Category Archives: 2016-17

2016-17 WCHA Week 21, Series 66 Projection: Alaska (1413) at Alaska-Anchorage (1356)

2016-17 Week 21, Series 66: Alaska (1413) at Alaska-Anchorage (1356)

UAF sweeps28.73%
UAA Sweeps14.90%
UAF 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)5.84%
UAF 5 points (W, OTW)4.21%
UAA 5 points (W, OTW)4.21%
UAA 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)2.33%

Alaska-Anchorage needs a lot of points and a lot of help this weekend.  Seawolves fans have to look at that sweep projection and have some hope.  Both schools can still miss the playoffs, but Alaska has a far better shot at getting in.

Plans for the weekend

I’ll be able to get series predictions done.  I plan on coming back on Saturday to knock out a final prediction.  At that point, we’ll have a pretty good handle.  Unlike previous seasons, like last year’s 81 scenarios, it’s even more this year — what was 3^N is now 4^N.  Yes, things could break UAA’s way and we’d have five relevant series on Saturday night, giving us 1,024 possible scenarios.  Alternatively, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Bowling Green, and Alaska could win on Friday, leaving home ice decided, putting UAA out, and leaving NMU and UAH on the ropes.

Lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.  The Dude is adhering to a strict, crappy work regimen — I could probably watch the Governor’s Cup games from work.

  1. Series predictions done by 3pm on Friday.
  2. Tiebreakers cleared up via Twitter on Friday night (if I’m not sleeping).
  3. Final predictions done by 5pm on Saturday.

MATH!  I predict a 100% chance of self-frustration and a 100% chance that I’ll have fun.

2016-17 WCHA Week 20 BELOW Ratings

2016-17 Week 20 BELOW

TeamBELOWExpWin%Pts (Max)Max PtsEst Pts
Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 20 of WCHA conference play (130 of 140 games played).

It all comes down to this: ten teams, ten games, eight spots in the playoffs.  That last column gets you an idea of estimated points based on the expected winning percentage of each of the five matchups.  They are:

  1. Alaska (58%) at Alaska-Anchorage for the Governor’s Cup and the Seawolves’ playoff lives.  The Nanooks could finish in the middle of the pack or miss out on the playoffs altogether, finishing in 9th with their in-state rivals in 10th.
  2. Minnesota State (47%) at Bemidji State.  The Mavericks have been very good down the stretch, and with Bemidji fading a bit, they could take a shot at the 2nd seed if Atte Tolvanen returns to form in net for Northern Michigan.
  3. Alabama-Huntsville (41%) at Bowling Green.  The Chargers really need a split or better to make the postseason (along with some help!), and with BG playing very inconsistently, it’s not altogether unreasonable.
  4. Ferris State (64%) at Lake Superior.  Honk if you had this as a lopsided series when we were midseason.
  5. Michigan Tech (74%) home-and-home with Northern Michigan.  Is Tolvanen the guy with five consecutive shutouts or the guy that Mankato shelled last weekend?  If the former, the Wildcats could make the playoffs; if the latter, they’re the Falcons’ biggest fans this weekend.

All five series involve A tiebreakers, but none can break a tie.  FSU-LSSU are five points apart, so they cannot tie.  Going back to our A tiebreaker list, here’s what could potentially matter.

  1. Huntsville – Fairbanks goes to the Nanooks, 2-1-0-1.
  2. Huntsville – Ferris goes to the Chargers, 3-0-0-1.
  3. Huntsville – Lake State goes to the Lakers, 4-0-0-0.
  4. Fairbanks – BG is a push to B, 2-0-0-2.  The Falcons will win any comparisons as they will win at B.
  5. Fairbanks – Lake State goes to the Nanooks, 2-0-1-1.
  6. BG – Ferris is a push to B, 2-0-0-2.  It would be difficult for the Bulldogs to catch BG, who has a one-standard-win advantage on FSU — something like a standard split in the Sault while the Bulldogs win and lose in 3×3 or the shootout.
  7. Lake State – Northern goes to the Wildcats, 2-1-0-1.
  8. Michigan Tech – Minnesota State goes to the Mavericks, 2-1-0-1.

B tiebreakers are a little harder to pick up, but it’s important to note that Lake State has one fewer standard win than the teams around them.  I will re-evaluate B tiebreakers on Saturday along with what I’m hoping will be a five-game prediction for how the last five games of the season will go.

2017-02-18 Weekend Update

What is certain

  1. Bemidji State has won the MacNaughton Cup and will host any postseason series that they play this season.
  2. Michigan Tech and Minnesota State have home ice and are playing for the second seed, with the Mavericks down six points with one game in hand.
  3. Bowling Green has made the playoffs but has to wait to see how the weekend shapes up before knowing how hard defending home ice will be.  Ferris State could catch them tonight with a win over Alaska-Anchorage.

What is uncertain

Most everything else is, but let’s start bottom-to-top:

  1. If Anchorage loses tonight to Ferris, they have a very hard road to the playoffs.  They’d still be stuck at 26 points and no less than four points behind any other team.  If the Bulldogs, Lakers, and Wildcats all won tonight, the Seawolves would have nothing to play for next season outside of the Governor’s Cup and trying to hurt their rival’s seeding.
  2. Alabama-Huntsville is also in a world of hurt: while the the four teams within reach of them — Ferris, Alaska, Lake Superior, and Northern Michigan — aren’t yet out of reach, there are interactions down the stretch: the Nanooks and Lakers tonight; the Lakers and Bulldogs next weekend.  If you are a Charger fan, you are a Maverick and Seawolf fan tonight.
  3. Ferris can pull even with BG with a win tonight, but guess what?  — Fairbanks, Lake State, and Northern can also all get to home ice.  The break line in most scenarios is 42 points.

Expectations for tonight:

As we’ve discussed previously, going to overtime mainly says that the game is a toss-up, and that’s happened about 21% of the time, and it’ll go into 3-on-3 or a shootout about 14% of the time.  Otherwise, here are expected values for tonight’s games:

  1. Ferris State (69%) over Alaska-Anchorage (31%).  The Bulldogs will get a 3-point win 55% of the time to 17% for the Seawolves.
  2. Minnesota State (66%) over Northern Michigan (34%).
  3. Alaska (53%) over Lake Superior (47%).

2016-17 WCHA Week 19 BELOW Ratings

2016-17 Week 19 BELOW

TeamBELOWExpWin%Pts (Max)Max PtsEst Pts
Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 19 of WCHA conference play (124 of 140 games played).

I apologize for the lack of updates last week.  I have the flu, and it just didn’t get done.

Note above that Northern Michigan is 4th in BELOW.  Why?  Atte Tolvanen has shut out five straight opponents, and that’s given them a big boost.  Four of those five wins come against teams well above them in the ratings, and the two shutouts of Bowling Green have BELOW thinking that the Falcons have been grounded.

I’ve added a couple of simple columns to the table this week.  Max points are important, and the estimated total is quite simply points + games * expected winning percentage against the remaining opponents.  It’s very, very crude, but it does give a rough sense of what might be left.

There are 16 games left in the season.  This week, Alaska-Anchorage continues their Michigan swing with a trip to Ferris State; Lake Superior reverses field to play the other Alaska in Fairbanks, and Northern Michigan takes the Tolvanen road show into Mankato to face Minnesota State.  I will have predictions for those series

As for predictions for last week, I blame the flu and bad version management.  I was making some nice changes to the code, but they just didn’t work, and I hadn’t done good VC, so I couldn’t revert to what had previously worked.  I don’t have time to learn that and fix the code, so … code.

2016-17 WCHA Week 18 BELOW Ratings

Ed. Note: This post is back-dated for historical purposes.

2016-17 Week 18 BELOW

Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 18 of WCHA conference play (116 of 140 games played).

Note how you can see NMU’s screaming climb here.

2017-02-04 Saturday Update

Saturday results

  • Alaska-Anchorage 4, Minnesota State 3 (33 BELOW points).  The Seawolves did net an ENG, but as it was the GWG and not one to put the game out of reach, it counts as a +1 win for the Seawolves.
  • Alaska 3, Alabama-Huntsville 0 (20 BELOW points).
  • Bemidji State 4, Michigan Tech 2 (25 BELOW points, ENG).
  • Northern Michigan 3, Bowling Green 0 (32 BELOW points, ENG)

In the Clinch

  • Tech has home ice despite their loss to Bemidji.  They can finish no worse than 4th, as Huntsville (maximum 39 points), Anchorage (43), Northern (43), and BG, Ferris, Lake State (all 47) cannot pass them.  Fairbanks can still finish in 3rd if they win out (51) and the Huskies struggle mightily down the stretch.  In most scenarios, the Nanooks win the B tiebreaker as they would have more standard wins.
  • Bemidji will finish no worse than 2nd, as the above schools and and Mankato (54) cannot pass them.  The race for the MacNaughton is down just two teams: Bemidji State and Michigan Tech.


Friday night was the first in four weeks to have no overtime games.  The 2016-17 WCHA has had overtime games in every weekend with three or more league series.  Overtime games account for 23% of league games overall, breaking down to 8% for 5-on-5, 7% for 3-on-3, and 8% for shootouts.  This 15% tie ratio is actually lower than 2015-16 despite an overall tighter league.

Saturday Probabilities

  • MSU 77% over UAA.
  • UAF 66% over UAH.
  • MTU 64% over BSU.
  • BGSU 65% ove NMU.

A Tiebreaker Update

  • UAF has won their season series with UAH, 2-1-0-0 going into tonight’s matchup.
  • MTU-BSU and BGSU-NMU are still up for grabs.


2016-17 WCHA Week 18, Series 58 Prediction: Northern Michigan (1426) at Bowling Green (1533)

2016-17 Week 18, Series 58: Northern Michigan (1426) at Bowling Green (1533)

BGSU sweeps50.59%
BGSU 5 points (W, OTW)8.99%
NMU Sweeps8.91%
BGSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)6.66%
NMU 5 points (W, OTW)3.82%
NMU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)2.05%

Before NMU smoked UAA — a team that’s no great shakes this year, but a team that BELOW considered to be on par with the Wildcats — it looked like Northern Michigan might be headed for the scrap heap.  Instead, its strong showing against Alaska-Anchorage and the struggles of Alabama-Huntsville could take Walt Kyle off of the hot seat in Marquette.

Chris Bergeron’s team has to find an identity.  Minnesota State has a date against cellar-dweller UAA (who admittedly are a tough out, especially on Friday nights at home), and while the two teams immediately behind them are idle this weekend, the fact of the matter is that BG plays just one series after this weekend — home against UAH to close the season.  It’s put-up or shut-up time at the Mad House on Mercer for a team with just five games to play this month.

2016-17 WCHA Week 18, Series 56 Prediction: Alabama-Huntsville (1358) at Alaska (1477)

2016-17 Week 18, Series 56: Alabama-Huntsville (1358) at Alaska (1477)

UAF sweeps46.63%
UAF 5 points (W, OTW)9.21%
UAH Sweeps8.05%
UAF 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)6.90%
UAH 5 points (W, OTW)3.60%
UAH 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)1.94%

Huntsville’s playoff chances are sinking fast.  UAH hasn’t won a game in regulation since December, and their three wins since Thanksgiving are against Ferris State and Northern Michigan (2x).  The Chargers are all aboard the struggle bus.

Fairbanks is in better shape, as they have eight games remaining, a mark matched only by Alaska-Anchorage and Northern Michigan, the two bottom teams in the league.  UAH can pass the Nanooks with a good weekend, but I’m having a hard time seeing that be reality.

2016-17 WCHA Week 18, Series 55 Prediction: Minnesota State (1623) at Alaska-Anchorage (1350)

2016-17 Week 18, Series 55: Minnesota State (1623) at Alaska-Anchorage (1350)

MSU sweeps56.94%
MSU 5 points (W, OTW)11.78%
MSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)8.81%
UAA Sweeps1.22%
UAA 5 points (W, OTW)1.01%
UAA 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)0.73%

I’ve begun randomizing the BELOW inputs as previously discussed.  In this case, Minnesota State could be estimated to be as high as BELOW 1663 or as low as BELOW 1583, while Alaska-Anchorage could be as high as 1390 or as low as 1310.

Note that the system gives a healthy respect to UAA picking off a game from the Mavericks.  From my output (this is new):

Minnesota State won on 1st night by:

shootout  4.16%, 3v3:  3.71%, 5v5:  4.14%, 1 goal: 13.91%, 2 goals: 11.08%, and 3+ goals: 45.62%.

Minnesota State won on 2nd night by:

shootout  4.17%, 3v3:  3.69%, 5v5:  4.15%, 1 goal: 13.87%, 2 goals: 11.13%, and 3+ goals: 46.04%.

Alaska-Anchorage won on 1st night by:

shootout  4.18%, 3v3:  3.71%, 5v5:  4.15%, 1 goal:  5.34%, 2 goals:  0.00%, and 3+ goals:  0.00%.

Alaska-Anchorage won on 2nd night by:

shootout  4.15%, 3v3:  3.71%, 5v5:  4.12%, 1 goal:  4.93%, 2 goals:  0.03%, and 3+ goals:  0.00%.

The average WCHA game is decided by:

shootout  8.33%, 3v3:  7.41%, 5v5:  8.33%, 1 goal: 27.78%, 2 goals: 22.22%, and 3+ goals: 25.93%.

In comparison, this series was decided by::

shootout  8.33%, 3v3:  7.41%, 5v5:  8.28%, 1 goal: 19.03%, 2 goals: 11.12%, and 3+ goals: 45.83%.

You can see that UAA is never expected to win by more than one goal, which makes sense given the disparity between the teams.  Does this account for results like UAA dropping a 3-goal-margin bomb on Bemidji at the end of 2016?  Not really.