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.
A down year for the WCHA and an up year for the ECAC gave the latter a whopping four teams above third and fourth place for the former. Most of the experts had it right all along with Bemidji State getting swept by Minnesota-Duluth in their conference tournament while Princeton lost an overtime game three to a good St. Lawrence team absent their best player most of the pivotal game.
Also getting it mostly right, my rankings. The NCAA Tournament field is set, so lets take a look at the teams.
1. Boston College
Boston College’s reward for a perfect 38-0-0 season is to play one of the tougher low seeds in the conference and arguably the team that came closest to beating them in the regular season. The selection committee claims that they ranked Princeton higher for reasons unknown, but the seeding looks suspiciously like an attempt to gift a WCHA team a path to the finals.
There’s a good chance BC makes this all moot and steamrolls everyone, including whichever WCHA team they face if that comes to fruition. Their weakest statistical categories were goaltending and penalty kill at a .942 save percentage and a 91.7% success rate respectively. Both were good for fourth in the nation.
The Badgers were the most defensively stout team in the country with a mere 26 goals allowed this season. Their goaltending and penalty kill were also top-notch at .963 and 94.5%, both number one in the nation.
New head coach Cassandra Turner turned a good program into a great one as the Bobcats enter the tournament with few weaknesses. Their worst figure is their shooting percentage at 9.5%, 11th in the nation. Otherwise Quinnipiac is a defensively stout team that rivals Wisconsin in their ability to minimize the opposition’s chances.
The Bobcats allowed the fewest shots on goal on average with 17.6 allowed per game. Their high-pressure style of play harries opposition forwards and they are adept at pushing teams to the perimiter when they enter the offensive zone.
The Gophers are an offensively explosive team that matches up against a solid Princeton defense. They’re still figuring out how to utilize all their offensive talent with Sarah Potomak going point-less in the WCHA tournament.
The Gophers are solid in all phases of the ice, but if they win a National Championship it will be on the back of their offense.
The Golden Knights just can’t seem to beat the Quinnipiac Bobcats. They’re 0-5-1 versus their ECAC rivals over the past two seasons and they’ll be meeting them again in the NCAA tournament. Statistically the Golden Knights seem like the better team, they just can’t seem to get timely shooting or timely goaltending. Only Boston College was better at piling up shots against high-possession teams.
The Huskies have their work cut out for them against a deep Boston College team. They’ve got arguably the best player in the nation in Kendall Coyne, and underrated depth, but they’re the clear underdog here.
Northeastern needs to get on the scoreboard early. They can’t afford the early lapses that have plagued them in games this season. If Boston College gets up a goal early, it won’t be long before they’re up two or three.
The good news is that defender Kelsey Koelzer is healthy for the NCAA tournament. The bad news is that they’ve got an uphill battle against Minnesota. The Tigers will need to find some offense, something that was in short supply against ranked opponents. They scored just 10 goals against five ranked teams this year.
The Lakers salvaged a rough 2-5-1 start and ended the season on a seven game unbeaten streak en route to yet another CHA title. Mercyhurst has some high end talent with both Emily Janiga and Jenna Dingeldein having been drafted by the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts, but they’re definitely the weakest team in this tournament.