Hey all – it’s been a while, I know.
Now that I’ve got some time on my hands, I’ve been plugging ECAC game data into a spreadsheet to try and figure out a better way to determine how good (and bad) each team in college hockey actually is. You know, be all SABR-metric? This came from a discussion I had with an ECAC coach last year about advanced statistics in the college game. There’s a lot happening, but we don’t hear much about it because so much of it is proprietary to each team. You can’t get nearly the depth of information on a college game that you can on an NHL game, partly because there just isn’t the manpower to compile the stats. I compiled all the numbers to compute these ratings myself, so I’m not going to openly share the data, but suffice to say, a lot went into this. As the season goes on, I’m hopeful that it’ll paint a clearer picture of how good each team is both situationally and overall. I’ll share more of the situational data as the season goes forward, too.
So far, I’ve only crunched numbers on the ECAC, as that’s all I’ve had time for, though I do hope to extend this out to all 60 teams in the near future. If you’re interested in assisting me, let me know.
Basically, the premise is this: each team’s power rating is a summation of the differential of two rate statistics (Goals For per 60 Minutes Played minus Goals Against per 60 Minutes Played) times the percentage of total game time played in each manpower situation. Basically, a five-on-five goal carries more weight than a power-play goal or shorthand goal because the bulk of the game is played five-on-five, but that weight varies from team to team.
Let’s look at the overall ratings:
Quinnipiac is the top-rated team based on the calculation, bolstered by a strong five-on-five goal differential (+21) that is partially a product of lopsided wins against American International (9-2 on Oct. 27) and Maine (7-2 on Nov. 23).
Clarkson is second, the Golden Knights having the benefit of five 5×5 goals in a 6-0 win at RPI Nov. 2 and five more in a 6-2 rout of St. Lawrence last weekend.
Union’s strong performance so far gets them into the top four as well.
At the bottom, Colgate is struggling at both ends of the ice. They’re not getting goaltending (boy, losing Colton Point really hurt) and they can’t find the net, either, having been shut out four times in their last seven games.
St. Lawrence did get a nice 4-3 overtime win against Minnesota two weeks ago, but wins are going to be hard to come by for the Saints the rest of the year. The Saints are being outshot, on average, by 17 shots on goal per game. Opponents have put 188 more shots on goal this season than the Saints have… in 12 games. Before we even get to goal differential, the power play, the penalty kill, and what have you, remember that advanced stats folks point to shot numbers as an indicator of possession. If the puck is always in your end (and we know this because you’re giving up a lot of shots) you’re going to have a lot of difficulty scoring goals. And so it has been, with SLU being outscored 28-11 five-on-five.
I’ll update the ratings with this weekend’s games on Monday and post them a bit earlier in the week.
Here are my predictions for this week’s ECAC games (predicted winner in bold):
|Friday, November 30:|
|Brown||at||Clarkson||EC||7:00 pm ET|
|Princeton||at||Quinnipiac||EC||7:00 pm ET|
|Yale||at||St. Lawrence||EC||7:00 pm ET|
|Rensselaer||at||Notre Dame||NC||7:05 pm ET||(TV-NBCSN)|
|Cornell||at||Dartmouth||EC,IV||7:30 pm ET|
|Colgate||at||Harvard||EC||7:30 pm ET|
|Saturday, December 1:|
|Yale||at||Clarkson||EC||7:00 pm ET|
|Cornell||at||Harvard||EC,IV||7:00 pm ET|
|Quinnipiac||at||Princeton||EC||7:00 pm ET|
|Brown||at||St. Lawrence||EC||7:00 pm ET|
|Rensselaer||at||Notre Dame||NC||7:05 pm ET|
|Colgate||at||Dartmouth||EC||7:30 pm ET|
Since some of you may live in New Jersey or Las Vegas, maybe I should pick these games against the spread for you. I’ll look into it.
Having bounced around the minor leagues, I’ve always wanted to catch up with Nick Niedert, who’s spent most of his adult life as a goalie for hire for any pro team that called.
Last year, when I was writing for the Times Union in Albany, I went up to Adirondack hoping to put together a piece about him, but he had been released and drove out of town literally minutes before I got there.
This past week, Niedert got picked up by the ECHL’s Reading Royals and made 38 saves in a 2-1 win at Adirondack last Saturday.
Sean Leahy from NBC Sports caught up with him. The story is worth a read.
I’m working on setting up a Patreon site so those of you who are interested in providing support more me to keep running numbers on pucks can shoot me a few bucks here and there.
If you have questions, feel free to email me or comment below. I’ll try to reply as quickly as possible.