Category Archives: Alaska-Anchorage

2017-18 BELOW, Week 10

Hi, everyone.  While I was off slinging 632 GB down from space (harder than you’d think), the WCHA has played half of its season!  Jimmy.  I’m hoping to catch up here now that 2018 is upon us.  We’ll see.

2017-18 Week 10 BELOW

TeamBELOWExpWin%Week 0 BELOW+/-
Above are the 2017-18 BELOW rankings after Week 10 of WCHA conference play (70 of 140 games played).

As you’d expect, BELOW at the halfway mark pretty well mirrors the league standings.  BELOW still likes Bemidji State, probably because the Beavers have played just 12 games (as have Alaska-Anchorage) while Michigan Tech has played 18 (most in the league; all others have played 14).

Speaking of Tech, they’re the stunning team of the season, free-falling from 1st in BELOW at the start of the season to eighth now due to the second-best league offense (Minnesota State is tops in GF) going unsupported by the second-worst defense (Lake Superior is last in GA).  Where’s the beef, indeed.

Supplanting the Huskies in the standard top-three is Northern Michigan, which has excelled under first-year coach Grant Potulny.  The Wildcats have truly been an excellent team this season.

If you’re new, here’s a decent guide to BELOW.  Note that teams were reverted towards the mean at the start of the season because of the nature of college hockey player turnover.

I’ll be back later this week (hopefully).

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.

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.

2016-17 WCHA Week 16, Series 51 Prediction: Alaska-Anchorage (1412) at Northern Michigan (1364)

2016-17 Week 16, Series 51: Alaska-Anchorage (1616) at Northern Michigan (1697)

UAA sweeps23.34%
NMU Sweeps12.45%
UAA 5 points (W, OTW)10.63%
UAA 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)9.56%
NMU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)8.31%
NMU 5 points (W, OTW)7.55%

Alaska-Anchorage is 1-1-2-4 on the road in the WCHA this season, which is to say that it’s kept is close half of the time.  They should expect to do better against Northern Michigan, who have failed to turn mediocre fundamentals into mediocre results.  Consider:

NMU has:

  • The third-best power play in league play.
  • The fourth-best penalty kill (leaving them -1 net so far).
  • They’re seventh in league scoring (86 GF) and league defense (100 GA).

But also:

  • The three teams behind them in league scoring and defense are all above them (10th, 13 points) in the standings: UAH at (t-6th, 23), LSSU (8th, 22), and UAA (9th, 19).

It has to stick in the Wildcats’ whiskers.  Their road back to the playoffs starts this weekend.

Has Bemidji Clinched a Spot in the 2017 WCHA Playoffs? Yes.

Has Bemidji State clinched a spot in the 2016-17 WCHA Playoffs?  Yes.

Bemidji State152034920
Lake Superior61091916

Northern Michigan has 10 points after 16 games; their maximum is to win 12 more games, which can garner them just 48 points.  BSU is one clear of the Wildcats, and as such, they can do no worse than 9th.

Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska, and Lake Superior each have a say in whether the Beavers have already dammed the pond.  The standings table above shows the situation: all three teams play each other down the stretch.  Here’s what we know:

  1. In a theoretical world, all three teams can get to 50 points, as each team can garner another 36 points for the rest of the season, giving them either 55 (UAF, LSSU) or 52 (UAA) points.
  2. Because these teams do play each other — UAA and UAF in the season’s final week for the Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup; UAA at Lake Superior the second weekend in February (their only meeting); and the Lakers host the Nanooks the following weekend — all three teams cannot go unscathed.
  3. BSU has the A tiebreaker over UAA.  UAF and UAA are 1-1-0, and UAF and LSSU are also 1-1-0.  You can’t get to a three-way A tiebreaker.
  4. The B tiebreaker is 65-minute wins.

To prove that Bemidji hasn’t clinched a playoff spot, we only have to provide one scenario where all of UAF/UAA/LSSU pass the Beavers.  Let’s go.

The team that’s weakest here is Alaska-Anchorage, as they 1) lose at A to Bemidji, 2) have the least conference 65-minute wins of the group, and 3) are the only team to play both of the other two down the stretch.

  1. IF Alaska-Anchorage wins out, they get to 52 points and are ahead of Bemidji.  However, the best that either Alaska or Lake Superior is 49 points, which puts them in a tiebreaker with Bemidji.  But because they play each other, they can’t both get to 49.
  2. IF Alaska-Anchorage wins out save one of their games against UAF, they still lose to Bemidji at 49 in a two-team tie at A.  Alaska could max out at 52 (11-0-0-1), but that means that they defeat Lake Superior twice, seeing them to 10-0-0-2, where they are also at 49.  In a three-way tie, B is the first relevant tiebreaker, which Lake Superior wins 16-15-15.  With Lake Superior removed, Bemidji loses at A.
  3. IF Alaska-Anchorage wins out save one of their games against LSSU, they still lose to Bemidji at 49 in a two-way tie,  Alaska can only max out at 10-0-0-2 down the stretch, giving them 49 points.  That requires Lake Superior to max at 10-0-0-2 for a four way tie at 49 points that starts at B.  For B, Alaska and Lake Superior would tie at 16, while Bemidji and Alaska-Anchorage tie at 15 (and then that tie goes back to A).

You can’t concoct a scenario where all three teams get past 49, since they play each other.  If you start trying to get cute with OTW and OTL, you hurt the teams in the B tiebreaker.

Bemidji is in with 56 league games of 140 overall remaining.  I hate everything.

2016-17 WCHA Week 13 BELOW Ratings

2016-17 BELOW, Week 13

Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 12 of WCHA conference play (76 of 140 games played).

Not so fast, my friend!

Alaska-Anchorage’s upset of Bemidji State, replete with two goals in :35 of the first period of the weekend and then holding the lead throughout and picking up a shorthanded goal with under 3:00 to break the Beavers’ spirits, was impressive.  It also led some UAA fans to pan my prediction for the series, but that prediction had the Seawolves winning around 29.67% of the time, a higher value than FiveThirtyEight assigned to the President-elect.

Despite the loss, Bemidji State now has 46 points.  UAA (12 in 14 games) and Northern Michigan (7 in 14) can max out at 54 and 49 points, respectively.  The teams do play each other, which means that the Wildcats could win out (49) while the Seawolves pick up everything else (48).  Bemidji hasn’t clinched the playoffs yet, but they could easily do it this weekend with a road sweep and wins by FSU and LSSU.

Looking ahead to Week 14

Bemidji State at Bowling Green

The battle at the Madhouse on Mercer is undoubtedly the best series on the slate.  After a slow start to the season, BG has clawed its way into third in the standings, and while they’re 20 points back of the Beavers, they have two games in hand.

The Falcons have to keep their eye on the prize, and that means overcoming the Beavers (66% EWP).  They’d be forgiven for keeping an eye on the tilt in Huntsville this weekend that involves the two teams just behind them in the standings, but you can be sure that Chris Bergeron is telling his players that they can watch those two on Saturday night from their eyrie.

Minnesota State at Alabama-Huntsville

If you had told Charger fans that they’d be tied in the standings column with old Division II foe Mankato coming into the new year, they’d think that you were crazy.  The teams are tied for fourth in the WCHA with 23 points, although the Mavericks have two games in hand on UAH (and BGSU).

The big question for UAH is this: will they bring their road magic home to the Von Braun Center?  This team has been very good on the road (6-0-1-1) and very bad at home (1-0-1-6) — they’re coming off of two stinkers in Minnesota’s Mariucci Classic.  MSU, meanwhile, looks to be a strong favorite (69% EWP over UAH).

Ferris State at Alaska-Anchorage

I don’t think that it’ll be hard for the Bulldogs to have the right mindset for this series.  They just saw what happened to Bemidji, and they know that the three teams ahead of them could all get bloodied this weekend.  Also, win over Bemidji notwithstanding, the Seawolves just have four wins in league play, one in a shootout.

The Seawolves have to have a burst of confidence coming out of the weekend.   They toppled the league’s best team, outscored the Beavers 5-2, and have series splits in their last three weekends.  Have they busted the slide, and can they beat Ferris (72% EWP)?

Northern Michigan at/vs. Lake Superior

The Wildcats and Lakers will face off each of the next two weekends,  with games in Sault Ste. Marie bookending games in Marquette.  The teams are a mess right now: NMU is 2-0-1-11 in league play, with their lone league win in the last two months coming against fellow cellar-dweller Alaska-Anchorage.

The Lakers are better (66% EWP), but that’s not saying very much, with ten losses since giving then-#10 Minnesota State one on the chin in early November.  Their hot start to the season has cooled quite a bit, and they’ve just two league wins since Halloween.  They sit at 8th, but sixth place is just a good weekend away.

Lighter Loads Ahead

The only remaining full slates of games are Weeks 16 and 21.  Alaska and Michigan Tech are off this week, and Bemidji State and Alabama-Huntsville will be off for Week 15, which sees both Alaska teams wing their way to the lower 48.

2016-17 WCHA Week 13, Series 38 Prediction: Bemidji State at Alaska-Anchorage

2016-17 Week 13, Series 38: Bemidji State (1719) at Alaska-Anchorage (1327)

BSU Sweeps51.81%
BSU 5 points (W, OTW)9.19%
BSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)8.84%
UAA 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)2.29%
UAA 5 points (W, OTW)2.00%
UAA sweeps1.91%

I’m not too sure what to say about this one.  The Beavers look like they’ll be the hot knife through the Seawolves’ proverbial butter.  While UAA has been. tough out this season despite losing a ton of games, the only games that BSU has lost this season are:

  • Three games to teams ranked #1 nationally at the time of the game (North Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth),
  • one game to Michigan Tech, the highest-BELOW-rated team at present and the only WCHA team to defeat them,
  • and two games to Princeton, who showed up to the Sanford Center winless but have been on an 8-2 tear since.

That gives me a pretty high confidence in this weekend’s pick.  By BELOW, BSU would be expected to win 91% of the time in a single game between the two.  ABOVE is a little more conservative, figuring that the average game goes to 65+ minutes about 13% of the time.  That inflates the Seawolves’ chances a bit.

2016-17 WCHA Series 27 Prediction (ABOVE 1.3)

ABOVE Prediction for Series 27: Northern Michigan at Alaska-Anchorage

2016-17 Week 10, Series 27: Northern Michigan (1397) at Alaska-Anchorage (1312)

NMU Sweeps34.22%
UAA sweeps12.77%
NMU 5 points (W, OTW)7.10%
NMU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)6.64%
UAA 5 points (W, OTW)4.32%
UAA 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)4.26%

After weeks where picking up any points at all were unlikely occurrences (29% against Michigan Tech, 40% against Bowling Green), Alaska-Anchorage has a weekend hosting a struggling Northern Michigan team where a split or better is a 50-50 proposition.  Matt Thomas’s squad has truly struggled this year, but so has Walt Kyle’s.

These two teams are well at the bottom of the WCHA standings, and while it’s early days yet, neither team needs to dig this deep of a hole.  With 29 goals scored in just 18 combined games, this one could be a snooze-fest, especially to Wildcat fans propping their eyes open for the late games.

For BELOW swings: two NMU routs would raise their BELOW to 1438 and drop UAA’s to 1271 split(9.02% probability).  The reverse would bump UAA to 1379 and drop NMU to 1330 (2.04% probability).  As always, there’s a lot of room for movement in both directions when two teams are fairly close in BELOW.

Geof’s purely subjective prediction: UAA wins in regulation and loses in a shootout.