As the NCAA season progresses, I’m going to publish weekly rankings in conjunction with the USCHO poll. These rankings will be entirely statistics based with the explanation as to how those stats are developed here. As I prefer to do when compiling rankings, a team’s final ranking will be determined by a summation of their rankings in various statistical categories:
- Overall winning percentage (pct)
- Goal differential (+/-)
- Percentage of shots taken (S%) – (Editor’s Note – This is essentially the best imitator of Corsi %. I’m told that shot attempts (Shots on goal plus missed shots plus shots taken that get blocked) are recorded but that data is not available anywhere.)
- Percentage of shots taken relative to Opponents’ S% (Rel S%)
- Power play and penalty kill percentage
- S% versus teams with an S% of 50% or more
- Rel S% versus teams with an S% of 50 or more
- Shooting Percentage (Sht%)
- Save Percentage (Sv%)
Also I have taken to making all of my spreadsheets available for download here.
The USCHO poll has remained unchanged and it’s hard to argue with it for the most part other than Bemidji State’s curious lack of movement. With the CHA champion taking an auto-bid and Northeastern and Princeton playing well, the WCHA is in jeopardy of again only putting two teams in the NCAA tournament.
The PairWise Ranking is back and again, this mirrors the selection criteria for the NCAA tournament. As you can see Bemidji State and North Dakota are on the outside looking in thanks to strong play from the Huskies and Tigers. I don’t know about you but when a Husky and a Tiger match up against a Beaver and a Fighting Hawk, I’m taking the dog and cat.
Instead of the top eight, let’s talk about some of the other teams.
9. Princeton (7)
Princeton’s 4-1 loss to Harvard was disappointing. It was a good opportunity to cement themselves as the #3 team in the ECAC and they couldn’t get it done. Still, the Tigers have a pretty sizable lead in the Ivy League Standings and are almost certainly the best team among them.
10. Robert Morris (12)
The Colonials are an interesting team. They’re not quite well-rounded enough to compete for the CHA regular season title, but they’re good enough to go on a hot streak and win their way to their first NCAA tournament birth. They’ve won a CHA tournament championship before (2012), but it came before the CHA had an auto-bid and their 19-9-4 overall record that season wasn’t good enough to win an at-large bid.
13. Syracuse (14)
The Orange pretty much pummeled their CHA opponents everywhere but the scoreboard. They average 33.1 shots for and 17.8 shots against in conference play and no one is even close to that +12.3 figure. (Mercyhurst is second at +4.2.) They have four losses, two to Mercyhurst, one to Robert Morris and one to RIT. The lack of consistency is probably going to keep them from winning the CHA’s regular season crown.
18. Yale (23)
The Bulldogs have vaulted themselves into 6th in the ECAC by winning their last four conference games. They’re now 9-13-1, an improvement from when they started the season 1-6-1. That was largely because the Bulldogs stacked their schedule with ranked teams by going out of conference to play Minnesota and Quinnipiac both twice.
Their four straight conference wins were over RPI, Union, and Brown twice (combined ECAC record 9-46-9) so they’re not going to do too much damage in-conference, but they’ve put themselves in a solid position to make the ECAC playoffs.
19. / 21. New Hampshire (18) / Connecticut (20)
Speaking of tight conference battles, the Wildcats and Huskies are duking it out for 4th place and the final home playoff spot for the opening round of the Hockey East tournament. Connecticut has the jump right now with a three-point advantage, but the two play one another twice more. Outside of that Connecticut has BC, Maine (2x), and Providence (combined Hockey East record: 32-42-3) while New Hampshire has BU and Vermont both twice (36-34-8). Barring some really stunning play out of Providence, Vermont, or Maine, the two will most likely play one another in the first round.
28. St. Cloud State
The Huskies have taken advantage of down years by Minnesota-Duluth and Ohio State to put themselves in fifth in the WCHA. They play UMD twice more and only have a five point lead so it’s entirely possible they’ll shift down a spot by season’s end. The Huskies don’t do anything all that well except shoot the puck (13th) and play on the power play (15th) so that’s probably going to be the reality.
The Warriors are an interesting case. The top eight teams in Hockey East make the tournament and Merrimack is odd team out in ninth place by four points. But their remaining opponents are Providence, Vermont, and Maine all twice. In addition to those being the teams in sixth, seventh, and eighth above them they have a combined Hockey East record of 26-80-8. Don’t count out the Warriors yet.