Three things: Feb. 22

Some of the bigger talking points from the weekend that was in the NCHC:

Omaha suffers sweep
Before Omaha visited unranked St. Cloud State this weekend, UNO hadn’t been shut out in a single game this season. Nor, in fact, had the Mavericks been swept in any two-game set during the current campaign.

Both of those things happened to UNO in Minnesota, though, and neither came at a good time for the Mavericks.

The Mavericks’ misery this weekend started late in Friday night’s series-opener at SCSU. UNO led 3-2 going into the final minutes of regulation, but the Huskies Blake Winiecki and David Morley scored a pair of goals 16 seconds apart to snatch a 4-3 victory.

SCSU then shut Omaha out 2-0 on Saturday. Nathan Widman and Jimmy Murray found the back of the net for St. Cloud, while Charlie Lindgren stopped all 21 Mavericks shots he faced.

Following the setbacks in St. Cloud, UNO (17-10-3, 18-11-1-1 NCHC) fell into a tie for third place with Denver. The Mavericks are on the road again next weekend at No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth, while St. Cloud State (15-14-1, 10-9-1-0) visits North Dakota.

Miami slips at home
UMD is proving to be a tougher out seemingly by the week, and the Bulldogs proved their worth again this weekend on the road.

Miami found that out the hard way when Duluth visited Oxford, Ohio for a pair of games. In the end, following a split against UMD, the RedHawks found themselves down a peg on the NCHC ladder into sole possession of second place.

Duluth reaped the most appealing fruits of its labor in the series’s first game. UMD and MU scored one goal each in the game’s first eight minutes and two seconds, and the score remained locked at 1-1 until Duluth scored twice in the third period to roll away a 3-1 winner.

The RedHawks bounced back the following night, however, but only just. A Blake Coleman goal 3:58 into overtime gave Miami a 4-3 win and all of the points on offer on Saturday.

Miami (19-10-1, 12-7-1-1) makes the long trip west next weekend to face Denver, while UMD (19-12-1, 11-8-1-0) returns home to prepare for UNO.

North Dakota stays on top
With UNO and Miami both slipping this weekend, UND had an opportunity to claim the No. 1 spot in the league for the team’s own when it visited Western Michigan.

UND took care of business by sweeping the Broncos on their own Lawson Arena ice. Three different UND players scored in a 3-1 win on Friday night before an overtime goal from Drake Caggiula 3:31 into an extra period on Saturday gave the guests a 3-2 victory.

As things stand now, UND (22-6-3, 13-5-2-0) is alone in first place in the league on 41 points, while Miami is three behind on 38. Denver and Omaha (35 points) each would also have home-ice advantage in the first round of the NCHC playoffs if the regular season had ended on Saturday night.

UMD is only one point behind both DU and UNO, while SCSU (31 points) gave itself a lifeline with its sweep of Omaha.

Tiebreakers explained
As we’re quickly coming up towards the playoffs, here’s a quick guide to the NCHC’s tiebreaker system for playoff seedings, should there be a need for them to be used. You may want to sit down for this.

1.) If two or more teams are tied in the standings at the end of the regular season and they played a balanced schedule (equal number of home and away games) against each other, the highest seed will go to the team with the best regular-season winning percentage in games against the other teams in the tie in the standings. If any of the teams in the tie played an unbalanced schedule against other teams in the tie, this criterion doesn’t apply to the tiebreaker and the next one does.

2.) If the first criterion doesn’t break the tie, the highest seed goes to the team with the highest number of NCHC regular-season wins.

3.) If the first two criteria don’t break the tie, the highest seed goes to the team with the best league regular-season winning percentage against other teams involved in the tie, balanced schedules or not.

4.) If the first three criteria don’t break the tie, the highest seed will be determined by a comparison of total goals for and against during regular-season games against other teams involved in the tie.

5.) If the first four criteria don’t break the tie – Still with us? – the highest seed will be determined by comparing the winning percentages of the tied teams against the remaining highest-ranked NCHC teams, successively, until either the tie is broken or all league games have been taken into consideration.

6.) If the tie is still in effect at this point, it would be broken by the flip of a coin.

We’re not sure what would be more interesting: The drama involved with No. 6 or the fact that a tiebreaker would have gotten to that point in the first place.

 

 

102 COMMENTS

  1. I hav e watched a lot of college hockey in my life and was at the Whit when Merimack beat UNH. I have not seen a college team play such a great defensive game like this in a long time. I think they could,could win the HE tournement . I also think they will go a long way in the NCAA tourny. Watch out UNH you could be on the outside looking in. Any day now Umile will shake up his lineup and totally destroy his team chemestry, its only a matter of time….

  2. I really wonder how many times in college sports that a team went from being literally the worst team in their entire Division (2006 3-27-4) to legitimate contention for a National Championship just 5 seasons later.

  3. I think the NCAA would and should avoid sending a team out west because they would have to play UNH in round 1.

    This exposes a grotesque problem with the current format. If you’re going to let the dumbest part of the current system stay (teams hosting), then don’t screw a team for being grabbing the 1 seed because they would have to play UNH.

    What a stupid set of circumstances. Part of me wants to see it to see what the NCAA committee would do.

    • Those are some fair points, and I think we agree that having both selection rules — the host team at the host site, and the “no first round conference match-ups” — put too many limits on the brackets, so something should have to give here. I like the host team at the host site because it guarantees a better crowd for the regional.

      Look at the basketball tournament — how many sites during the first weekend are actually full for a game? And if a team does host a site (e.g., BC is hosting a basketball regional in 2012), that team can’t play at that site, which really frustrates the local fan bases who would turn out to see a local team in a big game, might not be interested in the other teams playing, and probably won’t travel as well to another part of the country. That said, the basketball tournament is without a doubt more nationally popular than the hockey tournament, and has a huge TV deal, which is why attendance is more important for hockey than hoops.

      With UNH in Manchester, I would hope that the regional sells out, or comes really darn close (and no excuses if another HEA team is there, too). If you don’t guarantee UNH at “home,” the attendance takes a huge hit. Same with Wisconsin in Green Bay (even though they’re not the hosts). It’s dumb to send them east just to avoid NoDak/Duluth/Denver in the first round. I’m fine with a possible conference title rematch if it means an exciting atmosphere for the regional.

  4. I agree that MTU put up a much better effort tonight. But that will probably help UND in the long run as they will not be on an over-confident jag in their next game which they might have suffered if they had once again devastated MTU.

    • Beg to differ, UND is always over confident…See UMD winning 2 years ago-UND fans couldn’t have been happier that UMD took out the Gophers, thought they didn’t even have to show up to play in the championship game.

      • Um… first of all…. UND was happy UMD took out the Gophers because it ended their season and we hate the Gophers. Secondly, why would we think we didn’t have to show up against UMD that year? A team we tied and lost to that year? Yeah, clearly we were overconfident then *rolls eyes*

  5. Theresa, of course UAA fans read your column. You selected MN in 3. That’s okay though.. you ALWAYS and I mean A-L-W-A-Y-S give UAA much more credit than what’s his face..

    • I can honestly say, in posts about a month and a half ago, that UA-A would upset someone to get into the final five. I am proud of the seawolves putting the rodents season to an end. Congrats!

    • I was at the UND game last night in the student section…There were several UAA chants as the score was updated…During the game and after! We’re excited to see them at the Final Five!

    • I actually meant the coaches/players (as one coach has admitted to reading predictions, as I wrote above). I will admit that the UAA/UM pick hurt to do … but in that case, I had to go with the numbers … same reason why I went with UNO – law of averages usually does actually come about. Except this weekend … obviously. Which is why the playoffs are awesome.

      It’s also great to see that parity is still alive and well.

      • i’d get over the bc owning und crap. how many guys on both bc and und’s team have even played against each other? i can name a mere 4 und guys that have played bc, so you can throw that out the window. i laugh at those who use records to make a suggestion…

      • That record is pretty close to BC’s championship record of 4-6. Thats an interesting fact – 9.5% of all NCAA Mens Ice Hockey Championships have been lost by Boston College. The fact of 10 championship game appearances is very admirable, especially considering many of them are in the recent years.

        What does it mean for this year? Not a single thing beyond the opportunity to watch one heck of a game if these two giants collide. As a lifelong student and player of the game, I can tell you if you have your mind on what happened 2 years ago instead of what is happening on the ice in front of you, the chances for success drop greatly. At this level of play, one shift can change a game and it doesn’t need to include a goal. Any little thing that can change the mentality of your opponent is an advantage for you and can make the difference. I completely understand the homer mentality and would cheer for my local bantam team to beat the Olympic team, but don’t let that blind you.

  6. Since going there in 71, I’ve followed CC – and the WCHA is not to be triffled with, which makes it exciting this time of year….

  7. As a UND homer, I think I’d love to see UAA beat UND and take home the McNaughton. It would be awesome to see UAA in the field.

  8. CC does it again. Coming from behind and winning the series. On to the final five! Fight on Tigers! Taking the WCHA by storm! Sioux Suck!

  9. I’m personally thrilled for UAA and for Bemidji State. The Gophers somehow think it’s their entitlement to be in the Final Five as well as the NCAA tournament. (Read Maturi’s remarks in today’s Star Tribune.)

  10. The Sioux are too busy congratulating themselves on that debacle in the state legislature. In Alabama they made resolutions against integrating schools and arguing about the legitimacy of segregation on the basis of it being better for both sides. Incredible. Again no sign of human decency by any of the seniors in making a stand. Frattin knows the system saved him. Genoway has no reason given all of his injuries

    • Making a stand? They made a stand by being able to play outstanding hockey while the nickname mess surrounded the university and the state. As student-athletes and representatives of the school the hockey team probably did the right thing by keeping their mouths shut (whether you’re pro-nickname or not you know this is true). Also, Frattin wasn’t saved by any “system”. If anything the “system” was set up for him to stay out of school, sign a pro contract, and make some big bucks. Instead, he worked his butt off so he could go back to school, get an education, and prove to the world that he changed. Hobey Frattin. Sioux Forever

      • And his classmates stuck by him like any elite force.
        It is a well known story in North Dakota that this senior class is amazingly tight knit.

        WHat a shame our sock puppet friend will never have such relationships.

    • Or they realize that, like you, the hatred of the name is hugely trumped up politically correct nonsense.

      By the way, how is the old sock puppet tonight?
      You do not let us know much about you or your myriad of guises.
      Did you fail to make the varsity in high school and thus are striking back?

    • your really comparing integration of black students into public schools to the nickname debate? you have some issues inthespiritof.

  11. The “BEST” part of the Holy Cross loss was watching Woog try to be civil as he was surrounded by people yelling “Gopher Chokers” during the post game analysis.

  12. Judging only from the box score, Mich became unglued in the 3rd period Saturday in Houghton with 2 game disqualifications. What happened other than absorbing a beating from an instate rival?

      • House of horrors for my Gophs on Halloween, but the SCSU fans were very hospitable to me and the family. The atmosphere was festive, rowdy and fun with all the costumes. Great college atmosphere, but no band in house. Good view of the game from the cheap seats, which we bought online. I would head up I-94 again if the the next time the Gophers visited.

        • The herbie is a great place to watch a game. I’ve sat in the corner against the wall several times and always had a great time when the gophs are in town. Always one of my favorite road trips.

  13. Good article, but I respectfully disagree that Skoff is a “good” goaltender for Penn State this season. He has been nothing short of excellent this season.
    Also – only a couple of D-1 programs have anywhere near the resources of Penn State’s program. At the end of the day, it is the players and hockey staff that win games. Look at the last two national champions. Union and Yale.

    • So are you saying Penn State is ready for a run to the FF? With that creampuff schedule and all but two games played at home, I’d temper your expectations until they start playing stronger competition. With MN looking like the only strong team in the B1G, they have a chance to make some noise and finish in the top three. Time will tell.

    • I’m curious who the couple of D-1 programs are that have anywhere near the resources of Penn State. What’s your definition of resources?

        • PSU “resourses” such as recruiting budget and facilities are better than 90% of programs in the country.I realize you do’t go frkm 0-60 right away. Ohio State has equal resources and still is a bottom feeder.
          PSU has been waiting for 20 years for basketball to get respectable, hockey make take even more time.

          • With all of those resources, why build a rink that seats less than 5800? For a university of that size that seems small, smallest in the B1G. I understand how a smaller capacity rink has more of an advantage with the crowd noise, but they are missing out on a lot of ticket revenue if hockey is that popular there.

          • The two largest factors in real estate, cost and location. Terry Pegula gave them the money to start the program. They did not have an unlimited budget. Ever tried to get to State College? It”s neatly impossible. Football draws well on a Saturday but that’s it.Their basketball crowd is very student driven and draws poorly. Why should hockey be different. Ohio State built a big arena that is half full and lifeless. Notre Dame built a 5500 sest arena that is loud and full..BU ,BC and Miami seat 3500, sellout and are grest crowds. PSU did fine with a 5500 starter rink.

          • The Penn State rink is across the street from the basketball arena and football stadium. Parking is easy. Pegula Ice arena itself is a beautiful building. I’ve personally attended D-1 hockey games in about 20 different venues. The Penn State rink is literally perfect for D-1 college hockey. You are correct that getting to State College is not easy. I also agree that BU’s Agganis Arena is a terrific college hockey venue.

  14. Since, Mel Pearson left Ann Arbor for Houghton, um has failed to make the Tourny. Guess we know who was really doing it in AA.

    • Tech sweeping Michigan and Minnesota barely avoiding one is great to see. I realize I’m fighting a lost war but I love these “left behind” programs beating the money chasers. St Cloud is in the NCHC only because Notre Dame wouldn’t share their tv money.
      The only question I have is how long can Tech keep Pearson in Houghton. I know he wants to get the Michigan job, but how long will he wait? Michigan hockey is Red, and he isn’t leaving AA by choice. Woog was forced out at Minnesota when he didn’t win championships and booster favorities like Blais and Lucia were.. With Pearson winning in the UP will the new AD get pressured to ease Red out?

  15. I’ve watched enough Michigan Hockey to know that, no, you really can write them off at this point. We’ve been a complete failure with respect to talent level for two years now and it’s continuing into the 3rd. We’ll be watching the tournament from our sofas again this year

  16. Paula, concerning your P.S about Michigan State. Not holding my breath.They have along way to go to reach respectability.

  17. Paula, PSU and UML play next weekend (11/14-15). I’m kinda sorry I had to give my Friday seats to my daughter, too. I’ll be there Saturday. As a native Pennsylvanian, I’d love to see them succeed. I just don’t see it happening against my River Hawks.

  18. It bothers me that many college hockey writers never give St. Cloud any credit, stating or inferring that if St. Cloud wins its because the other team had a bad game or weekend…. no love for cloud town!

        • one loss for the Sioux in the last 10 games. Guess they have had an easy schedule. Penrose will be locked up this weekend after another “easy weekend” against SCSU

          • Thought you said “as” not “at”. Plus, UND actually has a slightly lower winning % at home… and they looked great against WM so it seemed like an easy weekend against a team at the bottom of the conference. Who ever said they had an easy schedule? Not me! This is the NCHC for god sakes.

          • You’re right the little 6 handed PSU their first statement game and possibly minnesota’s second statement loss

          • Kooshnutz, I’m not sure what team you have been watching..?? UND has a good team, but we are not as good as you seem to think. Our D are average at best, this is the team’s Achilles heel. If not for McIntyre on Friday (Saturday as well), we could have lost that game 5-2 very easily. Truth is, WMU is not that good of a team. They are not bad, but they are not up to NCHC standards this particular year. I think CC is a much better team, even if their W-L record does not show it. The truth is, UND might be slightly better than the other NCHC teams, but the margin is such that anyone can win on any given night. UND has a nice W-L record, but how many of these games were won by a single goal (excluding ENG’s), or were won in OT or a shoot out? My point is this, don’t be deceived by UND’s success the past 4-5 weekends. I have yet to see UND truly out-class anyone, they will only win as long as they remain hungry and continue to get phenomenal goaltending from McIntyre. To win a NC, UND needs at least 1 of 2 things to happen. One, they need to get some scoring from another line, specifically from the younger players. Some of our freshmen have scored in spurts this year, but we have not seen anyone start to separate themselves as a go-to kind of player. You simply have to have more than Parks, Caggiula, Patton, and Schmaltz doing most of the scoring. Second, our D have to step up big time. They looked better at Christmas break than they do now. We are, once again, letting forwards gain the blue line with ease. You cannot allow this to happen, our D are sinking behind the blue line 5-10 feet sometimes. They also need to pick ppl up in front of the net. I think virtually every goal WMU scored this weekend was a rebound in front of the net. Our D are not that big, or at least very strong, but they can at least make forwards pay the price if they want to sit in front of McIntyre. If we don’t start doing this, DU, UMD, Miami, BU, MN, MI, all these teams will end our nice year early. Just mho….

          • If you don’t think UND is good defensively, you simply don’t know hockey are you really haven’t watched them play. So much wrong with this post.

          • Right, I have not seen a total group that I would trade for our group right now. It really isn’t even very close. of course there are a few guys out there that would be great to have but honestly I think this is probably the biggest strength of the team outside of McIntyre.

          • Really the D corp is the issue with UND? I think that of the 6 guys that log the most ice time aren’t all of them already drafted? I’d guess that just about every team in the nation would take a straight up trade our D for theirs. Not sure that you and I are watching the same group. I think this D group is far stronger at making decisions and forcing teams much earlier than in the past. This has always been my concern with the coaching staff is that they don’t allow the D to play aggressively enough but this group certainly has been for the majority of the year. It’s not like on an odd man rush they can do much but let them have the zone but when that hasn’t been the case I see them stepping up big time.

            Plus your other point about scoring seems off when you look at the stats. We are a top 10 team in scoring per game (7th as of right now), but have no one player in the top 30 in points. So again I think that your opinion is just that, you r opinion, we are getting great scoring across the lines and the D have done a great job as well.

          • Hahaha thank you for all of this. I was going to say the exact same thing on both points. Just was too lazy :)

          • All of your points are redundant. You need to understand the style of hockey UND plays before jumping on their D-men. UNDs defense is very active and are required to cover a lot of ice at times. Brad Berry has done a great job in making them two dimensional. The only problems for UND is their weak powerplay and the fact that they give other teams too many powerplays.

        • without ref assistance. Und would have at best won by 1 on Friday. Wmu was not easy wmu played very well. They just didn’t get it done Saturday.

    • See my reply to JDumper above. SCSU can determine their own future as far as making the Regionals. Would be great having 6 of our 8 NCHC teams make the NCAAs.

  19. I’m amazed at how tough this conference is this year. I hope the NCAA committee puts at least one team in each of the four regions.
    However, even after having a great weekend,I don’t feel like SCSU is going to have enough horsepower to make the tournament.

    • Agree with how tough our conference is. Top 8 in SOS are all NCHC teams. If SCSU can manage a split at Grand Forks this weekend, they will enter the top 10 in Pairwise.

        • I taped Saturday game versus UNO and St. Cloud thoroughly outplayed them. Smothering defense all night, Lindgren only had to make about 3 tough saves. If they play like that this weekend, they should get the split they need.

      • with a split SCSU will jump 4 other teams and get to #10? not sure what you are basing that on. What if all of the teams ahead of them sweep, do they still move up that far in one series?

        • Going from recent DU games, since Pairwise Predictor not yet in use. We lost and tied at UND, and jumped 2 spots( #12 to #10) in PWR. With a split, it is not a leap to suggest we would have jumped another 2 spots. The 4 teams ahead of SCSU(Quinnipiac, Minnesota, Bowling Green, Providence) will not be playing #2 in PWR (UND), they all play unranked teams.

          • You are not taking into account what the teams that you jumped did right? Again what if 3 of the 4 teams you just mentioned all sweep? Does SCSU still move up 4 spots with a split?

          • Yes to both. When DU lost and tied the Sioux, they passed both Quinnipiac and Minnesota. Minnesota beat and tied the BADgers, and Quinnipiac beat Brown and tied Yale. Sweeping unranked teams will not move you up much, if at all. Splitting with a high ranked team will move you up. Teams in our conference have huge advantage by playing ranked teams almost every weekend. When PWR Predictor comes out, just check the advantage of splitting with high ranked teams.

          • Thanks, I have used the PWR predictor many times but just beating a ranked team and losing to a ranked team doesn’t mean anything. There are so many variables that the blanket statement you are making makes me think that you don’t really understand how PWR works. It takes into account games against common opponents for example. So for example right now SCSU loses the comparison to MN 3-1 (they have a lower RPI, lose the common opponents and tie the head to head). So even if they were to move ahead in one of the groups they could still lose the overall comparison.

            Again you are making a pretty broad statement about something that is a very specific calculations so I guess we will just see what happens this weekend. I’ll bet that if SCSU splits they don’t move up 4 spots. Might but it can depend on 20 other games and their outcomes.

          • I totally agree I used a broad comparison. You are absolutely correct with the common opponents statement but a teams RPI improves with my speculated split with a high ranked team, since RPI takes into account SOS. If you notice, the PWR ratings coincide directly with RPI ranking. We will have to wait this weekends results to see if SCSU splits at Grand Forks. I do have one question that you might know the answer. Minn. St. and UND have “adjusted RPI” due to negative affect from defeating weak opponent. DU defeated CC 4 times this year, why are they not considered as weak an opponent as both Minn. St and UND defeated?

    • Nobody knows how it will all shake out, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see 6 NCHC teams make the tourney.
      As long as SCSU does well from here out, they’ll probably be in.
      Disappointing thing for them would be if they don’t show up for the NCAAs.
      That happened a couple years ago with the WCHA.
      They had 6 teams in; 4 lost in the first round and their combined record was 3-6.
      Plus, a number of those losses were pretty brutal.
      So, we’ll see.

      I’d love to see SCSU, UMD, UNO, Mankato, or MTech win the whole thing (if MN doesn’t win, of course).

        • No hard feelings at all.

          I listed the teams I’d love to see win, in lieu of MN winning, and NoDak is not in that list.
          Other than their respective fans, do you think anyone wants to see NoDak, MI, BU, BC, MN, or DU win another championship?
          Probably not.

          One of the reasons this tournament will be so fun is the high chance that the crown will go to a school that has won only a once, hasn’t won in a long time, or has never won.
          So, IMHO, there’s a lot for everyone to be excited about.
          The last two years have been really fun, even though my team hasn’t come home with the trophy.

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