Skip to content

Back to Class: Being at the top of the conference doesn’t guarantee anything

Feb 25, 2013, 6:45 AM EST

Mike Collins - Merrimack

We’re taking you “Back To Class” for our roundup of the weekend’s action in college hockey. Look for more college hockey on NBCSN this Friday night as WCHA rivals Nebraska-Omaha and Wisconsin face off at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Until this past weekend happened, Merrimack College was feeling good and sitting atop Hockey East. With schools like Boston College, New Hampshire, UMass-Lowell, and Providence all in the mix for first as well, it would seem likely that Merrimack would be sitting well for a shot at the NCAA tournament.

Alas, that’s where the fun mathematics of the Pairwise Rankings (PWR) comes into play. Sure, Merrimack is near the top of one of the strongest conferences in the country (they’re now one point behind BC, UNH, and PC) but they sit tied for 23rd in PWR. Getting in the top 16 is what helps you stand your best chances at getting a spot in the tournament and as it stands now, unless Merrimack wins the Hockey East tournament, they’ll be sitting at home.

What’s killing them is their record against teams under consideration (TUC). They’re just 6-8-2 against schools who could wind up in the NCAAs. Compare that with their equals in the HEA standings. BC is 9-4-3 and UNH is 11-7-3. Providence finds themselves in a worse spot than Merrimack as they’re a miserable 4-8-5 against TUCs. Meanwhile, UMass-Lowell sits 11th in PWR with a 5-7-0 record against TUCs but are 18-9-2 overall this year.

What can teams like Merrimack and Providence do now to help their chances? Just win, baby. It’s the simplest of mathematics.

That’s the fun part of all this. With all the acronyms and records and varying ways of breaking things down, it just boils down to taking care of your own business and then hoping you get a little help elsewhere just in case.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Unless your team is sitting on that PWR bubble or hoping another team doesn’t fall off/climb over the TUC cliff to royally jumble things up.

All right, don’t lose the slide rules just yet.

***

Feel-good story of the weekend: Give it up for Colgate’s Spiro Goulakos. The sophomore played in his first game back since undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Friday night and scored the game-winning goal to help the Raiders beat Union College 4-1.

Conferences wrapping up: Both the ECAC and CCHA wrap up their conference schedules this weekend. Atlantic Hockey, Hockey East, and the WCHA are done next week. Let’s look at who gets done this week.

Quinnipiac has the top seed in the ECAC wrapped up. RPI, St. Lawrence, Yale, Union, and Dartmouth are hoping to finish in the top-four to get first round byes. SLU faces Union on Friday and RPI on Saturday.

In the CCHA, Miami, Notre Dame, Western Michigan, Ferris State, and Ohio State all have first round byes in their tourney secured. Miami has the top seed to themselves, but WMU and Notre Dame are duking it out for second and FSU and OSU are battling for fourth.

The rest of the conference is a bit of a mess below that. Alaska is all but certain to face Michigan State in the opening round while Bowling Green, Lake Superior State, Michigan and Northern Michigan could all find ways to jumble their pairings.

(Photo: Hockey East Online)

Latest Posts
  1. Dubnyk makes case for top Wild gig with shutout

    Jan 30, 2015, 12:17 AM EST

    Arizona Coyotes v Minnesota Wild Getty Images

    Head coach Mike Yeo said he earned that goose egg, too.

  2. Sharks chase Bryzgalov, down Ducks

    Jan 29, 2015, 11:47 PM EST

    Joe Pavelski, Ilya Bryzgalov Joe Pavelski, Ilya Bryzgalov

    So much for some rest for Frederik Andersen.

  3. WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Sharks

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:33 PM EST

    San Jose Sharks v Anaheim Ducks Getty Images

    Another strong game on NBCSN.

  4. Video: Senators pay tribute to Spezza

    Jan 29, 2015, 8:49 PM EST

    Jason Spezza AP

    Nice applause in his return to Ottawa.

  5. Here’s why Brodeur is working for Blues (instead of Devils)

    Jan 29, 2015, 7:12 PM EST

    Martin Brodeur, Doug Armstrong AP

    To some extent, it was about staying closer to the game.

  6. WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Rangers

    Jan 29, 2015, 6:17 PM EST

    Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers Getty Images

    Bask in a budding rivalry.

  7. Get your game notes: Habs at Rangers

    Jan 29, 2015, 5:28 PM EST

    Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers Getty Images

    The first of a Thursday night doubleheader on NBCSN.

  8. AHL announces new Pacific Division — who could go west next?

    Jan 29, 2015, 4:36 PM EST

    AHLlogo

    The Coyotes and Canucks, that’s who.

  9. Latvian forward Kenins called up to Canucks

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:36 PM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwmxnjrmzdm4nmnjndjlmwmyyzizmgjkzja2ogi5yjll AP

    In the wake of the controversial injury to Derek Dorsett.

  10. Goalie nods: Dubnyk goes again for Wild in key game vs. Flames

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:29 PM EST

    Dubnyk

    News and notes from around the crease…

  11. Lupul activated, available to play versus Coyotes

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:07 PM EST

    Joffrey Lupul Getty Images

    Hopefully he can stay healthy this time.

  12. Seeking consistency, Sharks in ‘dog fight’ to make playoffs

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:45 PM EST

    Logan Couture, Jonathan Quick AP

    “Consistency is still a word that we use constantly around here, bringing it all the time, and being emotionally attached to the games.”

  13. Report: NHL to unveil jersey ads during World Cup

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:21 PM EST

    2015 NHL All-Star Weekend - Commissioners Press Conference 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend - Commissioners Press Conference

    Just months after COO John Collins said that jersey sponsorship “is coming” to the league.

Featured video

Kings come back in third to top Blackhawks
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (3466)
  2. E. Malkin (3043)
  3. K. Letang (2714)
  4. C. Price (2695)
  5. T. Johnson (2471)
  1. P. Hornqvist (2345)
  2. M. Brodeur (2308)
  3. P. Rinne (2291)
  4. S. Bobrovsky (2269)
  5. T. Hall (2199)