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B1G Hockey Roundup - 2/15/15

After a busy Valentine's Day Weekend, we have a logjam at the top of the conference.

Get your brooms out Gopher and Spartan fans!
Get your brooms out Gopher and Spartan fans!
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Weekend Review

We had our first full weekend in conference play of the year.  Minnesota and Michigan State impressed with home sweeps of Michigan and Penn State respectively.  OSU and Wisconsin split in Columbus in a battle for the cellar.  We had two hat tricks and two shutouts on the weekend

Wisconsin @ Ohio State

The Badgers and the Buckeyes met in Columbus to determine the worst team in the conference.  Wisconsin struck first on Friday, but Ohio State controlled play the rest of the way and finished with a 2-1 victory.  Joel Rumpel kept this a 1 score game for Wisconsin as the Badgers were out-shot 42-23.  Wisconsin responded winning their first conference game by a score of 3-2.   Neither team looks to have many wins remaining on its schedule until they meet in Madison on the final week of the year.

Penn State @ Michigan State

Penn State had an opportunity to prove that they are for real and knock MSU out of the conference race this weekend.  Jake Hildebrand (G) and MSU had other plans.  Hildebrand posted a 28 save shutout on Friday; a 3-0 win for the Spartans.  On Saturday, Mackenzie MacEachern's hat trick lead the Spartans to a 3-2 victory.  Penn State scored a goal with their goalie pulled to cut the lead to 1 late, but couldn't net the equalizer.  Penn State came out firing on Saturday but Hildebrand may have been more impressive in the finale notching 40 saves on 42 shots.  Michigan State's sweep gives them 8 points out of 12 against Penn State (3 less than last year).

Michigan @ Minnesota

This was a make or break series for the Gophers season and oh boy did they send a message.  The Gophers came out fast on Friday, notching 3 goals in the first period.  Kyle Rau notched his second career hat trick before the night was over and Minnesota ran away with a 6-2 victory.  Michigan went long stretches with a shot or possession and the Gopher looked like the preseason NCAA championship favorites for the first time since being swept by Duluth at home in November.  The biggest development from Friday was the Gophers defense and Adam Wilcox.  Michigan's vaunted offense was held to 23 shots thanks to tight defense, and quick zone exits by Minnesota's blue liners.  Minnesota limited turnovers and kept Michigan out of prime scoring zones.  Adam Wilcox finally looked like himself after a disappointing January.  Thanks to MSU's sweep of Penn State, Minnesota's 2-0 victory on Saturday brought them into a tie for first in conference play with Michigan.   The Wolverines were held to 26 shots with their only good look coming in the final minute.  Minnesota's blue line and Adam "Wallcox" Wilcox appear to be back leading the way to a 5-0-1 record in their last 6.  Michigan and Minnesota split the season series, a 3 point improvement for Michigan compared to last year.

Western Michigan @ UNO

Nebraska-Omaha split with Western Michigan, losing 2-1 on Friday and winning 3-1 on Saturday.  The split was costly as they are now in a 3 way tie atop the NCHC with Miami-OH and North Dakota. Miami swept Colorado College while NoDak won and lost a shootout to take 4 from Denver.

Conference Standings

An overtime loss counts as a loss and no points are earned. If both teams are tied after the five minute OT period, the game goes down as a tie and both teams earn a point. A shootout follows a tie with the winner earning a second point. A shootout "win" counts as a tie, not a win in the standings and for NCAA Tournament seeding purposes. Total wins are used as the primary tie-breaker.  If teams have the same number of wins, head to head record is used.

KRACH Ratings, KRACH Rank, Pairwise Rank

Update on 2/15/2015 @ 4 PM CST

There are 59 teams in college hockey. The pairwise is an approximation of the selection process for the NCAA tournament (click link for explanation). The top 16 teams are selected for the tourney. Conference tournament champions get auto-bids so teams rated near 16 can be displaced if a lower ranked team wins it's conference tournament.

Points, Elimination numbers, KRACH Projections, and Last Years Points

Change in expected conference wins:
MI -3.99
MN +4.54
PSU -5.21
MSU +4.74
OSU -1.22
WI +1.14

This was a statement weekend for Minnesota and Michigan state as the increased their expected wins by 4.54 and 4.74 respectively.  Michigan and Penn State fell 3.99 and 5.21 respectively.

Conference Table

Pts earned by team on the left are shown in the boxes

I changed the order of the table around to reflect the standings better.

Green boxes mean that the team in the row is ahead of the team in the column. Red means the team in the column is ahead. Blue means the teams have split points. Once a season series is completed, the color will be darker, the points will be bold, and the box will have a thicker border. Column on the right shows the points gained by a team. Row on the bottom shows the points lost by a team.

KRACH Projection Review

Let's see how the projections went this week:

Team KRACH Projection My Prediction Actual Updated KRACH
WI 1.9 3 3 2.1
OSU 4.1 3 3 3.9
PSU 3.9 2 0 3.3
MSU 2.1 4 6 2.7
MI 3.3 0 0 2.7
MN 2.7 6 6 3.3

This was a big weekend for the B1G.  Wisconsin slightly outperformed and notched their first conference win of the season.  Michigan State had the most impressive weekend according to KRACH with their sweep of Penn State.  Minnesota's sweep of Michigan, flipped each teams KRACH rating.  Thanks to most wins being the first tie-break, Michigan holds the equivalent of a 1 point lead on Minnesota while Penn State holds a 1 point lead on MSU.  These 4 teams can't afford to tie from here on out as a win+shootout loss is better than two shootout wins even though both are worth 4 points.