Three things: March 1

No. 1 thrice
North Dakota, which before last weekend’s series against St. Cloud was ranked No. 1 in the USCHO Men’s D-I poll, is now the top dog in a couple of other places as well.

Thanks to UND’s sweep of St. Cloud and the tie between Minnesota State and Michigan Tech, North Dakota is now No. 1 in the PairWise rankings, barely ahead of Minnesota State, with whom UND is tied in the winning percentage rank.

More importantly, North Dakota’s sweep, combined with Miami’s split with Denver, ensures that North Dakota is at least a co-champion of the NCHC’s regular season, and co-holder of the Penrose Cup.

The only way for North Dakota not to become sole champion in the NCHC is for Miami to sweep the series between the two next weekend in Oxford, Ohio. Those wins would need to be in regulation; if North Dakota gets any points, it wins the NCHC regular season outright, as it currently has a six-point lead on the RedHawks.

Another place set
After this weekend, in which Western Michigan tied and lost to Colorado College, the Broncos are in seventh place, and can’t move any higher or lower, as they trail St. Cloud State by seven points and are ahead of Colorado College by 16 points.

St. Cloud State was swept by North Dakota, and while the sixth-place Huskies could conceivably finish fifth, they know they will be on the road regardless, as they trail fourth-place Denver by seven points.

Home ice shuffle
Four teams are battling for three home-ice spots. Miami is currently in second place with 41 points, Omaha in third with 39, Denver in fourth with 38, and Minnesota-Duluth in fifth with 36.

Entering last weekend’s games, Denver was in third place in the NCHC. After the weekend, the Pioneers are in fourth, despite splitting a series with Miami, because Omaha earned two ties/shootout wins over Minnesota-Duluth. Denver travels to St. Cloud this weekend; the Pioneers swept the Huskies in January.

In the final weekend of the year, Minnesota-Duluth travels to Western Michigan, Omaha hosts Colorado College, and Miami hosts North Dakota. Depending on how the weekend shakes out, it is still possible that second-place Miami could drop to fifth and Minnesota-Duluth could move up to second.

However, the series between Duluth and Western Michigan and Omaha and Colorado College are not pushes for the higher-ranked teams. Omaha and CC split back in January in Colorado Springs, and Western Michigan got a tie and a win against the Bulldogs the same weekend that CC beat Omaha. Miami and North Dakota split back in November.

66 COMMENTS

  1. Once again the picks are wrong, wrong, wrong…go BRONCOS. New coach, fewer “dumb penalities” a goalie that is on FIRE…come on! How many ranked opponents do the Broncos have to beat to get ranked….lets see, Union….sweep,
    Nanooks, 5 out of 6 pts
    Miami Spilit
    plus lets not forget that MSU was ranked and they swept them..didn’t they win this weekend.. I guess they will need to have to beat notre dame, michigan and miami to get ranked..

    Bring on Ohio, two teams without a loss in the last 5..count them …FIVE games..other than BC, Yale and North Dakota, all over ranked, no other teams have had that kind of record….the USCHO better start covering the talent WMU has.

  2. Since everyone is complaining about how awful the Final Five will be this year, maybe it should just be a rule that MN, UW, UMD, UND and SCSU make it every year regardless of record or performance.

  3. How about we finally realize that the Gophers ARE NOT the elite team in the state of Minnesota… I for one would much rather see BSU and UMD

  4. Congrats to UAA, though. They worked hard all year and deserve to be playing for a chance to be in the national tourny.

  5. Kristo has been cleared to play… imagine a fully healthy Sioux squad… they were scary enough without kristo and chay. Now they will be brutal…. congrats uaa its great to see them n the beavs in placeof the b$g10 underachievers… yeah Sioux Sioux

  6. If CC gets any points in Omaha at all this upcoming weekend, it’ll say a lot more about UNO than it does about CC.

    CC has nothing to really be playing for except pride. UNO is fighting for home ice AND and an NCAA berth. Plus a number one seed for UNO in the NCAA’s is still within their grasp, too (as-is NO NCAA berth if they got swept by CC this weekend and also get swept out of the NCHC tourney in the 1st round). They need to sweep CC, win their first round home NCHC playoff series (preferably in a sweep), and, I think, win at least one game in Minneapolis. If they do that, that will probably be enough to get them into the top 4 of Pairwise come selection day.

    • I love how everyone talks about what one team might or might not do will determine how they finish in the PWR. You may be correct and if all of those things happen for UNO they get a top 4 PWR ranking, but what you are forgetting is that other teams that are already ahead of them might win that same number of games. If that happens does your scenario still hold? I doubt it. At this point for UNO they are going to make the NCAA unless they get swept and then get bounced in the first round of the conf tourney. But making a statement like you make above is just kind of silly because it also depends on about 15 other games being played by 4 other teams that are ahead of them right now in the PWR. I would think they have a tougher time getting to the top 4 than a number of other teams and a lot of that is because of who they will have to play in the NCHC tourney.

      • I got this straight from Jim Dahl’s web site, after making a specific request of him to run UNO scenarios. You can see his response to my request in the comment section of his post this week.

        He laid it out pretty much as I did, above.

        • Guess my point was that you failed to mention what he did is that UNO needs help. Even if all of the above happens unless UNO gets some help and some teams above them lose a game or two it might not be enough for UNO to move up far enough. Given that UNO is just 2-4-2 in the last 8 they just need to focus on making the NCAA tourney.

        • Once again, Stod is directly on point. Your post is more than speculative, and is too premature to be taken seriously. I plead ignorance to Jim Dahl and what formula he used to “run” UNO scenarios. The only formula to “predict” where any team will rank after future games is the Pairwise Predictor. As Stod stated, there are many variables including how many of the other teams fare. Note, that when you use the Predictor it has you input not only your team, but many others from all conferences. If CC beats UNO one game this weekend, without shootout, your speculation is gone. If other NCHC teams drop down in PWR, winning one game at Frozen Five, also might not raise UNO up to top 4. Consider if BU and Michigan Tech go all the way in their tourneys, they could also pass UNO. At least wait until our tourney starts, and the Predictor is in place on this site.

          • Agree totally, nothing is perfect. Since we are “stuck” with Pairwise, I figure that is what we need to “embrace”. At least it is not biased by human opinions.

    • Maybe so, but BU could crash that party by winning the Hockey East tourney and bump them out. This is all hearsay anyway, as evidenced by the guy (stod-2)? below who stated before the weekend that Yale had no chance to finish in the top 15 PWR. Really? 10-15 will be an absolute dogfight… 8-9 teams still in the mix… Whether you believe it or not, the differences between 10-21 are very slight.

        • Wasn’t this your comment on the bracketology blog 3-4 rays ago?

          “With the whole ECAC having a down year and only 7 non conf games to
          schedule, Yale has not shot in the current system. The system is a bit
          rigged for the bigger better conf to have the top spots.”

          I will give you credit for supporting Yale (or others in the same PWR predicament I presume) over SCSU at .500. What you argued about the PWR for or against, I have said for 10+ years. It is probably the worst flaw the PWR has… Inflated PWR for average teams in a “strong” conference… Otherwise, it is a pretty objective system.

          • Yeah, I wasn’t try to say they had no chance just that it seemed rigged against a team in their situation. I agree that an average or slightly above average team gets huge benefit from winning a few in conf games in a great conf. Just seems flawed and seems as though there should be a way to fix that. In this particular case I was advocating for changing the tie breaker away from the RPI and make it the common opponents in which case Yale would have been ahead of SCSU. But as it stands now, looks like SCSU will have a long way to go to get back in the NCAA tourney unless they win the NCHC which is a possibility.

          • That I agree with. Someone also said 3? weekends ago, paraphrased of course… “After this weekend, anyone in the top 10 PWR was a lock for the NCAAs”… Well, Vermont dropped out that weekend, Harvard has gone from 4 to 20 since. And Bowling Green, then 5?, is two losses this weekend from dropping out. Conversely, Quinnipiac was well out and now a top 10. Shows you that things still can (and will) change in a few instances.

          • Yeah, things are going to change a lot still but we are getting closer to that group that is in the top 8-10 are getting pretty close to pretty much making sure they are in. Obviously if a lot of craziness happens even that could change.

            Yeah I just love these comments about if this team does this then they are in or out. It depends on so many other things that it is really hard to say that. Even once we get to all of the conf tourneys that group in the 3 and 4 line could change if lots of upsets happen.

          • Agreed… 11-16 are vulnerable right thru to selection. A lot of comparable teams in winning pct. that can go hot or cold in their tournaments. UND is the one team at the top that appears to be separating themselves.

          • I hope you are right about UND but honestly if MacMillan is hurt and out for the rest of the season that is going to be an issue.

      • Agreed. I figured it was Miami (because of their weaker non-con) that had an inflated PWR in the NCHC. Turns out, it may be UNO. Miami is closing out very strong 3-1 (two left in final 6). So is UND and Denver. UNO has to also.

    • They will sweep CC. CC is our WISCO…On second thought, it’s a bit disrespectful to put CC in the same category as the girls in red.

    • You are correct, perhaps being a little picky. I am sure Candace meant “regulation” to include anything prior to shootout, where 3 points would be earned. She qualified it by stating, “if North Dakota gets any points, it wins the NCHC regular season outright”.

      • NoDak’s radio broadcasters aren’t wild about OT goals deciding all three points in the standings, but the NCAA requires W-L-T records based on how the game ends (before any optional shootout).

        • With a 3 point “game”, the only other way to distribute points in a shootout would be winner take all. That would be ridiculous, don’t you think? This is not like the NHL where 2 points are at stake, and an OT/shootout gives an extra point. The reason the NC$$ requires only ties, not shootout results, is that all leagues do not have a shootout after OT. If every league had a shootout to break ties, maybe the NC$$ would redo stats. The Pairwise still only counts ties, also, which is probably most important of all.

          • That probably is the reason the NCAA doesn’t use shoot-out results in it’s rankings calculations, but I hope they never accept shoot-outs as official results.
            Shoot-outs suck.

          • Shoot-outs are extremely popular with most fans. The reason NCHC started them was the complaints from fans attending games had with ties. I have to admit, they are exciting and beat a “kissing-your-sister” tie when I leave Magness Arena. I do, however, see your point. Different opinions make the world go ’round.

          • I hate shoot outs. I agree that ties are not great either but to see a team win a conference like the NCHC because they won a shoot out seems like a harsh way to determine a winner. I hope the NCAA keeps seeing them all as ties personally. Would hate to see a team like DU or UND lose out on a top seed or ranking because BU (for example) had better shoot out types of players.

          • The Pairwise will always consider a tie after OT, as a tie. Can’t see them changing for the exact reason you stated, and more importantly it appears all leagues will never have a shoot-out. As a paying fan, I still think a shoot-out is more interesting than leaving a tie. No league will ever continue play until someone scores. Can you imagine a triple OT 20 minute period game on Friday and have the teams turnaround the next night. Would not be good.

          • The only reason conferences go to 3 points is to give a point for making it to the shootout (in North America, at least. International play is different).

            And isn’t it interesting how CCHA teams do much better in NCHC /B1G shootouts than WCHA teams?

        • I say get rid of the shootouts and just let them play until someone scores. It may take a while, but how many OT games do we see someone score is (they are only 5 minutes long.) play a full 20 I say

  7. On another note… Back-to-back NCHC games (CBS) Friday night will be intense. UND vs Miami (split keeps PWR status quo), then Denver vs St Cloud, which is the series I think effects everything most this weekend. Interested to see Denver’s development since the beginning of season vs BC.

    • That sweep for UND was huge. Sioux could lose out including the NCHC tourney and still be the number one-seed team in their regional.

      • If UND gets swept by CC or WM in the first round of the NCHC tourney, I would guess that they get jumped for a 1 seed and are on the two line. BU, UNO, any number of teams if they were to win out would have a serious shot at jumping UND if that were to happen.

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