Week 8 BELOW for the 2016-17 WCHA Season
2016-17 BELOW, Week 8
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Bemidji State Keeps Rolling
The Beavers continued their blitzkrieg through the WCHA, sweeping Northern Michigan despite Michael Bitzer giving up an astonishing three goals on the weekend. While Michigan Tech has two games in hand on Bemidji, the Green have a 14-point dam built in the standings.
Northern has now tumbled into 8th in BELOW and below 1400, which is not a good place to be. The Wildcats have just four league points and three wins overall, including two non-conference wins against Wisconsin. I think that the fans in Marquette are getting restless.
Huskies’ Dynamite Blows Up in their Faces
Simply put, Tech needed to come away from the 49th with six league points to keep pace with the league leader. Instead, Alaska-Anchorage kept the series close all weekend, including taking the Huskies to a shootout on Saturday, which the Seawolves won. I try to drive home the concept of probabilities, and while it seemed unlikely, a 4-point weekend for Tech was an 8% probability. Time and chance happen to them all.
UAA gets on the board with league points this year, although they are well behind their in-state rival with only two games in hand. The Seawolves have to build on a two-point weekend and believe that holding a top WCHA team to just four goals is a positive sign.
Bowling Green takes care of business
The Falcons look to be back, although plenty of teams have run up the score against Alabama-Huntsville late in the game — although none quite like a six-goal burst in the final 16:15 of regulation. If there’s a chink in the Falcon’s armor, it’s that UAH’s three goals on Saturday came on the power play. BG’s PK is in the bottom five nationally through Saturday’s game.
UAH’s 2016-17 looks a lot like their 2015-16: hot start, then falling off the cliff. UAH has held the lead in the last seven games and has only won twice (their road sweep in Anchorage). The natives are getting restless.
Ferris State Makes a Statement
Two teams near each other in BELOW that play each other have a big chance for movement: the expected values of the matchups are nearly 50-50, so the bulk of the adjustment factor will be used. I can explain that in another post, but note that BG got 1/3 less of a bump than Ferris did in their sweep of Lake Superior despite blowing UAH’s doors off.
The Bulldogs made a statement in two different ways: a strong effort in shutting down the Lakers 3-0 on Friday was followed by a wild 7-5 win where half of the goals were scored on special teams and each period had at least three goals scored. LSSU started Nick Kossoff with Gordon Defiel struggling to date, but the latter picked up the loss despite giving up just one goal.
The standings are more important to the teams than BELOW is (although these posts should totally be on the locker room walls), and Ferris State is now in 5th in league points and just two points from 3rd. Can the Bulldogs make a return to home ice territory after early-season struggles?
This week has two league matchups, with Tech finishing the Alaska double with a trip to Fairbanks. Anchorage comes to Ohio to face BG for a pair for the weekend’s other slate. The Huskies (75%) and Falcons (82%) are strongly favored. Bemidji, Northern, and Lake State all play in non-conference matchups for glory and the hope of raising the WCHA’s woeful PWR hopes.
As far as ABOVE, this time of year is busy for everyone, and I’m no different. That said, I hope to have a little bit of a surprise for you by Wednesday.