TMQ: Penn State gaining respect, keeping an eye on ECAC Hockey

Vince Pedrie (24 - Penn State) (Omar Phillips)
Vince Pedrie has totaled 13 points in 15 games this year for Penn State (photo: Omar Phillips).

Each week during the season, we look at the big events and big games around Division I men’s college hockey in Tuesday Morning Quarterback.

Jim: Well, Paula, this was actually a week where many of the top teams in the nation performed pretty well. Of the 18 teams in action among the USCHO.com top 20, only one was swept (No. 20 Michigan). That didn’t mean there wasn’t significant movement in this week’s poll. Most notable was Penn State which moved from No. 7 to a program-best No. 3 after a two-game shellacking of Michigan. Now with the best record in the nation, the Nittany Lions seem to have earned the respect of the poll voters.

And, as we’ve said a few times, it seems that respect is deserved. Do I have a few caveats still? Yes. To date, Penn State has played the 27th-most difficult schedule in the nation. Compare that to still-No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth, which has played the most difficult schedule in the nation (easy to do in the NCHC, which has five of its eight teams in the top 13 of the RPI). Also, Penn State has experienced some solid home cooking, having played 12 of its first 15 games at home. Minnesota State has played 11 of 16 at home and a few teams have played 10 of either 15 or 16 at home. But most teams haven’t had that disproportionate of a home/road schedule.

I don’t know if road games will have too much of an impact on Penn State. But they won’t play another game this calendar year. The Nittany Lions have a 35-day break right now before resuming play Jan. 6.

I feel like Guy Gadowsky built the schedule he really wanted and, thus far, his team has performed as best it could.

Paula: I couldn’t agree more with everything regarding Penn State. The Nittany Lions’ schedule wasn’t that tough, but one hallmark of a good team is that it takes care of business against teams it should beat. Another hallmark is that it defends its home territory. Penn State has done both of those things through its 10-game home stand, culminating with the two games against Michigan this past weekend.

I’ve seen Michigan play and the Wolverines are suffering, but they haven’t looked like pushovers to me. The number of goals the Nittany Lions scored surprised me – and the unreal number of shots they take. Officially, PSU had 48 shots in Thursday’s win and 58 Friday. Michigan rookie Jack LaFontaine made 53 stops in a 5-1 loss.

And PSU’s schedule was certainly designed to help a team that thought it would be rebuilding. From the start of the season, Gadowsky said that there were a lot of question marks for this year’s team. That early success can help any team build confidence. I wonder, though, about the 35 days off. That’s certainly good for bruises and bumps. Penn State’s first opponent after the break is Ohio State, which will be the Nittany Lions’ toughest opponent since they faced Notre Dame in late October.

I am glad that PSU has gained some respect because I think the program has earned it. As someone who covers the Big Ten, though, I’m delighted that Ohio State and Minnesota split – delighted because I think the series was a really good measuring stick for each team. Each, in my opinion, has passed a bit of a test.

Another really interesting barometer series this past weekend was St. Cloud at Western Michigan. Like the Nittany Lions, I think the Broncos are another team trying to earn some respect. After dropping Friday’s game 3-0, battling back to tie St. Cloud Saturday and take the extra shootout point should send a message about Western Michigan’s legitimacy. You mention the NCHC as a strong league. I don’t think anyone would want to face any of that league’s top six teams next March and April.

Jim: Before I close out thoughts on Penn State, the conversation feels a little bit familiar to what many used to say about Quinnipiac. No one wanted to give the Bobcats a look when they were starting seasons with double-digit wins before Christmas. And now, a few years after hearing those conversations, those same Bobcats been to two national title games

Back to what you said about the NCHC, I don’t even know that I want to limit the league to just six dangerous teams. Miami is very dangerous (assuming that’s who you’re considering the “seventh” team). And I’ve seen Colorado College play a number of times both live and on film and know that they have the offensive fire power and the defense is continuing to improve.

A couple of ECAC took steps forward this weekend in Union and Harvard. Union handed Quinnipiac its second loss in three games while also beating Princeton for their two wins. Harvard headed to the North Country and beat Clarkson and St. Lawrence, two of the strongest teams in the league thus far.

Maybe it’s just me, but it often takes a while for the ECAC to grab headlines every season. That despite Union and Yale’s recent national titles and the aforementioned success of Quinnipiac. Maybe it’s the late start to the Ivy League season? But would you agree that it’s time to pay attention some of the ECAC squads?

Paula: Oh, absolutely. I’ve had my eye on Union and St. Lawrence from the start of the season, and I know that Clarkson is improved. I admit that I often wait until I see a few games from the Ivies until I vote them into the poll. Take Harvard, for example. Many people voted Harvard into the poll before they’d played a game, but the Crimson proved those poll voters right when their schedule began in earnest.

With the Ivies, I sometimes feel as though it’s the opposite of Quinnipiac and Penn State, perhaps, have experienced. I am by no means putting the Ivies down, but for years it seemed to me that Cornell was given too much of the benefit of the doubt in the first half, based on years of reputation. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but for a few seasons, we watched Cornell enter the polls fairly high and then slip and slip and slip – and I’m sure that many poll voters felt a little snake-bitten by that phenomenon. I’ve had no problem voting Harvard higher in my poll weekly as they’ve played. I just wanted to see a little bit more from them before voting them in my top 10.

As for the ECAC, I’ve been so happy with that conference’s progress in recent years. To see Yale and Union win back-to-back national titles was amazing, and to watch an all-ECAC national championship game when Quinnipiac and Yale faced off was something that few of us could have imagined in the decade leading up to that point. The ECAC suffers from a little reputation burn, I think.

This year, we have Harvard (4.45 goals per game) and Union (4.00) as the third and fourth top-scoring teams nationally, Cornell has the ninth-best defense, and there are a slew of ECAC players making big waves this season. It’s really nice to see.

Jim: Also nice to see this past weekend is that Michigan Tech isn’t going to lay down for Bemidji State to walk away with the WCHA title. I jest, sort of, that anything of that would happen. But Bemidji’s lead is eight points over Michigan Tech after last weekend. Had the Huskies been swept, that lead would have been 14 points, or nearly five games in a three-points-for-a-win conference.

But looking at Tech, they have bounced back well from an 0-4 start and, after last weekend, is 9-2-1 in its last 12 games. What has improved most over that stretch is the team’s defense. Since a 4-1 loss to Michigan State on October 21, the Huskies haven’t allowed more than three goals a game, that after allowing four or more goals in four of its first seven.

I know you’re a big Mel Pearson fan. This is much more, I assume, what you expected from Tech.

Paula: I was very disappointed in both Michigan Tech’s and Bowling Green’s starts, so I am pleased to see that each team has rebounded from earlier in the season. You mention Tech’s 0-4 start and the Huskies’ rebound – and I am pleased, as someone with a great regard for Mel Pearson – but Bowling Green’s start was even worse. The Falcons went 1-6-1 in their first eight games, and their first win of the season came against Miami Oct. 29. Since the start of November, the Falcons are 7-2-1 and all in WCHA play.

Now the Falcons are seven points behind the second-place Huskies and the teams play each other in Bowling Green this weekend while Bemidji State hosts Lake Superior State. Those are two series this weekend that may make things even more interesting in the WCHA standings – and it’s good hockey for WCHA fans.

Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

Thumbs Up

Here’s to the NCHC for its making a case that it’s consistently the best conference in Division I this season. Thanks to that league’s poll success, this weekend we’re treated to No. 2 Denver hosting No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth, marking the second time in 2016-2017 that we’re seeing the top two ranked teams meet for a series during the regular season. When North Dakota was No. 1, the Fighting Hawks traveled to then-No. 2 Minnesota Duluth for two games (Oct. 28-29). This weekend’s second game between the Bulldogs and Pioneers marks the fourth time in a single season that Nos. 1 and 2 will meet – just the second time in the history of the USCHO.com poll (2000-01 season was the last time, when four different weekends Nos. 1 and 2 met in single games).

Thumbs Down

It was a tough weekend for the penalty killers at Niagara. Friday, the Purple Eagles allowed six power play goals in 10 chances to RIT. Cutting opportunities in half on Saturday night didn’t help help things too much as the RIT power play scored twice in five chances. Having a below 50 percent kill rate on the weekend didn’t help Niagara’s overall efficiency for the season. Entering the weekend having killed 68 of 85, Niagara now ranks tied for 56th nationally on the penalty kill with Mercyhurst.

237 COMMENTS

  1. 27th hardest schedule…..average pairwise ranking of teams played of 41.5…..along with playing 80 percent of games at home……please stop bragging about Penn State. You are getting more pathetic every single week.

      • Anyone can set up a powder puff schedule, play a substantial majority at home, and win. 4 of their 8 opponents are in the bottom 10 of pairwise. Until the big joke becomes an all around good conference, or they start scheduling quality non-conference opponents, then maybe they can be a “real deal.”
        I’ll give credit to Goof U this year for actually having a tough non-conference schedule.

        • the gophers does have a tough non-conference schedule expect for the game against the fighting hawks. the haws cant even beat the worst team in the big ten. You sure seem to be envy or jealous of the gophers. You cant stop bringing them up in your post. You always seem to be trying to compare your fighting hawks to them.

          • You should actual read any comment above and point out where UND was mentioned at all. I don’t see any comparison. And if you could comprehend what you possibly read, you would have seen I was giving props to the goofs for having a good non-conference schedule…unlike Penn that has yet to play anything of caliber.

          • Calling yourself “golden chokers” means you are going to get crap about North Dakota weather you mention them or not. Only a North Dakota fan would call themselves that since they are the only fanbase around who is more concerned about a rival team than their own.

          • On second thought this name can’t be factual, the Fighting Sioux Hawks are favored to win every game played even when they are not playing so if they are favored to win, the Goofers (did you see what I did there) can’t be favored to win a game and therefore can’t choke…Wow…what a mind blower.

          • Dont worry….I’m more concerned about my team than yours, but it is quite fun to watch you get your panties in a bundle over there.

  2. 27th hardest schedule….along with playing 80 percent of games at home……please stop bragging about Penn State. You are getting more pathetic every single week.

      • Anyone can set up a powder puff schedule, play a substantial majority at home, and win. They’ve played 4 of their 8 opponents are in the bottom 10 of pairwise. Until the big joke becomes an all around good conference, or they start scheduling quality non-conference opponents, then maybe they can be a “real deal.”
        I’ll give credit to Goof U this year for actually having a tough non-conference schedule.

        • the gophers does have a tough non-conference schedule expect for the game against the fighting hawks. the haws cant even beat the worst team in the big ten. You sure seem to be envy or jealous of the gophers. You cant stop bringing them up in your post. You always seem to be trying to compare your fighting hawks to them.

          • You should actual read any comment above and point out where UND was mentioned at all. I don’t see any comparison. And if you could comprehend what you possibly read, you would have seen I was giving props to the goofs for having a good non-conference schedule…unlike Penn that has yet to play anything of caliber.

          • Calling yourself “golden chokers” means you are going to get crap about North Dakota weather you mention them or not. Only a North Dakota fan would call themselves that since they are the only fanbase around who is more concerned about a rival team than their own.

          • On second thought this name can’t be factual, the Fighting Sioux Hawks are favored to win every game played even when they are not playing so if they are favored to win, the Goofers (did you see what I did there) can’t be favored to win a game and therefore can’t choke…Wow…what a mind blower.

          • Dont worry….I’m more concerned about my team than yours, but it is quite fun to watch you get your panties in a bundle over there.

  3. 27th hardest schedule….along with playing 80 percent of games at home……please stop bragging about Penn State. You are getting more pathetic every single week.

      • Anyone can set up a powder puff schedule, play a substantial majority at home, and win. They’ve played 4 of their 8 opponents are in the bottom 10 of pairwise. Until the big joke becomes an all around good conference, or they start scheduling quality non-conference opponents, then maybe they can be a “real deal.”
        I’ll give credit to Goof U this year for actually having a tough non-conference schedule.

        • the gophers does have a tough non-conference schedule expect for the game against the fighting hawks. the haws cant even beat the worst team in the big ten. You sure seem to be envy or jealous of the gophers. You cant stop bringing them up in your post. You always seem to be trying to compare your fighting hawks to them.

          • You should actual read any comment above and point out where UND was mentioned at all. I don’t see any comparison. And if you could comprehend what you possibly read, you would have seen I was giving props to the goofs for having a good non-conference schedule…unlike Penn that has yet to play anything of caliber.

          • Calling yourself “golden chokers” means you are going to get crap about North Dakota weather you mention them or not. Only a North Dakota fan would call themselves that since they are the only fanbase around who is more concerned about a rival team than their own.

          • On second thought this name can’t be factual, the Fighting Sioux Hawks are favored to win every game played even when they are not playing so if they are favored to win, the Goofers (did you see what I did there) can’t be favored to win a game and therefore can’t choke…Wow…what a mind blower.

          • Dont worry….I’m more concerned about my team than yours, but it is quite fun to watch you get your panties in a bundle over there.

  4. “Penn State only wins at home, wait until they play away!”
    -=Penn State ties then beats #3 Notre Dame at Notre Dame=-
    “Penn State didn’t play anyone. Wait until they play B1G teams!”
    -=Penn State demolishes Michigan=-
    “Penn State hasn’t played anyone! Wait until they…”

      • Here are Penn State’s wins.
        1-1 vs #17 St Lawrence at home
        1-0 at #53 Mercyhurst
        1-0-1 at #17 Notre Dame
        2-0 vs #41 Canisius at home
        2-0 vs #59 Niagara at home
        2-0 vs #60 Anchorage at home
        2-0 vs #54 Arizona St at home
        2-0 vs #31 Michigan at home

        Outside of Notre Dame and St Lawrence, this schedule is definitely choked full of cream puffs. Its fine if you beat them, but if you lose to one of them, their pairwise ranking plummets.

        • Speaking of creampuffs…
          Here are North Dakota’s non-conference wins:
          6-0, 4-1 vs #41 Canisius at home
          5-2 vs #57 Rensselaer at home
          3-2, 5-4 vs #20 Bemidji St at home
          4-3 vs #7 Boston College at a neutral site

          Here are North Dakota’s non-conference losses/ties:
          5-5, 0-2 at #12 Minnesota
          3-4, 2-2 vs #34 Michigan State at home

          Here are North Dakota’s remaining non-conference game – a single game at #14 Union. (correction – I had #15 to start with, since that was the ranking on their schedule instead of the current PWR that I used for everything else)

          And, for good measure, here is Penn State’s only non-conference loss/tie: 3-6 to #17 St. Lawrence at home.

          Which would you think would hurt a PWR worse, a home loss to St. Lawrence, or a home loss *and* tie to Michigan State?

          Remember, currently the NCHC is only 2 games over .500 against the B1G, with the B1G holding a slight edge in OOC overall (see elaboration elsewhere in this thread.

          The B1G is closer to the NCHC than you think, but we’ll see come March, won’t we?

          • Nowhere did I mention North Dakota’s schedule, so why would you even bring that up? This conversation was never about a comparison between Penn State and North Dakota. Just for good measure though, North Dakota has also played #1 Duluth, #3 Denver, and #13 St Cloud this season already in conference play.

          • Well, you *were* talking about “creampuff schedules”, weren’t you. Just an example of an established (and *very* popular on this board) NCHC team’s *non-conference” record, since that’s really the only way you can compare leagues. I claim that, for the purposes of comparing leagues, that in-conference games really don’t matter. After all, any individual league’s overall record against itself will *always* be .500, right? In retrospect, I probably should’ve directed this at Chokers, and your points are not wrong, but I wanted to compare/contrast schedules for the benefit of those who think that a Penn State is the only program out there that schedules “creampuffs”.

          • Ouch, good point though totally, factually wrong. North Dakota has the 3rd toughest SOS. Not my opinion, look at RPI and you will see the top four teams in SOS have one thing in common. They are all in NCHC.

          • The facts I presented are correct, based on North Dakota’s schedule on this very site. The rankings I used were the current PWR rankings, again on this site (which I believe were the same rankings as gimruis used). The PWR uses RPI/SOS, does it not? Further, I presume that PWR/RPI/SOS will all continue to change as the season progresses and teams continue to win/lose games. I submit to you that, since inter-league play is currently almost over until playoff time that the relative league strengths have been pretty much settled, as shown by the inter-conference records, again on this site. Those numbers show the B1G having a slight edge on the NCHC overall, and both are clearly ahead of the remaining leagues, but that the NCHC does have a slight edge over the B1G head-to-head. Much of that lead can be attributed to DU, by the way (3-1 out of an overall 6-4-4), with a much more difficult overall OOC schedule. Those wins will stand DU in much better stead at the end of the season that will North Dakota’s.
            PS – I don’t see a listing of SOS on this sites PWR page, but for right now I *do* see RPI, and the current top 4 are: UMD, Penn State, Denver, Harvard. UND, WMU, and St. Cloud are in the top 16. All earned, based on their overall OOC schedule. Penn State, Ohio State and Minnesota are also in the top 16. 3 out of 6 teams versus 5 out of 8 is pretty close, and together they make up fully half of the top 16. All I’m saying to y’all is that, this year, you underestimate the B1G at your peril. Enjoy the rest of your day.
            Correction: I found the SOS rankings and you are correct – the NCHC currently has the top 4 SOS. That’ll change as the season progresses and conference play starts to even things out.

          • Glad you found the SOS. For everyone who wonders where SOS can be found, go to RPI rankings and it’s listed to the right. One little disagreement on the SOS changing a lot, it won’t change that much for NCHC teams. This weekend is a perfect example, win or lose UMD and DU will not change their SOS rankings at all. Also, both WMU and CC are #9 and #11 SOS making 6 NCHC teams where playing them will not really decrease SOS rankings. By comparison, B1G has Gophers at #7, Spartans at #18, and the rest at #25-#29. The only way the B1G teams will improve their SOS is to play Minnesota, the rest will not help.

          • You speak as if you’re on the team? How are you 7th in pairwise? Are you on the team as North Dakota’s practice goalie?
            Are you still upset the Hawks went winless at mariucci…..again??

            Funny how you stop using the hilarious term “clump 6” you brainstormed up in a moment of brilliance when your club fell to 0-2-2 vs that conference.

          • I am their biggest fan — I have the footied pajamas to prove it. Don’t you ever speak bad about the Fighting Sioux Hawks and Coach Dingle Berry.

          • Calling yourself the biggest fan?? Footie pajamas? Maybe you will grow out of this phase in 7 years when you turn 16 and are able for ongt a drivers liscense.

          • Aaaaaand you’ve fell for a fake name again….slow clap. Didnt you fall for it a few times earlier this year? Learn to read.

          • UND at 0-2-2 vs the big ten is a fact, UND not winning in mariucci in almost ten years now is also a fact, can you comprehend that?

          • I see you are more concerned about winning at Marihoochi than winning a championship. I’ll gladly lose all games in the Hoochi and take titles. But hey, nice job on hanging another tough clump 6 banner.

    • Careful what you brag about. Notre Dame was #3 only in this crap, meaningless USCHO poll. They were 23rd in the PWR, not nearly eligible for the postseason and the real indicator, when Penn State beat them. Your team now gets into the real easy part of their creampuff schedule playing only, except for Princeton, Soft Six Conference teams.

        • Yes, first game of year after 3 allowed practices. Sure would like to play them now, or even better Penn State. I give Ohio State and Wisconsin a lot of credit for scheduling some teams that are normally ranked high in the PWR. Especially, playing them away and at altitude.

          • I don’t know. Since Air Force beat Ohio State in a shootout for the title, I guess they are better than Ohio State. At least, according to your logic. Point being, teams should improve as season goes on.

          • Can’t Ohio state improve as well? DU will have to be improved or they will get run out of their own building in front of their tens of fans this weekend.

          • Ohio State has improved, check their results. DU averages about 5000 fans in a 6000 seat arena. You sound like a real hockey fan, probably watching too much B1G hockey. One thing that you are correct is that DU will get run out of their building if they don’t play well. That is the cost of playing in a conference that has the top four teams in SOS. Just for your information, everyone else knows, that means Strength of Schedule. Stop drinking Paula’s Kool-Aid.

          • Something tells me Bones is Paula……same stupid logic. What’s next s/he going to try and drum up more support for the worthless uscho poll?

          • I know DU averages 5000, I’ve been to 10-15 games there, the problem is only only about 1100 of those 5000 care, everyone else sits with hands under arse. Most silent 5000 people in a college hockey crowd I’ve ever been too, more than once.
            I quit reading your post after that so I have no response to the rest of it.

          • Glad to hear 10-15 games makes you an expert, Paula. Since you are also a mind reader you must be great at parties. The way you post, I doubt you have ever been to a single college hockey game. Reading comprehension is obviously your strength, since you can’t concentrate enough to read a complete post.

          • Who is Paula? I honestly don’t read the articles on here, they are garbage, when did I claim to be an expert on DU? I said their fanbase is the most silent and quiet arena I’ve ever been in, I’ve been to 8 gopher games in that building, 2 vs the Sioux Hawks, and two vs UMD, all big games with a mostly full magness and it was as loud as a library.

          • If he was really smart he’d just post the same stuff over and over like I do….Mom wrote it for me once and then told me to change name….she even gave cool ideas to slam the other team like say “Goofer” instead of “Gopher”…see isn’t that a burn….pretty kewl, huh?

          • Apparently you haven’t been in the building when UND was playing there…..was never quiet with half the building being Sioux fans.

          • Basically what I’m saying is that Denver fans can’t even fill the building when North Dakota plays there and you know North Dakotans will take any reason to leave the flatlands for any place, like any other place, anywhere…like someplace that isn’t North Dakota.

      • Let me stick my nose in here long enough to remind y’all that as of this moment, the big, bad NCHC is a whopping 2 games over .500 against B1G teams (6-4-4). And, the B1G currently has a better overall OOC record (42-23-10 for a .627 winning percentage vs. 33-19-11 for .611). Both NCHC and B1G are cleaning up big-time on the WCHA and Atlantic Hockey, but the NCHC is only .500 against HE, and a game *under* . 500 against the ECAC. Very few inter-conference games left outside the holiday tournaments to change those numbers around. Based on what I can see from here, the NCHC’s playing a very close second fiddle to the B1G. I may change my tune after the GLI tournament in Detroit (a resurgent Michigan Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, and Western Michigan – from what I’ve seen, any of them can win). Going to be interesting to see what happens come March.

        • 2nd fiddle to the joke? So having a decent year in non-conference (albeit, from a majority playing easy non-conference schedules) makes them all around better than the NCHC? Keep hittin’ that pipe….

        • B1G Inter-conference record bolstered mainly by the 10 games versus powerhouse AHA and 3 against Independent (Arizona State). You did, however, highlight “the game *under* . 500 against the ECAC”, using the huge sample size of 3 games played. I do like the way you minimize the “whopping 2 games over .500 against B1G teams”. I am sure if B1G was even at .500 versus NCHC you would have used it as a valid comparison. Your fantastic GLI tourney has teams ranked #11, #23, #31, and #34. Not what I would consider a powerful tournament, but what do I know.

  5. “Penn State only wins at home, wait until they play away!”
    -=Penn State ties then beats #3 Notre Dame at Notre Dame=-
    “Penn State didn’t play anyone. Wait until they play B1G teams!”
    -=Penn State demolishes Michigan=-
    “Penn State hasn’t played anyone! Wait until they…”

      • Here are Penn State’s wins.
        1-1 vs #17 St Lawrence at home
        1-0 at #53 Mercyhurst
        1-0-1 at #17 Notre Dame
        2-0 vs #41 Canisius at home
        2-0 vs #59 Niagara at home
        2-0 vs #60 Anchorage at home
        2-0 vs #54 Arizona St at home
        2-0 vs #31 Michigan at home

        Outside of Notre Dame and St Lawrence, this schedule is definitely choked full of cream puffs. Its fine if you beat them, but if you lose to one of them, their pairwise ranking plummets.

        • Speaking of creampuffs…
          Here are North Dakota’s non-conference wins:
          6-0, 4-1 vs #41 Canisius at home
          5-2 vs #57 Rensselaer at home
          3-2, 5-4 vs #20 Bemidji St at home
          4-3 vs #7 Boston College at a neutral site

          Here are North Dakota’s non-conference losses/ties:
          5-5, 0-2 at #12 Minnesota
          3-4, 2-2 vs #34 Michigan State at home

          Here are North Dakota’s remaining non-conference game – a single game at #15 Union.

          And, for good measure, here is Penn State’s only non-conference loss/tie: 3-6 to #17 St. Lawrence at home.

          Which would you think would hurt a PWR worse, a home loss to St. Lawrence, or a home loss *and* tie to Michigan State?

          Remember, currently the NCHC is only 2 games over .500 against the B1G, with the B1G holding a slight edge in OOC overall (see elaboration elsewhere in this thread.

          The B1G is closer to the NCHC than you think, but we’ll see come March, won’t we?

          • Nowhere did I mention North Dakota’s schedule, so why would you even bring that up? This conversation was never about a comparison between Penn State and North Dakota. Just for good measure though, North Dakota has also played #1 Duluth, #3 Denver, and #13 St Cloud this season already in conference play.

          • Well, you *were* talking about “creampuff schedules”, weren’t you. Just an example of an established (and *very* popular on this board) NCHC team’s *non-conference” record, since that’s really the only way you can compare leagues. I claim that, for the purposes of comparing leagues, that in-conference games really don’t matter. After all, any individual league’s overall record against itself will *always* be .500, right? In retrospect, I probably should’ve directed this at Chokers, and your points are not wrong, but I wanted to compare/contrast schedules for the benefit of those who think that a Penn State is the only program out there that schedules “creampuffs”.

          • Ouch, good point though totally, factually wrong. North Dakota has the 3rd toughest SOS. Not my opinion, look at RPI and you will see the top four teams in SOS have one thing in common. They are all in NCHC.

          • The facts I presented are correct, based on North Dakota’s schedule on this very site. The rankings I used were the current PWR rankings, again on this site (which I believe were the same rankings as gimruis used). The PWR uses RPI/SOS, does it not? Further, I presume that PWR/RPI/SOS will all continue to change as the season progresses and teams continue to win/lose games. I submit to you that, since inter-league play is currently almost over until playoff time that the relative league strengths have been pretty much settled, as shown by the inter-conference records, again on this site. Those numbers show the B1G having a slight edge on the NCHC overall, and both are clearly ahead of the remaining leagues, but that the NCHC does have a slight edge over the B1G head-to-head. Much of that lead can be attributed to DU, by the way (3-1 out of an overall 6-4-4), with a much more difficult overall OOC schedule. Those wins will stand DU in much better stead at the end of the season that will North Dakota’s.
            PS – I don’t see a listing of SOS on this sites PWR page, but for right now I *do* see RPI, and the current top 4 are: UMD, Penn State, Denver, Harvard. UND, WMU, and St. Cloud are in the top 16. All earned, based on their overall OOC schedule. Penn State, Ohio State and Minnesota are also in the top 16. 3 out of 6 teams versus 5 out of 8 is pretty close, and together they make up fully half of the top 16. All I’m saying to y’all is that, this year, you underestimate the B1G at your peril. Enjoy the rest of your day.

          • Glad you found the SOS. For everyone who wonders where SOS can be found, go to RPI rankings and it’s listed to the right. One little disagreement on the SOS changing a lot, it won’t change that much for NCHC teams. This weekend is a perfect example, win or lose UMD and DU will not change their SOS rankings at all. Also, both WMU and CC are #9 and #11 SOS making 6 NCHC teams where playing them will not really decrease SOS rankings. By comparison, B1G has Gophers at #7, Spartans at #18, and the rest at #25-#29. The only way the B1G teams will improve their SOS is to play Minnesota, the rest will not help.

          • You speak as if you’re on the team? How are you 7th in pairwise? Are you on the team as North Dakota’s practice goalie?
            Are you still upset the Hawks went winless at mariucci…..again??

            Funny how you stop using the hilarious term “clump 6” you brainstormed up in a moment of brilliance when your club fell to 0-2-2 vs that conference.

          • I am their biggest fan — I have the footied pajamas to prove it. Don’t you ever speak bad about the Fighting Sioux Hawks and Coach Dingle Berry.

          • Calling yourself the biggest fan?? Footie pajamas? Maybe you will grow out of this phase in 7 years when you turn 16 and are able for ongt a drivers liscense.

          • Aaaaaand you’ve fell for a fake name again….slow clap. Didnt you fall for it a few times earlier this year? Learn to read.

          • UND at 0-2-2 vs the big ten is a fact, UND not winning in mariucci in almost ten years now is also a fact, can you comprehend that?

          • I see you are more concerned about winning at Marihoochi than winning a championship. I’ll gladly lose all games in the Hoochi and take titles. But hey, nice job on hanging another tough clump 6 banner.

    • Careful what you brag about. Notre Dame was #3 only in this crap, meaningless USCHO poll. They were 23rd in the PWR, not nearly eligible for the postseason and the real indicator, when Penn State beat them. Your team now gets into the real easy part of their creampuff schedule playing only, except for Princeton, Soft Six Conference teams.

        • Yes, first game of year after 3 allowed practices. Sure would like to play them now, or even better Penn State. I give Ohio State and Wisconsin a lot of credit for scheduling some teams that are normally ranked high in the PWR.

          • I don’t know. Since Air Force beat Ohio State in a shootout for the title, I guess they are better than Ohio State. At least, according to your logic. Point being, teams should improve as season goes on.

          • Can’t Ohio state improve as well? DU will have to be improved or they will get run out of their own building in front of their tens of fans this weekend.

          • Ohio State has improved. DU averages about 5000 fans in a 6000 seat arena. You sound like a real hockey fan, probably watching too much B1G hockey. One thing that you are correct is that DU will get run out of their building if they don’t play well. That is the cost of playing in a conference that has the top four teams in SOS. Just for your information, everyone else knows, that means Strength of Schedule. Stop drinking Paula’s Kool-Aid.

          • Something tells me Bones is Paula……same stupid logic. What’s next s/he going to try and drum up more support for the worthless uscho poll?

          • I know DU averages 5000, I’ve been to 10-15 games there, the problem is only only about 1100 of those 5000 care, everyone else sits with hands under arse. Most silent 5000 people in a college hockey crowd I’ve ever been too, more than once.
            I quit reading your post after that so I have no response to the rest of it.

          • Glad to hear 10-15 games makes you an expert, Paula. Since you are also a mind reader you must be great at parties. The way you post, I doubt you have ever been to a single college hockey game. Reading comprehension is obviously your strength, since you can’t concentrate enough to read a complete post.

          • Who is Paula? I honestly don’t read the articles on here, they are garbage, when did I claim to be an expert on DU? I said their fanbase is the most silent and quiet arena I’ve ever been in, I’ve been to 8 gopher games in that building, 2 vs the Sioux Hawks, and two vs UMD, all big games with a mostly full magness and it was as loud as a library.

          • If he was really smart he’d just post the same stuff over and over like I do….Mom wrote it for me once and then told me to change name….she even gave cool ideas to slam the other team like say “Goofer” instead of “Gopher”…see isn’t that a burn….pretty kewl, huh?

          • Apparently you haven’t been in the building when UND was playing there…..was never quiet with half the building being Sioux fans.

          • Basically what I’m saying is that Denver fans can’t even fill the building when North Dakota plays there and you know North Dakotans will take any reason to leave the flatlands for any place, like any other place, anywhere…like someplace that isn’t North Dakota.

      • Let me stick my nose in here long enough to remind y’all that as of this moment, the big, bad NCHC is a whopping 2 games over .500 against B1G teams (6-4-4). And, the B1G currently has a better overall OOC record (42-23-10 for a .627 winning percentage vs. 33-19-11 for .611). Both NCHC and B1G are cleaning up big-time on the WCHA and Atlantic Hockey, but the NCHC is only .500 against HE, and a game *under* . 500 against the ECAC. Very few inter-conference games left outside the holiday tournaments to change those numbers around. Based on what I can see from here, the NCHC’s playing a very close second fiddle to the B1G. I may change my tune after the GLI tournament in Detroit (a resurgent Michigan Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, and Western Michigan – from what I’ve seen, any of them can win). Going to be interesting to see what happens come March.

        • 2nd fiddle to the joke? So having a decent year in non-conference (albeit, from a majority playing easy non-conference schedules) makes them all around better than the NCHC? Keep hittin’ that pipe….

        • B1G Inter-conference record bolstered mainly by the 10 games versus powerhouse AHA and 3 against Independent (Arizona State). I like the way you minimize the “whopping 2 games over .500 against B1G teams”. I am sure if B1G was even at .500 versus NCHC you would have used it as a valid comparison. Your fantastic GLI tourney has teams ranked #11, #23, #31, and #34. Not what I would consider a powerful tournament, but what do I know.

  6. “Penn State only wins at home, wait until they play away!”
    -=Penn State ties then beats #3 Notre Dame at Notre Dame=-
    “Penn State didn’t play anyone. Wait until they play B1G teams!”
    -=Penn State demolishes Michigan=-
    “Penn State hasn’t played anyone! Wait until they…”

      • Here are Penn State’s wins.
        1-1 vs #17 St Lawrence at home
        1-0 at #53 Mercyhurst
        1-0-1 at #17 Notre Dame
        2-0 vs #41 Canisius at home
        2-0 vs #59 Niagara at home
        2-0 vs #60 Anchorage at home
        2-0 vs #54 Arizona St at home
        2-0 vs #31 Michigan at home

        Outside of Notre Dame and St Lawrence, this schedule is definitely choked full of cream puffs. Its fine if you beat them, but if you lose to one of them, their pairwise ranking plummets.

        • Speaking of creampuffs…
          Here are North Dakota’s non-conference wins:
          6-0, 4-1 vs #41 Canisius at home
          5-2 vs #57 Rensselaer at home
          3-2, 5-4 vs #20 Bemidji St at home
          4-3 vs #7 Boston College at a neutral site

          Here are North Dakota’s non-conference losses/ties:
          5-5, 0-2 at #12 Minnesota
          3-4, 2-2 vs #34 Michigan State at home

          Here are North Dakota’s remaining non-conference game – a single game at #15 Union.

          And, for good measure, here is Penn State’s only non-conference loss/tie: 3-6 to #17 St. Lawrence at home.

          Which would you think would hurt a PWR worse, a home loss to St. Lawrence, or a home loss *and* tie to Michigan State?

          Remember, currently the NCHC is only 2 games over .500 against the B1G, with the B1G holding a slight edge in OOC overall (see elaboration elsewhere in this thread.

          The B1G is closer to the NCHC than you think, but we’ll see come March, won’t we?

          • Nowhere did I mention North Dakota’s schedule, so why would you even bring that up? This conversation was never about a comparison between Penn State and North Dakota. Just for good measure though, North Dakota has also played #1 Duluth, #3 Denver, and #13 St Cloud this season already in conference play.

          • Well, you *were* talking about “creampuff schedules”, weren’t you. Just an example of an established (and *very* popular on this board) NCHC team’s *non-conference” record, since that’s really the only way you can compare leagues. I claim that, for the purposes of comparing leagues, that in-conference games really don’t matter. After all, any individual league’s overall record against itself will *always* be .500, right? In retrospect, I probably should’ve directed this at Chokers, and your points are not wrong, but I wanted to compare/contrast schedules for the benefit of those who think that a Penn State is the only program out there that schedules “creampuffs”.

          • Ouch, good point though totally, factually wrong. North Dakota has the 3rd toughest SOS. Not my opinion, look at RPI and you will see the top four teams in SOS have one thing in common. They are all in NCHC.

          • The facts I presented are correct, based on North Dakota’s schedule on this very site. The rankings I used were the current PWR rankings, again on this site (which I believe were the same rankings as gimruis used). The PWR uses RPI/SOS, does it not? Further, I presume that PWR/RPI/SOS will all continue to change as the season progresses and teams continue to win/lose games. I submit to you that, since inter-league play is currently almost over until playoff time that the relative league strengths have been pretty much settled, as shown by the inter-conference records, again on this site. Those numbers show the B1G having a slight edge on the NCHC overall, and both are clearly ahead of the remaining leagues, but that the NCHC does have a slight edge over the B1G head-to-head. Much of that lead can be attributed to DU, by the way (3-1 out of an overall 6-4-4), with a much more difficult overall OOC schedule. Those wins will stand DU in much better stead at the end of the season that will North Dakota’s.
            PS – I don’t see a listing of SOS on this sites PWR page, but for right now I *do* see RPI, and the current top 4 are: UMD, Penn State, Denver, Harvard. UND, WMU, and St. Cloud are in the top 16. All earned, based on their overall OOC schedule. Penn State, Ohio State and Minnesota are also in the top 16. 3 out of 6 teams versus 5 out of 8 is pretty close, and together they make up fully half of the top 16. All I’m saying to y’all is that, this year, you underestimate the B1G at your peril. Enjoy the rest of your day.

          • Glad you found the SOS. For everyone who wonders where SOS can be found, go to RPI rankings and it’s listed to the right. One little disagreement on the SOS changing a lot, it won’t change that much for NCHC teams. This weekend is a perfect example, win or lose UMD and DU will not change their SOS rankings at all. Also, both WMU and CC are #9 and #11 SOS making 6 NCHC teams where playing them will not really decrease SOS rankings. By comparison, B1G has Gophers at #7, Spartans at #18, and the rest at #25-#29. The only way the B1G teams will improve their SOS is to play Minnesota, the rest will not help.

          • You speak as if you’re on the team? How are you 7th in pairwise? Are you on the team as North Dakota’s practice goalie?
            Are you still upset the Hawks went winless at mariucci…..again??

            Funny how you stop using the hilarious term “clump 6” you brainstormed up in a moment of brilliance when your club fell to 0-2-2 vs that conference.

          • I am their biggest fan — I have the footied pajamas to prove it. Don’t you ever speak bad about the Fighting Sioux Hawks and Coach Dingle Berry.

          • Calling yourself the biggest fan?? Footie pajamas? Maybe you will grow out of this phase in 7 years when you turn 16 and are able for ongt a drivers liscense.

          • Aaaaaand you’ve fell for a fake name again….slow clap. Didnt you fall for it a few times earlier this year? Learn to read.

          • UND at 0-2-2 vs the big ten is a fact, UND not winning in mariucci in almost ten years now is also a fact, can you comprehend that?

          • I see you are more concerned about winning at Marihoochi than winning a championship. I’ll gladly lose all games in the Hoochi and take titles. But hey, nice job on hanging another tough clump 6 banner.

    • Careful what you brag about. Notre Dame was #3 only in this crap, meaningless USCHO poll. They were 23rd in the PWR, not nearly eligible for the postseason and the real indicator, when Penn State beat them. Your team now gets into the real easy part of their creampuff schedule playing only, except for Princeton, Soft Six Conference teams.

        • Yes, first game of year after 3 allowed practices. Sure would like to play them now, or even better Penn State. I give Ohio State and Wisconsin a lot of credit for scheduling some teams that are normally ranked high in the PWR.

          • I don’t know. Since Air Force beat Ohio State in a shootout for the title, I guess they are better than Ohio State. At least, according to your logic. Point being, teams should improve as season goes on.

          • Can’t Ohio state improve as well? DU will have to be improved or they will get run out of their own building in front of their tens of fans this weekend.

          • Ohio State has improved. DU averages about 5000 fans in a 6000 seat arena. You sound like a real hockey fan, probably watching too much B1G hockey. One thing that you are correct is that DU will get run out of their building if they don’t play well. That is the cost of playing in a conference that has the top four teams in SOS. Just for your information, everyone else knows, that means Strength of Schedule. Stop drinking Paula’s Kool-Aid.

          • Something tells me Bones is Paula……same stupid logic. What’s next s/he going to try and drum up more support for the worthless uscho poll?

          • I know DU averages 5000, I’ve been to 10-15 games there, the problem is only only about 1100 of those 5000 care, everyone else sits with hands under arse. Most silent 5000 people in a college hockey crowd I’ve ever been too, more than once.
            I quit reading your post after that so I have no response to the rest of it.

          • Glad to hear 10-15 games makes you an expert, Paula. Since you are also a mind reader you must be great at parties. The way you post, I doubt you have ever been to a single college hockey game. Reading comprehension is obviously your strength, since you can’t concentrate enough to read a complete post.

          • Who is Paula? I honestly don’t read the articles on here, they are garbage, when did I claim to be an expert on DU? I said their fanbase is the most silent and quiet arena I’ve ever been in, I’ve been to 8 gopher games in that building, 2 vs the Sioux Hawks, and two vs UMD, all big games with a mostly full magness and it was as loud as a library.

          • If he was really smart he’d just post the same stuff over and over like I do….Mom wrote it for me once and then told me to change name….she even gave cool ideas to slam the other team like say “Goofer” instead of “Gopher”…see isn’t that a burn….pretty kewl, huh?

          • Apparently you haven’t been in the building when UND was playing there…..was never quiet with half the building being Sioux fans.

          • Basically what I’m saying is that Denver fans can’t even fill the building when North Dakota plays there and you know North Dakotans will take any reason to leave the flatlands for any place, like any other place, anywhere…like someplace that isn’t North Dakota.

      • Let me stick my nose in here long enough to remind y’all that as of this moment, the big, bad NCHC is a whopping 2 games over .500 against B1G teams (6-4-4). And, the B1G currently has a better overall OOC record (42-23-10 for a .627 winning percentage vs. 33-19-11 for .611). Both NCHC and B1G are cleaning up big-time on the WCHA and Atlantic Hockey, but the NCHC is only .500 against HE, and a game *under* . 500 against the ECAC. Very few inter-conference games left outside the holiday tournaments to change those numbers around. Based on what I can see from here, the NCHC’s playing a very close second fiddle to the B1G. I may change my tune after the GLI tournament in Detroit (a resurgent Michigan Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, and Western Michigan – from what I’ve seen, any of them can win). Going to be interesting to see what happens come March.

        • 2nd fiddle to the joke? So having a decent year in non-conference (albeit, from a majority playing easy non-conference schedules) makes them all around better than the NCHC? Keep hittin’ that pipe….

        • B1G Inter-conference record bolstered mainly by the 10 games versus powerhouse AHA and 3 against Independent (Arizona State). I like the way you minimize the “whopping 2 games over .500 against B1G teams”. I am sure if B1G was even at .500 versus NCHC you would have used it as a valid comparison. Your fantastic GLI tourney has teams ranked #11, #23, #31, and #34. Not what I would consider a powerful tournament, but what do I know.

  7. St. Lawrence wasn’t swept like the opening paragraph states, a Friday loss to Harvard and a Saturday win over Dartmouth.

  8. St. Lawrence wasn’t swept like the opening paragraph states, a Friday loss to Harvard and a Saturday win over Dartmouth.

  9. St. Lawrence wasn’t swept like the opening paragraph states, a Friday loss to Harvard and a Saturday win over Dartmouth.

  10. This must’ve been a tough column to write for Mr. Connelly. The game you referenced as being played on October 21 was *not* a MTU 4-1 loss to Michigan State – it was, in fact a MTU 4-3 loss at Michigan. MTU split at Michigan State two weeks later. It doesn’t change the point Jim was trying to make, these are shots to the ol’ credibility here…

  11. This must’ve been a tough column to write for Mr. Connelly. The game you referenced as being played on October 21 was *not* a MTU 4-1 loss to Michigan State – it was, in fact a MTU 4-3 loss at Michigan. MTU split at Michigan State two weeks later. It doesn’t change the point Jim was trying to make, these are shots to the ol’ credibility here…

  12. This must’ve been a tough column to write for Mr. Connelly. The game you referenced as being played on October 21 was *not* a MTU 4-1 loss to Michigan State – it was, in fact a MTU 4-3 loss at Michigan. MTU split at Michigan State two weeks later. It doesn’t change the point Jim was trying to make, these are shots to the ol’ credibility here…

  13. Since this is supposed to be somewhat of a weekly recap of D1 college hockey, with an overview of how it could affect the overall season, I am so glad that the writers took a few seconds out of their day to even mention two powerhouse schools loaded with history (both on their own and against each other) playing an exciting, close game in what many call the worlds biggest stage. That sort of thing is a really good tool to help grow college hockey and promote it over some of the other options. Oh wait, I guess it wasn’t in there. Nevermind.

    • I’m surprised there wasn’t with a HE school in there…..but we know Paula doesn’t talk about anything other than the crap 6…..and recently drooling over Penn st.

  14. Since this is supposed to be somewhat of a weekly recap of D1 college hockey, with an overview of how it could affect the overall season, I am so glad that the writers took a few seconds out of their day to even mention two powerhouse schools loaded with history (both on their own and against each other) playing an exciting, close game in what many call the worlds biggest stage. That sort of thing is a really good tool to help grow college hockey and promote it over some of the other options. Oh wait, I guess it wasn’t in there. Nevermind.

    • I’m surprised there wasn’t with a HE school in there…..but we know Paula doesn’t talk about anything other than the crap 6…..and recently drooling over Penn st.

  15. Since this is supposed to be somewhat of a weekly recap of D1 college hockey, with an overview of how it could affect the overall season, I am so glad that the writers took a few seconds out of their day to even mention two powerhouse schools loaded with history (both on their own and against each other) playing an exciting, close game in what many call the worlds biggest stage. That sort of thing is a really good tool to help grow college hockey and promote it over some of the other options. Oh wait, I guess it wasn’t in there. Nevermind.

    • I’m surprised there wasn’t with a HE school in there…..but we know Paula doesn’t talk about anything other than the crap 6…..and recently drooling over Penn st.

  16. Are these guys actually getting paid to write this column or is this some type of 5th grade writing assignment where they assign you a noun (in this case Penn State) and you need to incorporate it into a 2 page story? Penn State is a joke. The Big 10 is way soft. Complementing Penn State on winning games with the 27th SOS? I would have been surprised if they didn’t win this tilted schedule.

  17. Are these guys actually getting paid to write this column or is this some type of 5th grade writing assignment where they assign you a noun (in this case Penn State) and you need to incorporate it into a 2 page story? Penn State is a joke. The Big 10 is way soft. Complementing Penn State on winning games with the 27th SOS? I would have been surprised if they didn’t win this tilted schedule.

  18. Are these guys actually getting paid to write this column or is this some type of 5th grade writing assignment where they assign you a noun (in this case Penn State) and you need to incorporate it into a 2 page story? Penn State is a joke. The Big 10 is way soft. Complementing Penn State on winning games with the 27th SOS? I would have been surprised if they didn’t win this tilted schedule.

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