Instead of doing a Power Rankings post, each week I am going to go over all the rankings. (Note: All the rankings includes the USCHO Poll, SB Nation Poll, PairWise Rankings, my Power Rankings, and my ballot for the SB Nation Poll.)
Some thoughts on each of the ranking mechanisms:
- USCHO Poll – Garbage. Voters are lazy and (I suspect) don’t actually watch the games.
- SB Nation Poll – We generally get it as right as biased humans can.
- PairWise Rankings – Limited, but functional.
- My Power Rankings – My rankings are built on ranking teams across 10 categories and then summing those categorical rankings. Those categories are Winning Percentage, Goal Differential, Shooting Percentage, Save Percentage, Power Play, Penalty Kill (both *.333 as teams spend on average 1/3 of a game on special teams), Percentage of Shots Taken in Games, Percentage of Shots taken Relative to Opponent Quality, and the last two against teams that take more than 50% of shots in a game. This is also limited, but is more well-rounded than the PairWise, which is based solely on wins and losses. If Team A gets outshot 100-1 by Team B, but wins 1-0, I am more apt to reward Team B and think of them as a better team than Team A. My rankings attempt to account for this with the limited data available.
- My Ballot – The best, obviously.
No SBNation poll this week as The Ice Garden waits for all the teams to come off break.
Everyone is bad. Well, everyone below the top four is bad. Boston College and Colgate took care of business and Wisconsin and Clarkson didn’t play, but the rest…oh boy. Ohio State lost to Penn State. No wait, they got ripped by Penn State, 5-1. (They salvaged a split.) Cornell was swept on the weekend. Minnesota and Providence have very unimpressive schedules. Robert Morris split with Syracuse. St. Lawrence was an overtime goal away from going winless against Lindenwood.
The big winner of the week was Minnesota, who by not playing and watching everyone else around them fail, solidified their PairWise position. The gap isn’t that big, but it seems unlikely at the moment that we’ll see the Gophers needing to win the WCHA tournament to make the big dance.
The Black Bears are newcomers to most top-ten lists, though I have had them on my ballot before. Maine has some wins that looked good at the time (Quinnipiac, Robert Morris), but haven’t aged well, and only one really questionable loss to Dartmouth. They tied with Providence, which is probably their most impressive result, and have an eight-game unbeaten streak in which they’re 6-0-2, and have gone 9-1-3 in their last 13 games.
Additionally, their next seven games come against the likes of Merrimack (3), Connecticut (2), and New Hampshire (2), four of them at home. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Maine be something like 19-8-3 before the final four games against Providence and Boston College.
So what is Maine doing aside from playing a fairly soft schedule? They’re getting solid shooting (8.8%, 14th) and goaltending (.923, 10th) which, with an average 29-26 shots advantage (12th), is good enough to win a bunch of games. Their penalty kill is 10th and their power play is 31st, so they’re not bringing much of an x-factor that could help them defeat a team like Boston College.
The Season of Irritation
As stated above, I have a quality opponents metric that tracks shot performance against teams that outshoot their opponents. Normally updating this is straightforward, I just add the week’s games. But if a team rises above or dips below that line, I have to redo the formulas for everyone that played them adding or subtracting the shots totals as appropriate.
In previous seasons this has only happened a few times a year. A team (Cornell) starts out with a tough early slate and eventually gets above the 50% shots mark, or someone has an easy early schedule and gets knocked below it. This season it’s happening every week. Here are all the teams in danger of going above or below the line based on how good of a weekend they have with their current overall shots advantage/disadvantage in parentheses:
- Mercyhurst (+29)
- Penn State (-29)
- Syracuse (-25)
- Cornell (-3)
- Harvard (+34)
- Boston University (-6)
- Connecticut (+22)
- New Hampshire (+14)
- Northeastern (+9)
- Minnesota-Duluth (+37)
(I hate all of you.)
This is part of the reason why there are some wild swings in both the PairWise (which does similar with wins and losses) and my rankings. It’s also why this season has been so odd. The ceiling isn’t as high, the floor isn’t as low (Union isn’t terrible everyone!) and there are so many teams in the middle of the pack. Connecticut tied Boston College…twice! Northeastern beat Wisconsin!
How good do you really feel about 8th (Providence / Ohio State) beating 18th (Mercyhurst / Minnesota-Duluth)? Probably not great. If you look at my power rankings from early in 2017, that’d be something like Colgate and Dartmouth. (Colgate swept Dartmouth last season.)
The ECAC is killing it on the PK. First through sixth are, in order, Clarkson, Colgate, Cornell, RPI, Quinnipiac, and Princeton.
Boston College has a 13.6% shooting percentage with Daryl Watts, Caitrin Lonergan, and Makenna Newkirk shooting a combined 22.7%.
Only two teams have what I’ve dubbed the ‘Late-Game Grand Slam’ with empty net goals for and against and extra attacker goals for and against: Quinnipiac and Union.
The teams that have the most combined shots in games are Brown (24.7-39.3), New Hampshire (32.3-31.6), Boston University (31.8-32), Ohio State (33.2-28.6), and Boston College (33.1-28.3).
The teams that have the fewest combined shots in games are St. Lawrence (27.3-23.2), Penn State (24.9-26.3), Cornell (25.7-25.9), Syracuse (25.7-26.9), and Quinnipiac (30.4-22.8).
The new USCHO design is terrible.
Daryl Watts (29-30-59) and Caitrin Lonergan (23-30-53) have an enormous lead in scoring. Victoria Bach is third at 23-17-40.
My Patty Kaz vote (if I had one) goes to Wisconsin goaltender Kristen Campbell, who per USCHO is an incredible 42-2-0 this season in just 22 games played.
In addition to suppressing a ton of shots, Penn State is getting great goaltending. Daniela Paniccia, 8 games, .941. Hannah Ehresmann, 14 games, .931.
The CHA has four of the top six teams in PIM per game with Syracuse (11.45, 2nd), RIT (10.91, 3rd), Mercyhurst (10.68, 4th), and Robert Morris (10.26, 6th).
Boston College is the first team to 100 goals. Minnesota State is winning the race to 100 goals allowed (81).
Wisconsin is winning the race to 1,000 shots (791). Union is winning the race to 1,000 shots allowed (820).
The top five teams in the CHA have a +27 goal differential. RIT has a -27 goal differential.
The top 11 teams in the ECAC have a +32 goal differential. Brown (-32) negates that number.
Harvard might be 5th in the ECAC, but they have yet to play any games against the first, third, fourth, or sixth place teams. They lost both games to Quinnipiac who is in second.