Welcome to another college hockey chat with the writers from InsideCollegeHockey.com. We'll be taking your questions for at least the next 30 minutes.
Is it possible for a perenially above average team like Clarkson to get the program back on track in one off season after having two bad years? How do they do it?
It's definitely possible for Clarkson to get back on track and I think most followers expect that they will. The first step is to continue to recruit good players. They've never really been able to make up for the recently-departed class that included the likes of Zalewski, Dodge, Leggio and Clitsome. As teams prove every year, you can make large gains in the ECAC Hockey standings from year-to-year, even after a disappointing season like this one is for the Golden Knights.
Next year the WCHA expands to twelve teams. How will this impact the league playoffs and the Final Five tournament?
It means that you'll need to finish in the top six, not the top five in order to get home ice. Also, the Final Five will now be a six-team affair. I believe they're still tweaking how to make that work. Just my opinion, but I like the idea of the bottom two teams not making the playoffs. Of course, there are tickets to be sold, so that idea is highly unlikely.
with a big home and home against bc this weekend, is this the chance for Umass Lowell to get back on track or the end of a frustrating season, I notice they cant score but still have some great defense? what gives
Lowell has traditionally played BC pretty tough, and those two teams have had some unreal games in recent seasons. However, with UML's scoring issues, it's going to be tough to get a few past the BC defense and John Muse, who is back to lights-out form. That BC offense is crushing teams, too. With the way BC is playing right now, Lowell would do well to get a split.
As of right now there is a strong possibility that traditional powerhouses Michigan, North Dakota, Minnesota and Boston U will all miss the NCAAs this season. Nodak prob has the best chance to make it, but have a tough schedule to close out the season. Do you forsee any or all of those teams making the tourny and having an inpact or do you think its Miami or Denver's to lose
I think North Dakota will make the tournament. I think Michigan is the next most-likely team to get in and I expect that they'll make a run through the rest of the regular season (fourth place isn't out of the question in the CCHA) and make a good run into the league's championship weekend in Detroit. Even with those traditional powers possibly playing a role in the tournament, Denver and Miami are the clear favorites, slightly ahead of Wisconsin at this point.
Despite another disappointing turnout in last week's first round game of the Beanpot against BU it seems that Northeastern is on a roll with large wins in several of their last games. How do you like NU's chances to finish the season strong and secure a position in the Hockey East tournament. Which is something that all of us NU fans are hoping for! Thanks and keep up the good work.
I really like the way Northeastern is playing right now, and it's gotten a huge lift out of freshman goalie Chris Rawlings. They'll be on the road in the first round of the playoffs, but the Huskies are going to be a really tough out.
Do you guys think that St. Cloud State is equipped enough to go to the Frozen Four this year? Also, considering the situation in goal, rotating Dunn and Lee Friday and Saturday, which of the two would be more likely to play? Dunn has a better overall record, but Lee has shown absolute flashes of brilliance, like last weekend against Alaska Anchorage. Thanks for your time.
The Huskies absolutely have the tools to make the Frozen, which would be a huge step forward for a program that has notoriously struggled in the NCAA playoffs. One of the reasons I picked them as a top-two team in the WCHA is their offense and their goaltending, although I expected Lee to be the every-night guy. The success of the tandem has been a pleasant surprise for Husky fans, and I see no reason it wouldn't continue into March and maybe, just maybe, April.
Miami has 1st place locked up but beyond that you have a whole bunch of teams from 2nd to 7th place all within 10 pts. With 3pts. being awarded for a win it seems like anything can happen. How do you see the CCHA ending up? Do my Wolverines still have a shot at the NCAAs and what do they have to do to get there?
The CCHA, simply put, is a mess. With the way points are awarded in the league, it's really difficult to figure out which teams have the best chances of landing in which spots. As far as Michigan's postseason hopes are concerned, they're still alive in theory, but they've got a lot of work to do. Not many solid wins on the slate thus far and what they have have been at home (Ferris, Wisconsin) or neutral site (Michigan State).
I think you got your own rankings outrage wrong. Should of looked at the fact that you have Yale ranked at 5th in the country when if the season ended today they wouldn't be in the NCAA tournament! The ECAC is completely overrated and doesn't have a single autobid team in the PWR.
We stand by our rankings, and we base those on what we see from teams and their results over the course of the year. The Pairwise is based on criteria meant to judge the entire season at the end of the season. If the Pairwise or other computer ranking formulas are so accurate, why have so many third- and fourth-seeded teams won NCAA Tournament games over the past few years? Ask Wisconsin, I bet they don't think Yale is overrated.
With Maine taking 2 games with rival UNH how are there chances looking for the national tourney?
Great weekend for Maine, maybe its most significant weekend in two years. Unless the Black Bears collapse down the stretch -- and they're playing too well to believe that can happen -- they'll be back in the field of 16.
If you could choose one goalie to anchor your team in a best-of-one tournament, who would you pick?
For me, it's Marc Cheverie of Denver. He has been the most consistent goalie in the nation and has played at a very high level. He's a big key to why Denver has been among the top two teams in the nation all year.
What is up with the CCHA this year? Who are the legitimate at large contenders for the frozen four?
Miami's in. That much can be said with certainty. And I feel pretty good about Michigan State's chances. The CCHA will likely earn no more than three bids. Who that third team is? No clue. Ferris State, Michigan, Alaska, Lake Superior State ... all have been good at times, but all have struggled, too. Not a banner year for the CCHA.
after this last weekend performance at home do you think the ENGINEERS will have a home playoff series or maybe a 1st round bye in the ecac and what are the chances of Chase Polacek winning the hobey becker award?
I think a home playoff series is absolutely within expectation for Rensselaer this year. They're a very good team and I expect that they'll finish closer to fourth than eighth. Go ahead and plan to see some hockey that weekend in Troy. Polacek has been one of the nation's top scorers throughout the year but it will be difficult for him to win the Hobey Baker award. If RPI makes it into the top four in ECAC Hockey and/or makes it to Albany for the league's championship weekend, he'll have a better shot for individual recognition.
Not to go off from college hockey but has anyone been watching the Fargo Force USHL team they are 16-0-3 in there last 19 games and now are in first in there division. So my question this week is how do you think the Beavers will bounce back against Robert Morris since taking a split from them two weeks ago?
Bemidji State is the class of College Hockey America, but Robert Morris is a dangerous team and has some very good non-conference wins. I think it's important for the Beavers to re-assert themselves down the stretch. Splits with Niagara and Robert Morris were Bemidji's first league losses, and were on either side of the sweep of Minnesota Duluth. It's important for the Beavers to be playing well heading in to the CHA tournament and very likely the NCAA Tournament.
You got to admit that after all the fuss about how people are sick of BU-BC beanpot championships (or the beanpot in general) this one, as always, lived up to the great tradition it truly is. I mean, besides BC fans, who wasn't hoping for another remarkable comeback reminiscent of last years great NCAA championship game.
With a minute to play in the third period, I actually turned to the writer sitting next to me and said how much this was reminiscent of the national title game. It was a very good game, and BC-BU games tend to fit the bill in the Beanpot. However, this tournament has become too much about the giants, and the attendance has suffered in recent seasons. Maybe it's the economy, or maybe people are sick of seeing BU and BC win it.
So in the piece on Miami last week, which was well done by James V Dowd, there were two questions raise regarding them. 1. whether they had enough offense to out score teams and I quote "where the goal scoring leaves something to be desired". and 2. It was mentioned why Cody Reichard wasn't a hobey canidate and the reason was because of Miami's team defense they needed to see him win a game for Miami to be considered. Well in Friday's win over Lake St. he made 33 saves and was the only reason Miami won that game. With those two questions asked last week and miami answering them this past weekend, are their any other questions you would like for them to answer?
Reichard was good last weekend, but I wouldn't consider one game against a middle-of-the-pack CCHA team as answering all the questions about the RedHawks. They're a very good team and Reichard is a good goalie, but he doesn't strike me as a guy who can rise up and steal a game. That's not an indictment of Reichard, because outside of Denver's Marc Cheverie, there aren't any goalies like that in the nation.
Reichard, by the way, has faced an average of 23.8 shots per game. Cheverie sees an average of 30 shots per game. There's no question Miami's system helps Reichard.
Looking at the Atlantic Hockey records this year, most teams have very poor out of conference records and a few do not have any out of conference wins at all. Will there be a push among the teams in contention for the #1 overall seed in order to play the winner of the AH tourney? Or is keeping players healthy more important?
I think the push from those teams chasing the #1 overall seed in the NCAA will be more driven by winning their respective league tournaments. Competing for those championships is what will drive the contending teams, not the potential first-round NCAA opponent. Atlantic Hockey has definitely not had a lot of success outside of its conference, especially very early in the season.
Do you think the Badgers will stop the goalie rotation soon and commit to Gudmandson as their everyday goalie?
I do. Scott Gudmandson is a very underrated goalie. You can see that Wisconsin plays with a lot more confidence when he's in goal. I was impressed with his awareness during some of those goalmouth scrambles against Michigan last week. The Badgers have eight regular-season games left; if I were coach, I'd give Gudmandson six starts, let Brett Bennett have one each against Mankato and Michigan Tech, and roll Gudmandson in the playoffs.
what do you think the chances are bemidji gets a number 1 seed in the tourny. st cloud has a pretty rough schedule the rest of the way out so i can only see them droping a couple of spots.
Definitely a chance for the Beavers to move up and be considered for a number-one seed based on the tournament criteria, but it's going to take both Boston College and St. Cloud State to drop some games down the stretch.
going forward, with 4 teams practically tied for spots 5-8 in Hockey east, what do you think will be the end result of the next4 weeks?
I think BU is set to make a run and could potentially snag the last home-ice spot from UMass. Then, I'll go with Lowell, Northeastern and Vermont rounding out the last four playoff teams.
Thanks for stopping by to talk college hockey with us. We'll be back next week, same time, for another chat. Be sure to prepare for this weekend's big games by visiting INCH.