Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans
The Wolverines mauled the Spartans Friday in East Lansing to the tune of 9-2. The Spartans opened the scoring with a goal half way through the first only to give up three goal in 80 seconds. MSU cut the lead to one shortly later on a power play but Michigan answered back with 2 goals in a 40 second span to take a 5-2 lead into the first intermission. Michigan added two more goals in the second and the third to blow out their in-state rival. Jake Hildebrand gave up 7 goals on 31 shots and was pulled midway through the second.
Michigan State opened the scoring again on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Michigan roared back with 5 straight goals. Michigan State closed out the second period with two goals, trailing 5-3 heading into the third. Michigan scored the lone goal into an empty net, securing the home-and-home sweep. Michigan's offense is absurdly good this year, averaging over 6 goals per game in conference play. Michigan State had been the B1G's stingiest defense over the last two year but are now dead last with over 5 goals allowed per game in conference.
Michigan is rolling right now and looks to be the cream of the B1G crop. They have a home-and-home with Ohio State next weekend. Michigan State has fallen to 1-12-1 in its last 14 games and hosts the second place Gophers next weekend. Tom Anastos' time as the Spartan coach is likely coming to an end.
Minnesota Golden Gophers @ Penn State Nittany Lions
Minnesota traveled to Hockey Valley for a pair of games with the Nittany Lions. Minnesota controlled the first period Friday night but couldn't find the net and had to settle for a scoreless tie at the first intermission. Penn State came out flying in the second, scoring twice in the first 8 minutes. Minnesota slowly started to turn the tide and found themselves with about 100 seconds of 5v3 time. Minnesota had decent puck movement but couldn't get many shots on goal and Penn State survived the extended two-man advantage. Minnesota came out flying in the third scoring in the first two minutes and tying the game halfway through the period. Regulation ended in a tie, so we were treated to free hockey. After two defensive zone turnovers by Minnesota, Vince Pedrie (native Minnesotan) threw a shot on net from the blue line that snuck through traffic and into the back of the net. Penn State won on an almost identical shot in OT against the Gophers at home last year. Eamon McAdam was great for Penn State, stopping 40 of 42 shots.
Matthew Skoff got the start in net for Penn State Saturday afternoon and the Gophers took advantage. Minnesota scored the first 6 goals of the game before losing the shutout in the final 5 minutes. The Gophers would score once more to earn a 7-1 road victory and split. The Gophers played their first complete game of the season with mostly solid D, great offense, and 3 short handed goals. It will be interesting to see if Penn State keeps rolling two goalies or if they will settle on McAdam. I didn't get to watch the game Saturday (thanks BTN+) so I can't say wether Skoff was that bad or if it was the D in front of him. The Gophers responded after a tough loss in a tough environment. The team seems to have turned the corner.
A road split is exactly what the Gophers were looking for, and while they fell behind Michigan in the standings, they have to be happy with the results in their two hardest conference series. Penn State earned their second ever win against Minnesota but was outclassed on Saturday. I'm guessing McAdam will see more time over the next few weeks. Minnesota hosts Michigan State while Penn State hosts Wisconsin next week. Both teams will need big weekends to keep pace with Michigan.
Ohio State Buckeyes @ Wisconsin Badgers
Ohio State earned its first road win of the year on Friday, shutting the Badgers out 2-0. This was Christian Frey's second straight shut out. David Gust and Tyler Lundey scored the goals for Ohio State. Wisconsin out-shot the Buckeyes 26-21 but were snake bitten as two golden chances were turned away at the last second in the second period.
OSU came out firing Saturday taking a 2-0 lead in the first. A late Wisconsin goal cut the lead to 1 at the end of the period. Wisconsin tied the game less than a minute into the second but OSU answered with the next two goals. Another late period goal cut the lead to one after the second. Wisconsin scored the lone goal in the third period to force overtime. After a scoreless extra frame, we saw our second shootout of the year. Wisconsin won 1-0, scoring in the third round. This game counts as a tie in the standings and for NCAA tournament berth purposes.
OSU continued their good stretch of play taking 4 points on the road. Wisconsin salvaged 2 points in a weekend were they were a few bounces from two wins. OSU has a home-and-home with Michigan while Wisconsin travels to Penn State.
Denver Pioneers @ Nebraska Omaha Mavericks
Tough weekend for UNO dropping Friday's game 3-0 and Saturday's 4-3. UNO is still in good shape in the PairWise but this sweep hurts in the NCHC 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 1/10/2016 @ 9 PM EST
There are 60 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:
I expect the volatility to greatly decrease once we get to February. We are still early enough in the season where KRACH will have wild swings due to lack of games played. Once you can draw a path connecting all teams, the numbers stabilize. The elimination numbers are a bit wonky due to Penn State playing two less games than everyone but having the highest max points. I'll look into my spreadsheet after work slows down this week.
Points earned by team on the left are shown in the boxes
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|
And how teams are doing compared to the KRACH expectations: