no wonder we hired Hunter Lochmann
The US just beat the Czechs 3-0 to win the bronze medal in Prague. VERY impressive tournament for the US considering only 2/3 of the team were full-time NHLers and even more so when you consider 5 of the players were in the NCAA this past season including, of course, our very own Dylan Larkin. Well done, USA
Just saw that Petr Mrazek is going to start game one on Thursday. Personally I'm thrilled. Thoughts?
I was perusing USCHO.com and noticed there is an article about Ohio State hockey, which got me thinking: why does Ohio State continue to sponsor hockey/why has the team not been dissolved? This might seem crazy, but here me out:
Ohio State does not draw very many fans to its games, and let's be real the fans do not care about hockey. Hockey is not engrained in the culture and there has been no effort for hockey to be important.
Ohio State has had hockey since 1963 and has made only ONE Frozen Four. Yes, ONE (1998.) Surely for a school of the size of Ohio State, it should be able to make more than ONE Frozen Four. For reference, other major D1 schools with hockey include Michigan and BC (24 Frozen Fours), BU and Minnesota (21 each), Wisconsin (12), MSU (11), and Harvard (12). Ohio State, from 1971-2013, won only ONE CCHA regular season title...in the first year (71-72)...which they shared with now defunct St. Louis. In that time period, St. Louis, Michigan, Michigan State, Miami, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Notre Dame (which also has been surprisingly bad until recently), and Northern Michigan all managed to win more than one CCHA title. Only Western Michigan had been in the CCHA for a similar amount of time and not win a CCHA title. OSU also only won TWO ever CCHA Playoffs, in 72 and 04. Again, in that time period, Michigan, MSU, Notre Dame, Lake Superior State, Bowling Green, St. Louis, and Northern Michigan managed to win the same (ND) or more titles. They have never won an NCAA title game, let alone appeared in one. In that time Michigan, MSU, Northern Michigan, Bowling Green, and Lake Superior State all won national titles while even Notre Dame, Miami, and Ferris State appeared in national title games.
Overall what I am getting at is OSU is bad at hockey. But my question is: why? Is it purely because nobody there cares about hockey. Even then, why do they keep it up? Surely it can't be profitable, is it just because they want to at least field the same team Michigan and MSU do? All the other Big Ten schools (excluding Penn State) have strong histories of hockey, but not OSU. Thoughts?
Last week went about as well as you can hope for as a Michigan fan looking for some positivity regarding an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney. As discussed in last week's diary, Michigan is in a dog fight for one of the last at-large bids into the NCAA hockey tourney if they do not win the B1G Tournament, the victor of which gets an auto-bid.
Again, as detailed last week, the Pairwise Rankings (PWR) are your Harry Potter-esque sorting hat for entrance into the NCAA tournament. PWR, in basic terms, compares every team in Div-I hockey against each other based on three factors: RPI (a computer metric taking into account your record, winning % of your team, your opponents, and your opponents' opponents- bonus points are awarded for wins against Top 20 opponents and road wins), record against common opponents, and head to head record. This then gives each team a PWR "score" or how many of those indiviudal bi-lateral PWR comparisons a team has an advantage in.
The tournament accepts 16 teams: autobid conference tournament champions from Hockey East, ECAC, Atlantic Hockey, B1G, WCHA, and NCHC; at-large bids from the remaining top PWR teams until a 16 team field is created. Many many moons ago, ECAC and the predecessor to Atlantic Hockey were considered "bid stealers" since non-regular season champions of their tournaments were typically well outside the at-large bid range in PWR but thee regular season champ would still get an at-large bid because of a ridiculously high PWR. This year (and frankly the last couple), only Atlantic Hockey is a bid stealer conference-- and even then, since their regular season champ is already still low in the PWR (Robert Morris, 25th), if a team not named Robert Morris wins their tournament for the auto-bid, the conference is still only getting in one team. Consider the Atlantic Hockey autobid as slot #16 in the NCAA tournament-- so for practical purposes, there are at most 10 at-large slots left. At minimum, the last at-large team will be the 15th slot in PWR; at worst, 12-13 could be the cut-off line.
In Michigan's case, they sit tied for 15th with UMass-Lowell with 44 comparisons won. Ultimate tiebreaker between two teams tied in PWR is RPI, and Michigan leads here by a slim margin. The relevent teams around us in PWR as of Monday:
TEAM, PWR SCORE (UMich centric), RPI, comparisons won vs. Michigan
11. Minnesota, 2-4, .5435, RPI/Common opponents (tied 2-2 in head to head)
12. Quinnipiac, 1-1, .5481, RPI (overall comparison to Quinnipiac since RPI is higher)
13. Yale, 0-1, .5433, RPI (tied in common opponents)
14. Bowling Green, 0-2, .5407, RPI / Common opponents
15. Michigan, RPI = .5404
16. UMass-Lowell, 2-1, .5394, Common opponents (Mich won head to head & RPI)
17. St Cloud St Fighting Mollies, 1-0, .5369
18. Colgate, 2-0, .5339, (Mich wins RPI & common opponents)
19. Vermont, 2-0, .5357 (Mich wins RPI & common opponents)
Ok, first caveat: PWR is very volatile in this grouping. Every team from 14-19 is basically within one weekend of each other in RPI, and one RPI flip can shuffle standings around significantly. Second caveat: Atlantic, ECAC and Hockey East start their tournaments this weekend, so some teams like Vermont are on life support, and other teams like Colgate, UM-L, Yale, and Quinnipiac may only have 1 more game left before Selection Sunday.
- I'm surprised how well Michigan is positioned for an at-large. We essentially sit in the last at-large slot now if chalk holds in conference tourneys, and with a 4-0 finish to the regular season we probably can absorb a loss in the BTT semi and still get in as the 13 or 14 slot. We finish 4-0/3-1 in the regular season and lose in the BTT finals, we're challenging for a 3-seed. We finish 4-0/3-1 in the regular season and win the BTT, we're a high 3 seed no doubt.
- This next weekend against Penn St will bascially tell us our tourney fate. We win both, we're probably in good position for an at-large team barring a sweep by MSU. We split, we need a sweep against Sparty to keep at-large hopes alive. We drop both against PSU, we're sweating bullets and probably at a win-to-get-in situation in the BTT.
- Minnesota is probably in no matter what barring a complete collapse the next two weekends. They may slip from a 3 to a 4 seed, but they're probably feeling safe if they sweep this weekend.
- We are within a 1 game difference of flipping RPI with Bowling Green. Getting into the 14 slot at least is a HUGE difference. Atlantic Hockey has already killed the 16 slot as an at-large bid this year. As I mentioned in a comment to another post this weekend, a non-regular season champ in the tourney from an ECAC, Hockey East, or NCHC school probably isn't a game killer since they have so many teams in the running above us in PWR now anyway, unless its a true Cinderella (team in the mid 20's in PWR) making a run. Even then, they're probably knocking out a team from their own conference who's in the 13-19 PWR slot now.
- There's an interesting scenario developing though where you could possibly get 3 B1G teams in, as crappy as the conference is. You'd need: (1) Michigan and Minnesota to sweep out the regular season keeping Minnesota as a border 2/3 seed team in PWR going into the BTT. (2) Minnesota would lose in a semi. Pick your team, it doesn't matter. (3) Michigan would need to get to the BTT Finals and then lose to the team Minnesota dropped a semi to. This would possibley cause: (A) MSU/PSU/OSU/Wiscy to get an auto-bid as a 4-seed, (B) Minnesota would dropoff a 2 line to a 3 or 4 seed, and (C) Michigan would slip in as one of the last two at-large teams.
- You could also have the converse though where the B1G regular season champs don't make the NCAA tourney if say Michigan and Minnesota played mediocre hockey to close out the season with Michigan winning the conference by a game or tie-breakers and then losing a semi-final or final to a cinderella B1G team, essentially getting its at-large bid stolen by the B1G tourney champ. On paper if you said the conference regular season champ of a league with Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan St didn't get a NCAA tourney bid 4 years ago, Jim Delaney would have choked on his ham sandwich. But such is life in the B1G Hockey.
I'll leave the results from last week and this week's cheering primer to Canadian, who I'm sure will be chipping with his part in a day or so. SPOILER ALERT-- Cheer, cheer for Ol'... ALABAMA-HUNTSVILLE????
unfortunately I have been having computer issues the past couple of days and have written this Diary entry 2 times in full already without being able to post so todays recap is going to be VERY short. Expect the Preview of this weeks action out around the same time Friday.
Friday January 23 (all rankings are pairwise as of 1/22)
#29 Ohio State 1 @ 4 #41 Michigan State
#27 Northern Michigan 4 @ 5 #22 Penn State
#8 Boston University 4 @ 2 #12 Vermont
#36 New Hampshire 4 @ 6 #49 Maine
#36 Dartmouth 2 @ 2 #16 Colgate
#7 Harvard 2 @ 3 #30 Cornell
#10 Yale 2 @ 3 #23 St. Lawrence
#50 Mass. 4 @ 4 #16 Merrimack
#53 Lake Superior 3 @ 1 #3 Bowling Green
#14 Providence 7 @ 3 #9 UMass-Lowell
#12 Denver 3 @ 1 #6 Miami
#1 Minnesota State 4 @ 2 #19 Minnesota
#15 Michigan 7 @ 4 #54 Wisconsin
Recap of Key Games:
- Penn State fell behind 4-1 15 minutes into 2nd period before pulling Skoff and charging back to win 5-4 in regulation.
- UMass-Lowell gave up the first 3 goals of the game and didn't mount much of a comeback losing on home ice by the score of 7-3 to the team ranked one spot above Michigan.
- Michigan State won 4-1 thanks to 2 goals in the second and 2 in the third (agiainst one Buckeye 3rd oeriod tally)
- Minnesota and Minnesota State exchanged goals in the 1st and again in the first 10 minutes of the second.before Minnesota State pulled away with 2 goals in the second half of the 2nd period. HTe 4-2 Minnesota Loss didn't really hurt them but a win wouldv'e been much more beneficial.
- Michigan opened up horribly but turned it around in the second and poured it on in the 3rd.
First peroiod in Madison just under 3 minutes into the game Joseph LaBate scored a power play goal to take the lead. Justin Selmon scored a power play marker to tie the game up with 6:13 left in the period (assists to Kile and Werenski). just 26 seconds later Grant Besse answered for the Badgers to re-establish the 1 goal home team advantage. With just 1:19 to go in the period Joseph LaBate scored another power play goal. Wsiconsin's total season goals in the 1st heading into this game was 2.
Second Period saw another early Badger goal, on Michigan's 2nd goalie of the night as Nagelvoort replaced Racine after the intermission, Jedd Soleway scored the Badgers 3rd PPG of the game giving the Badgers a 4-1 lead on home ice. 1:11 later Justin Selman scored his 2nd goal of the game (assists to Hyman and Larkin) to pull within 2. With just over 5 minuted to play in the period Captain (and Hockey God) Andrew Copp scored on the Power Play (assists to Downing and Compher) to cut the lead to 4-3 heading into the 3rd (Michigan was 0-6 when trailing after 2). Michigan outshot Wisconsin 13-2 in the middle frame
Third Period started off slow in terms of goal scoring. Zach (HOBEY) Hyman got things started back up again 9:19 into the final regulation period scoring in his 6th straight game (assists to Selman and De Jong). 1:01 later Alex Kile found the back of the net (assists to Shuart and Downing) to give the Wolverines their first lead of the game. 1:02 after the Kile goal Justin Selmon completed the Hat Trick (assists to Larkin and Hyman). That was 3 goals in 2:03 of game time. Andrew Copp added the empty netter with just over a minute to play for his second goal of the game (assist to Motte).
Racine started and gave up 3 goals on 8 shots in the first period
Nagelvoort came in at the start of second and allowed 1 goal on 2 shots in the period before stopping all 10 shots he faced in the 3rd.
Saturday January 24
#27 Northern Michigan 5 @ 5 #22 Penn State
#19 Minnesota 1 vs 2 #5 MInnesota-Duluth
#29 Ohio State 0 @ 2 #41 Michigan State
#9 UMass-Lowell 1 @ 4 #14 Providence
#8 Boston University 2 @ 1 #12 Vermont
#7 Harvard 6 @ 1 #16 Colgate
#12 Denver 1 @ 4 # 6 Miami
#39 Rensselaer 3 @ 8 #33 Union
#15 Michigan 6 @ 0 #54 Wisconsin
Recap of Key Games
- UMass-Lowell is swept by Providence
- RPI is crushed by Union. only positive is the game was on the road.
- Minnesota drops their second game of the weekend to another top team in Minnesota-Dultuh.
- Michigan State completes the sweep of Ohio State with the 2-0 shutout
- Penn State ties Notrthern to go 1-0-1 on the weekend.
- fresh off the 7-4 come-from-behind win Michigan scored early and often in this game that was a rout from the get go.
First Period Dylan Larkin got things going EARLY, 1:12 into the the game to be exact (assists to Selman and Hyman). just 51 seconds later Michigan's top line scored again this time it was Zach Hyman with the goal (assists to Larkin and Selman). Things quieted down on the goal front until there was 4:14 to go in the period when Tony Calderone scored (assists to Copp and Serville). Zach Werenski added a beautiful goal (assists to Sinelli and Copp) with just 1:00 to go in the first.
Second Period saw just 1 goal. Zach Hyman scored 1:16 into the period (unassisted) to make it 5-0 in the first 21:16 of action
Third Period had only one goal as well and it was DMan Zach Werenski getting his second one the game (assists to Motte and Calderone)
Nagelvoort was given the start after his recen t relief efforts and stopped all 17 shots fired his way for the Shutout.
Sunday January 25
#16 Merrimack 1 @ 4 # 50 Mass. (Game was rescheduled from Saturday)
Tuesday January 27
#16 Merrimack @ #34 Connecticut was rescheduled
- Penn State defending home ice. They went 1-0-1 against non conference opponent NMU
- Minnesota going no worse than 1-1. They went 0-2 didn't hurt as much as it couldv'e as they ended up playing the two best teams in the tournament.
- Michigan 6 point sweep. CHECK
Pairwise Update (Top 20 and Non conference opponents(*), BIG in all caps)
1) Minnesota State
2) North Dakota
t3) Boston University*
6) Bowling Green
10) Michigan Tech*
13) Boston College*
t22) PENN STATE
t36) MICHIGAN STATE
38) OHIO STATE
39) Ferris State*
t41) New Hampshire*
58) American International*
1) Michigan 21pts 7-1-0-0
2) Penn State 16pts 5-2-1-0
3) Michigan State 13pts 3-3-2-2
4) Minnesota 8pts 2-2-2-0
5) Ohio State 6pts 2-6-0-0
6) Wisconsin 2pts 0-5-1-1
Individual Stats Update
- Zach Hyman ranks 4th Nationally in points.
- Dylan Larkin ranks 12th Nationally in points (2nd to only Jack Eichel amongst Freshmen).
- Zach Hyman ranks 3rd Nationally in points per game.
- Dylan Larkin ranks 6th Nationally in points per game (2nd to Eichel amongst Freshmen).
- Zach Hyman ranks 5th Nationally 2nd in B1G in Goals.
- Andrew Copp ranks 27th Nationally 3rd in B1G in Goals.
- Alex Kile is 6th ranks B1G in Goals.
- Dylan Larkin ranks 7th Nationally in Assists 1st in B1G
- Zach Hyman ranks 10th Nationally in Assists 3rd in B1G
- Tyler Motte ranks 25th Nationally in Assists 5th in B1G
- Zach Nagelvoort ranks 43rd in GAA 3rd in B1G
Team Stats Update
- Offense leads the nation in Goals per game at 4.36. 2nd place Robert Morris sits at 3.73.
- Defense ranks 44th nationally allowing 3.00 goals per game. Ohio State and Wisconsin are only B1G schools ranked lower
- Michigan's Power Play ranks 2nd in the Nation and Conference behind Minnesota (24.69% and 25.58% respectively)
- Michigan's Penalty Kill ranks 43rd in the nation and only ahead of Ohio State and Wisconsin in conference
I'm planning on starting the preview tonight after i get home from work and will try to get it out around noon on Friday.
and thanks to another Michigan sweep I leave you with one simple statement "1, 2 YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO...."
Deadspin just ran an article stating that the recently filed bankruptcy of former UM hockey standout Jack Johnson was caused by his parents robbing him. Wild story.