Blue, green, and sweet 16

Sixteen is sweet; but results sour for QU

The Bobcats are still streaking, reeling off games number 15 and 16 without a loss this weekend.

That said, their dominance is still in question in some circles: Friday’s 1-1 home result against RPI (1-6-3 in ECAC play) and Saturday’s 3-2 squeaker versus Union were hardly scores to write home about. QU trailed in each game, went 1/14 on the power play, and required a furious third-period comeback to defeat Union, which led 2-0 with 15 minutes remaining.

To be fair, every game and season have swings. The fact that that Quinnipiac has been able to avoid an L since November 6 is in itself extraordinary, especially in a league so incredibly competitive as ECAC Hockey. If precedent is any indication, the Bobcats are about three points away from securing a first-round bye, and they’re only 12 games into their conference campaign: That is an almost preposterous position.

Perhaps this is a fortuitous week for a bye, given the weekend’s struggles. QU is likely to extend its unbeaten streak to 17 a week from Tuesday when they host Connecticut (8-9-2 overall), but hit the road again the following weekend to take on Brown and Yale.

Bulldogs barrel through North Country

Neither St. Lawrence nor Clarkson look terribly strong this year – which is an oddity in its own right – but a North Country sweep is always cause for celebration after so many hours on the bus.

Yale posted consecutive two-goal wins last weekend, besting SLU 5-3 and Clarkson, 3-1. The victories extend a moderate hot streak for the Blue, who have only lost once in six games (and twice in 11). Yale scored four of its eight goals on the power play (in nine chances), improving the season’s PP rate to 22 percent. Yale’s top three scorers (Kenny Agostino, Antoine Laganiere, and Andrew Miller) each scored this weekend – all three on Friday, in fact – and senior Jeff Malcolm (four goals on 72 shots) is establishing himself nicely as the team’s No. 1 netminder.

In league play, Yale gets stronger as the game progresses: The Blue have scored seven goals in first periods thus far, nine in the second, and 12 in the final frames. This fact mirrors the season itself, as the squad appears to be getting more confident and consistent as the calendar flips. Goaltending has been a question mark for Allain’s Bulldogs for a few years now, but Malcolm’s .917/2.57 numbers are respectable and getting moreso as we approach playoff hockey. With Dartmouth, the Blue appear to be in strong contention for the No. 2 position in ECAC Hockey.

Big Green off the mat

With three straight losses – their first losing streak of the season – those in the Dartmouth camp could be forgiven for their groans on Saturday evening. The Big Green fell behind to upstart Harvard in the first period, then coughed up a 2-1 lead in the third period against the same arch-rival.

Sophomore Jesse Beamish scored only his second goal of the year – his third point – in the game’s 53rd minute to secure Dartmouth its first win of 2013, and keep the squad in lock-step with Yale for the second-best winning percentage in the league. The 3-2 win also marked the first time in four games that the Hanover side had topped two goals, a welcome development for a defensively consistent crew. Goaltenders Cab Morris (a junior) and frosh Charles Grant are still jousting for the top goaltending slot, with each boasting save rates around .920 and goals-against averages between 2.0 and 2.5 (an admittedly significant swing).

A primary concern for the starving offense is the power play, which is still scraping by with a 16 percent conversion rate. The Green did make good on one of two advantages against Harvard, their first PPG in three games (0/11 in that span). On the other hand, the penalty kill has been lights out for most of the year, smothering over 93 percent of opponents’ power plays. Dartmouth only allowed a single power-play goal in its first dozen games (51/52) but gave up three goals on 15 PK’s during the skid.

Dartmouth was an exceptional team in late-2012. Whither the 2013 Green? We’ll find out soon enough: Brown and Yale await.

144 COMMENTS

  1. As usual, there’s a correction to be made.  Michigan only took 2 points at Northern in October, not 5.  NMU won on Friday in the Hunwick Punch game and UM took the shootout on Saturday.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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”.

  5. 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 USCHO.com 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.

    • And I am — as is anyone who plays them.  Came close to picking a split because it is BGSU, I don’t pick against streaks like FSU’s.  The Falcons could very well do some damage this weekend and next, as well as in the playoffs. 

  6. 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

  7. 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.

    • They’ll get there.  I’m a surprised as anyone that they’ve developed this W-L, Friday-Saturday pattern in recent weeks. 

  8. 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 their mistakes that you catch while grading their papers, and assign them a new grade after the changes are made.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. 

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. So as a bleed over from the posts re: QU being the #1 ranking, this is where rankings come into play for those out there who think QU is a fraud. Also, it seems as though MN Gophers get screwed. The WCHA is the best conference top to bottom and MN, while #2 in the national polls could have to play the WCHA regular season champ if SCSU does indeed take the conference. All the while QU plays lesser opponents as was pointed out by a previous poster. The West Regional, in the scenario above, is by far the toughest.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.
    Thoughts?

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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