WCHA picks, Feb. 12-13

Hey all. Jack here.

What a difference a week can make.

After going 3-8-1 on my picks last weekend, I was able to turn it around completely this time around and go a perfect 9-0-0 on the weekend. I have no idea how this happened, but I swear I didn’t cheat. (But I won’t completely deny being a sorcerer…)

Anyway, it’s a fairly light slate for conference teams this weekend, but two of the series feature middle-table teams that need all of the points they can muster when it comes to playoff positioning. Meanwhile, the first and last place teams also face off, but I honestly think they will play better games than many might expect.

On to the picks. Hopefully I can conjure some more black magic this weekend.

Bemidji State at Lake Superior State

Jack: The Beavers are playing pretty well right now, but after a Thursday night game in Duluth, they’re going to be on their third game in five days by the time this series is over. I think they’ll win Friday but the Lakers will capitalize Saturday for a split. Beavers 5-2, Lakers 3-2

Shane: Just two points separate these two team in the standings and both still have a shot a home ice. I’m not as worried about the Beavers’ schedule as they had last weekend off. The Lakers are at home where they’ve done a good job getting points. Since we don’t pick ties for three-point weekends I’m going with a Bemidji sweep. Beavers 4-1, 3-2

Northern Michigan at Ferris State

Jack: Fun fact: Both teams got their first series sweeps of the season last weekend. Ferris won a pair of games in Fairbanks while NMU hosted Anchorage and won both games. Both teams seem to be playing their best hockey right now. The Bulldogs are unbeaten in their last seven games. I think that streak ends at some point this season, but I’ll say it extends to eight before the ‘Cats break it up. Bulldogs 4-2, Wildcats 3-1

Shane: This is the matchup of the weekend, as it might even determine which of these teams hosts the other one in the playoffs. Both are playing good hockey right now, but, even before that, they almost always found ways to get points in a series. That will happen again this weekend in a couple of low-scoring games. Wildcats 2-1, Bulldogs 2-0

Minnesota State at Alabama Huntsville

Jack: The Mavs are looking to secure their second-straight MacNaughton Cup. A pair of wins would certainly help in that regard, especially since both teams chasing them (Tech and BG) are idle. But I wouldn’t write the Chargers as an easy W so fast. They played two pretty good games against MSU last time out in Mankato, including a game in which they were leading 1-0 going into the third period. I think they may be able to squeeze a win this weekend and keep their playoff hopes alive. Chargers 2-1, Mavericks 5-1

Shane: You’re right, Jack, that the Chargers played the Mavericks tough two months ago in Mankato, and they’re always competitive. But I just don’t see Minnesota State losing a game this weekend. The Mavs will give their lead atop the standings a nice, and needed, boost this weekend. Mavericks 5-2, 3-1

Miami at Bowling Green (Friday)

Jack: Bowling Green has one last chance to right the ship in nonconference play and give themselves (and the WCHA) a boost with a win over their instate rival. The Falcons are currently 0-3 against NCHC foes. Their 2-1 loss against the Redhawks last time out maybe isn’t that shocking, but losing to Western Michigan 4-1 and 1-0 in the other two games both remain head-scratches. I suppose that’s what happens when we have hockey #MACtion going on. I think the Falcons will salvage at least something this weekend — one of three home games left for them. Falcons 3, RedHawks 1

Shane: I was impressed with what I saw from Bowling Green last weekend, especially in its win on Saturday when it played with some desperation to get a much-needed win. Considering the WCHA is likely a one-bid conference, everybody’s playing for momentum right now, and I think the Falcons keep theirs going. Falcons 4, RedHawks 3

Last week: Shane 6-3-0, Jack 9-0-0. Overall: Shane 98-52-27, Jack 83-67-27


    • Haha more “deserving”? They have almost identical stats and Hockey East is not a slouch conference so what makes anyone more “deserving”? His PPG are tops in the country and Maine would not even be on the map without him. They do have one of the top lines in the country but if you don’t have Abbott that line does not produce nearly the numbers they put up. I have seen Connolly play and he is a great player as well. I think if either win the Hobey they deserve it!

    • You sir are a fool. More deserving? There is nobody more deserving. Umaine was picked to finish 8th in hockey east, not even a factor to be in the ncaa tourney. With abbot they finish 4th in hockey east, win the season series over both BC and BU beating Umass lowell in lowell which not very many teams can say they have done this year. He leads the nation in scoring ( yes it is a close race) he leads hockey east in scoring argueably the best confrence in the country, and his line Flynn, and Diamond are both in the top 15 in scoring as well, all three are over 40 points. They finished the year 1,2,3 in scoring in the hockey east! and Umaine is in great shape to make the ncaa tourney. There is nobody more deserving of the hobey. If he doesnt win it then it would be a shame.

      • Lets break down each player’s total points within their conference

        Top Third
        Player 1: 7 pts 9 gp = 0.778 ppg
        Player 2: 11 pts 6 gp = 1.83 ppg

        Middle Third
        Player 1: 10 pts 9 gp = 1.11 ppg
        Player 2: 12 pts 10 gp = 1.2 ppg

        Bottom Third
        Player 1: 23 pts 8 gp = 2.875 ppg
        Player 2: 18 pts 12 gp = 1.5 ppg

        Can you guess which player is which?

        Hint. Connolly is player 2.

        • Karl this here is gold. Looking at this just shows Jack’s effectiveness and consistency. Thank you for taking the time to provide this evidence. 

        • Karl what you are showing is Jack player 2 had 41 points in 28 games – 1.46ppg

          PLayer 2, Abbott – 40 points in 26 games = 1.54ppg

          So thank you for pointing out that in conference Abbott has been more effective than Jack lol.

          Again Abbott is a bigger impact to Maine than Jack is to UMD.
          UMD in the tourney without Jack
          Maine is golfing without Abbott.

          • He’s actually showing Abbott has gotten most of his points against the garbage teams in his league while almost doing nothing against the elite teams. Connolly has been consistent against all levels.

        • I’m not a mathematician, but reality is that it’s hard to compare averages when the number of games in each category isn’t equal. I do believe it’s called a skewed comparison. Comparing what one player did in 9 games to what another did in 6 games is just a little stupid — just a little, though…right?

      • @black bears all the way, I agree with you that Abbott is a more than deserving candidate and that the WCHA folks pushing their bias and complaining about an east coast bias is funny, but Maine was picked to finish 4th in the Hockey East Preseason coaches poll this season — not eighth. Just saying.

  1. Hey Blinky, My opinions are biased in writing this because i am a Maine fan but one of the things to look at when voting for the Hobey is, where would his team be without him? I can say honestly say that without Abbott this year Maine would be a 6th or 7th placed team in Hockey East. Also look at all Abbott brings to the team, He is a penalty killer, An assistant captain, second in goals and the assist leader. Do not forget another thing is quality of the individual. Abbott is a 2-time Hockey East all-academic selection. Not saying any of the other guys are not but 2 out of 3 years i’d say that’s pretty good. Good luck to everyone but just saying Abbott is getting all the credit he deserves.

    • For what reasons make him the clear favorite? Abbott is tied for lead in the nation in assist and points! What am I missing that Abbott doesn’t “deserve” it. I would argue that if you take each of them off the respective teams, UMD has much more depth and would be better off than Maine would be without Abbott.

      • It doesn’t matter who is better without that player. That argument is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. You could literally make that same argument for multiple other players and they aren’t even considered in the hobey race. 

        The real evidence lies within the breakdown of when each player scored their points. Abbott scored most of his points against the weakest teams in the conference and did little to nothing against the best in his conference. Jack was consistent the whole way through. Look it up.

  2. I think both players are deserving. I think that Connolly does more with lesser skilled line-mates than Abbott. He just makes plays no matter who he’s with. I think the race is pretty even. I think performance of both Connolly and Abbott and their respective teams in the playoffs will have a lot to do with who wins the award. 

      • Connolly also has 27 PP points, and Oleksuk and Brown are on the PP.  This is not a surprising stat that 31 of his 55 points involve one of those players.  On his line he has a player with 27 points and 10 points.  Obviously he would have more points Brown or Oleksuk were on his line.

  3. I’m happy to see Abbott finally getting the Ink he deserves……I think he should take the Hobey, not only for leading the nation, but great kid all around.  He has done much more this year than Connolly IMO.  UMD would be in the tourney regardless of Jack, Abbott is the main reason why Maine is in great contention to make it(first time since 07) never mind his HE team standing as well.  He has been HE player of the month twice, Commissioners player of the month once or twice I believe.

    He helped turn a team that won 3 out of the first 11 and was written off especially after Loosing Nyquist, Dimmen and Van Dyk into a winning squad.  He also did this with the 16th hardest schedule vs Jacks 35th hardest and Austins 38 hardest.  And I watched the Hobey highlight Maine released and a lot of those points are highly skilled and phenomenal plays.

    Not only has he put up a ton of points this year, hes doing it vs teams that know they just need to shutdown the first line of Maine and they have a great chance to win the game.  I hope he wins it!

  4. To me Connolly is the clear favorite for one huge reason, consistency.  Connolly has only been held scoreless in 4 games this season (including a 22 game point streak) while Abbott has been shut out in 9.  Abbott enjoyed two huge weekends against UAH and Vermont, racking up a ridiculous 16 points in 2 weekends.  Those two weekends account for 28.6% of his points.  While the sum of Connolly’s two biggest weekends is 10 points, six of which came against a North Dakota team who was playing very well at the time.  

    Connolly has been a consistent and durable player for four years. He will be a three time All-American, has not missed a game in 4 years, has a legitimate shot at hitting the 200 career point mark, is the best player on one of the best teams in the nation, and has a national title.  What more could you ask in a Hobey?  Oh yeah the character thing… Jack is a class act on and off the ice and is involved in the community.  As a home town kid he is always under the microscope.  During the welcome home celebration after last years national title victory, the mayor determined the new Amsoil Arena as “the house that Jack built.”  That is a ton of pressure for a kid to be under and he could have easily let it go to his head, but he has always conducted himself with humility and integrity.

    Abbott has had a great year and lead a mediocre team to a spot in the NCAA tourny, and I hope he is runner up to Connolly.

    • Very knowledgable post. I would only argue that the Hobey Baker Award is not a career award. I have heard a lot of people saying Connolly also plays against better teams. I would argue that fact since the have the 30th ranked SOS where as Maine’s is 18th. Regardless, either player has a strong resume for THIS season and are both outstanding canidates. Abbott certainly did beat up some lesser apponents but so do most players. Sometimes when watching a game as I am sure you know, just because you don’t score does not mean you didn’t help your team win. Abbott and Connolly should be 1 -2 in whatever order it shall be. Smith I think has watered down statistics playing in a lesser conference. If Abbott and Connolly played in the ECAC one would have to think they would light the lamp more.

      • The point we are trying to make is not who played more tougher teams but who played better against good teams when they played them. When Jack played the good teams on the schedule he still did well. When Abbott played the good teams on his team’s schedule he didn’t play well.

  5. Well, there is no doubt that Abbott and his line carried Maine all season, with exception of a few games, and cannot be responsible for the atrocious defense that Maine has exhibited all season long and lead to most of their losses.  Sullivan is developing, but I still say he’s not a #1 goalie, especially by UMaine standards.  And the team is what, 28th or so in overall D.  Good grief at times they looked like a High School team, and a bad one at that.  Maine is this far because of Abbott and if not for the year he put up they are 7th, 8th place team, or worse.

    Connolly plays for the defending Nat Champs and that simply has to be held against him.

    • held against him? you do realize he dropped 59 points last year right…? Not only that but the year before he dropped 49 points. So hmmm 49/59/55(so far), I’d say that has Hobey written all over it. When looking at it this way there is nobody more deserving of this prestigious award than Jack.

        • You are right, but I was merely disputing the fact that Connolly is just doing this because UMD is doing well as the post above suggests. I understand hockey and the awards that go with it. Showing the fact that connolly has done this year in and year out counters the argument it’s just because he is on a good team. Good day, sir.

  6. Lets not forget that Jack Connolly has done 3 things. 1. He won a national championship. 2. Has led the nation in points for a majority of the season and had a 22 game point streak on a WINNING team that was ranked number one for nearly 6 consecutive weeks. 3. He won WCHA player of the year. And to all you fanboys saying Connolly would suck if he was in hockey east then why is it that not one hockey east team was in the frozen four last year if hockey east has all the good teams? right, because they suck. Look at it this way, if you’re the quarterback on a losing team (Abbott), nobody cares about you. no matter how many touchdowns you throw, if your team sucks then you just arent as good as the points say

    • Hobey is about this year, so winning a national champ LAST YEAR, is great an all, but for last year.  And your logic about the QB is way different if you are putting mad points up on a weak team, where they know they just need to shut you down, and you still put em up, shows your much stronger lol.

    • Is this article about the 2011-12 Hobey Baker Award or did I miss something? What does last year’s frozen four have to do with this years conference strength? I didn’t realize a player needed to win a title in a PREVIOUS season to be considered for an award during the CURRENT season? And apparently Maine is a losing team now? I somehow thought they had a winning record this year, guess I haven’t been paying attention. I think some people are worried that little ole Spencer Abbott is going to sweep in and take the award from their golden boy.

  7. Alright people the verdict is in. Let’s have a looksie. 

    As Karl stated, Abbott enjoyed two weekends against cellar dwellars in which he ballooned his stats to which 28% of stats were from those games.  To me this is an alarming stat. Also Karl showed a stat line on each player’s points according to what place in the standings their opponent I would read that, it’s alarming as well. 

    I would just like to point out the fact that Jack Connolly has been the most constant hockey player not only this year but for the past three years. He has consistently been one of the best players each year for the past three years. Let me repeat that, he has been one of the best players for the past three years. If a college hockey player who has a 49 point year, followed by a 59 point year, followed by a 55+ point year there is no way you can say they don’t deserve it. Sure, I give all the credit in the world to Abbott but the shear dominance of Jack Connolly has been shown over and over again. I would also like to state for the record I am not a Bulldog or Bears fan.

    •  is it easier to be consistent playing weaker teams???  UMD has the 35th hardest schedule, Where Maines was 16th hardest.

      UMD played the majority of teams that are weaker, where Maine played more games vs better teams.

      • The last two years the WCHA has been a deeper conference than HE.  Connolly is putting up similar numbers to those two years.  What Jason and I are saying is that it doesn’t matter who Jack was playing against or with, he has been the most consistent player over the last three years.  Connolly performs night in and night out, he finds a way to get on the scoreboard almost every night.  Look at the stats, he’s far more consistent than Abbott.  That is just a fact, you have no argument Tom. 

      • But if you were truly deserving of the hobey baker award you would do well against everyone. Abbott scored most of his points against bad teams, and was almost ineffective against good teams. It doesn’t matter how many good teams you play but what you do against them. Abbott didn’t play well against the elite teams in his league while jack did, end of story.

        •  Jack had an easy schedule, they don’t play many elite teams when you are number 1 in the nation most the season, Maine at 14th hardest schedule, plays much more teams that are better then them, and Abbott put up more points!

          • You’re right, UND, Denver, Minnesota, and Colorado College are easy teams.

            Also, what you are implying is that not only the Coaches involved in the coaches poll, but the writers at USCHO were all wrong when they picked the Bulldogs as #1? Keep in mind that those two polls are only influenced by people who have way more knowledge about college hockey than you do. 

            Also Abbott put up more points against the garbage teams. If you actually did research instead of jumping on the bandwagon you would discover that Abbott didn’t play well against the elite teams he played.

            This is truly embarrassing when I can come in here and disprove everyone from the Abbott bandwagon with a few facts that took little to no time to put together. Please, please, have solid fact based arguments when you come to prove a point.

          • Connolly might play better against the better teams(at least according to point production) because Maine essentially only has one great line that teams can gear up against. UMD has a more balanced all around team which makes teams have to defend more players/lines likewise giving Connolly more opportunities to be a point producer. Abbott becomes more of a decoy while Connolly has JT and Travis(on a different line) to take care of that for him. Don’t forget that Connolly is a second liner – playing against other teams second lines.

  8. Talk about watered down stats, Abbott scored seven points in a weekend against traditional juggernaut Alabama-Huntsville. Take those away and see where he is.

  9. Good luck to both.  It has been a blast watching Spencer Abbott play this year and he had another great weekend against Merrimack.  Connolly is equally deserving and I hope they meet down the road.

  10. Chargers might not be as good as the Mavericks, but we played 2 games good enough for a win and a tie, but unfortunately it turned into 2 ties!


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