Poor Northeastern, who has become the hottest topic in the polls this week. The schools of thought are split between pro-Northeastern fans who think they should be ranked higher and midwestern fans who are mad an Eastern team that hasn’t won any titles gets a lot of attention.
The PairWise has them at 7th, but if you’re relying on the PWR to distinguish between a bunch of teams with 1 loss that have largely played teams well below them in the standings, you’re doing it wrong.
The main problem I have with the PWR is that there is more nuance to games than wins and losses, as Minnesota getting run out of the building by St. Cloud state shows us. It’s perfectly fine once teams have run through their full conference schedule and conference tournaments and built up a solid list of games against quality opponents where you can point to a dozen or so games where you know they’re putting forth their best lineup and their most focus.
Without a reliable TOI stats or watching the games, there is no way to tell who is rolling lines more evenly and who is weighting time towards their top players against teams that are going to finish 6 spots below them in their conference. It’s a large reason I have been low on Wisconsin despite their record and goal differential.
When you have top scorers Sophie Shirley and Jesse Compher and their line(s) on the ice for goals 8 and 9 against Penn State and Shirley, Compher, Casey O’Brien, and/or Eden Lacey for goals 9 and 10 against Lindenwood I’m less impressed than a team that is rolling their lines and winning 5-0 or 6-2. (Northeastern has done this a little bit, but not as much, in part because they haven’t gotten to that point often and in part because they just haven’t done it.)
All that to say that the notion of who is better than who is still extremely subjective at this point and the anti-Northeastern crowd should maybe jump off their high horses a bit. Don’t hit the PWR on the way down.
Is the ECAC really good? Maybe? Probably. Quinnipiac and Colgate have looked great and played a 1-0 game minus Quinnipiac’s two empty netters last weekend. Yale beat Quinnipiac (and Princeton) in two of their four games. Cornell has come out hot.
On the other side, the best ECAC team historically, Clarkson, just got blown to smithereens by Cornell 8-1 (on 21 shots against no less) and also lost to Colgate. St. Lawrence has lost a non-conference game to Clarkson and were 0.6 seconds from going to OT against Union. Harvard has lost to Brown and tied Union and RPI.
That said, Brown, Union, and RPI aren’t as bad as in years past, and neither is Dartmouth. Harvard seems the most likely team from last season to fall out of the top 8 and miss the conference tournament but Clarkson and St. Lawrence have to at least merit consideration at this point. Both have wins over RPI and Union though, so maybe not.
St. Michael’s tied Franklin Pierce this past weekend. That is, I believe, just the third result by Post or St. Michael’s against one of the other NEWHA teams, the other being St. Michael’s wins over LIU and Franklin Pierce in the 2019-2020 season.
The teams at the bottom of the standings are getting better and we’re all going to have to figure out how to sort out losses like the one Minnesota received at the hands of St. Cloud State.