???   They did the heavy work before the break with a tough schedule.
    If Yale was this good the poll would have them pegged at #1

    • As usual NMU gets the butt end of the “estimations” by the pollsters.  The PWR is the one factor that takes the subjectivity out and puts the objectivity in.  I remember the USCHO poll just before the NCAA regional a few years ago.
      NMU wasn’t mentioned and nor were they in the “bracketology” column.
      But guess what, NMU was picked to go.  They lost an opening heartbreaker to SCSU in Minnesota.  Take a look at the latest dumb personal poll from the writer from for the Atlantic Hockey league.  He has Yale and Air Force in the top twenty and no mention of #6 PWR NMU.   It is beyond me why NMU is not above LSSU, MIchigan, Ferris St and several others in the current USCHO poll.
      It matters not to these bozo’s that NMU has had the toughest SOS in the nation and has a won-lost record comparable to all these other teams.  What gives….
      I don’t know.  I think they are either biased or they have something against NMU.  They certainly aren’t objective when they ignore the stats and the facts.
        And that USA Today poll.  NMU can forget them – they wouldn’t mention the Wildcats if they won ten straight.  But, hang in there nmu dad, eventually these pollsters will run out of excuses.

    • I simply want to caution Wildcat fans on getting too excited about the PWR or the polls at this point.  I prefer that NMU fly under the radar.  They still have 13 games to play, 12 against CCHA opponents and 1 against Tech.  A lot can happen during the next seven weeks.  So far, NMU has played themselves into a good position against TUC competition in the PWR, but they have a tough schedule the rest of the way with 9 of those games on the road: MSU, Tech, Miami, BGSU, UoM and only 4 at home: Ferris and LSSU.  Let’s see how they stand in the PWR around mid-February, then I’ll question the polls.

  3. Nope, I think you hit in on the head.  I like this weeks bracketololgy and I like the layout of the West bracket. That one would be fun to watch! I really don’t think you would have to worry about the West’s attendence at all with UofUM and UND in there.

  4. My only question is why we couldn’t send Michigan to St. Paul, for a 2/8 matchup with Minnesota, and then Ferris State to Green Bay, with UMD, Miami and North Dakota.  Quite a draw there.  Seems the 4/8 Ferris State, Minnesota matchup is really unfair to Michigan.

    • My reasoning would be that Michigan is closer to Green Bay and is a higher overall seed than Ferris St, so they get placed first and get placed closer to home.  Based on seedings it would seem unfair to Michigan, but you could also argue that getting sent further away from home and being in the same bracket as a host institution is just as unfair.  My guess would be that most Wolverine fans would want to be closer to Ann Arbor and not have a match up against UND in the first round?
      On a separate note, it would have been interesting to have Minnesota, Maine, and Michigan there because ten years ago they were 3 of the 4 Frozen Four teams that played at the X.  Only New Hampshire would be missing.

  5. I too like this week’s brackets.  It’d be fun to watch a Minnesota vs North Dakota championship to see who gets the Frozen Four entry.

    • Interesting that you assume both teams would get past the first round.  After all, Michigan St has already beat and tied Minnesota this year and Ferris St is the current number 1 in the polls.  As a gopher fan, I’d obviously like to see my team in the regional final. I don’t care who the other team is, but it would be an amazing atmosphere to have the two rivals play for a spot in Tampa.  

  6. Adding Mich St to St Paul will help attendance?  That was a joke right?  You have UND and the MN there.  Mich St won’t even be able to get tickets

    • He has apparently never seen the “Sea of Green” that appears anywhere that UND plays. Add in Minnesota and there will be tickets being sold at 400 dollars a game if you dont get them early.

  7. Wow the best an AHA team can do is 28th pairwise and they still get an autobid.  Last time it was also AF and I believe they were 31st PWR.  This conference is not on par with the others because they don’t offer the scholarships.  Until they do they should lose their autobid because for this year, there are 12 more deserving teams.
     

    • there are 12 more deserving teams
      Those teams had their chance to play themselves into the tournament.  Even if it only happens once every five years or so I would rather see Holy Cross take out Minnesota or RIT knock off Denver than see another midpack team from the WCHA or HE. 

      • Hey BM (can I call you that ? ) , as much as it broke my heart to see that Holy Cross upset of the Gophers, I completely agree with you. It is refreshing, and I will infer from your moniker that you enjoy refreshments…….

    • This is very true….however it makes things interesting when they do win (AF over UofM, Holy Cross over UofM).  Anything can happen in hockey….the best team dosen’t always win.

  8. Can you explain the role of the “host institution” in your next column please?  It seems funny that there seems to be only one or two “hosts” each year that make the tournament.  Instead of a specific team why not have a “league” be the host.    Pick the team with the highest seed in a league when there are several.  I know there are 5 leagues so with a rotation each one is dropped out once every 5 years.

    • Btw I personally like UND as the 14th seed, i hope they don’t move up too much and get sent out East again, we all know how much we struggle out there! Denver could be in rough shape out there as it is so maybe a split isn’t a bad thing for us this weekend.

  9. i dont think u want nodak at a 14 seed conference tournys always seem to have an upset winner somewhere or another (ex merrimack wins hockey east) if that happens nodak woud be watchin the games at home. also im kinda jumpin the gn with how much everything changes weekly and especially in the conf tournys the amount of changes in pairwise will be wild

  10. Isn’t it too early to do this bracketology stuff? All of this would be meaningless by Saturday because PWR will shift again. 

  11. There need to be more regionals in the CCHA footprint and less in the XCel Center. Every year the CCHA gets shipped to New England or to WCHA country

    • The NCAA places tournaments at XCel because it is a great venue and attendance is dependable.  St. Paul packs them in for amatuer hockey.  In March, more than 100,000 will attend the 16 team State High School tournament.  In case you haven’t figured it out, the NCAA plays where they can turn a buck and St. Paul delivers.

    • ccha needs to make the bid like when mich had back to back years at yost i believe western had a bid in grand rapids not to long ago but jd is right xcel will pack it in and make a good buck you dont get that happening at grand rapids to often

  12. Moy will have little chance of predicting the bracket this year if he keeps ignoring the rule about…
     “Conference matchups in first round are avoided, unless five or more teams from one conference are selected, then the integrity of the bracket will be preserved.”
    I think the committee would keep the Ferris St./Ohio St. matchup.

  13. If the PWR is a good indicator of who will make the tournament, then the NCAA selection is a joke.  After, the Friday Feb. 24 games, MSU and NMU are still in at 11 and 12 in the PWR.  Look at their records against TUC.  What a joke of a system

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