Category Archives: Bemidji State

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 Week 12 BELOW Ratings

2016-17 BELOW, Week 12

TeamWk12 BELOW+/-Wk12 EWP
4-BGSU1561-32 (-29 v MTU, -3 v UAF)59%
2-UAF1447-4 (-7 v UAA, +3 v BGSU)42%
Above are the 2016-17 BELOW rankings after Week 12 of WCHA conference play (74 of 140 games played).

Michigan Tech Leads the BELOW Pack

The Houghton Huskies mushed to the front of the WCHA pack with a strong showing against Bowling Green in Week 11, with 3-1, 2-1 wins over the Falcons.  They are expected to win 79% of the time against an average league opponent, and their 1730 BELOW rating is the highest of the 2016-17 season.

With that said, Bemidji State is still seven points ahead with two games against Alaska-Anchorage that ABOVE expects them to sweep around 52% of the time and widening their point lead 98% of the time.  It’s fairly likely that the Beavers will be +13 ahead in the standings.  I hope to revisit this by the end of the year.

Alabama-Huntsville Stampedes Through Marquette

With a pair of resounding wins, UAH improved to 6-0-1-1 on the road in WCHA play this season, keeping pace with the league leaders for holding down a shot at home ice in the first round of the playoffs, a big mark for a team widely held to be in the cellar this year.

That said, the Chargers’ road home is a tough one.  UAH is 1-0-1-6 at home this year, and they host Minnesota State, Tech, and Bemidji down the stretch while facing Lake Superior, Alaska, and Bowling Green on the road.  Huntsville needs to pick up some games at home if they have any hopes of March hockey in the Rocket City.

Northern Michigan has the biggest slide of the year: picked in the middle of the pack to begin the year, the Wildcats are dead last in the standings and are -163 on the year — that’s as bad as Bemidji has been good (+182).

Minnesota State Falters against Ferris State

It took the Mavericks two power-play goals in the third period on Saturday the 10th to forestall a sweep at the hands of Ferris State, who rocked them 3-0 the previous night.  The Mavs’ performance against Princeton in non-conference play this weekend does leave one wondering how good the Mavs really are at this point.

Bowling Green Sliding

The Falcons had a shot at putting breathing room between themselves and Mankato & Huntsville and just couldn’t execute, taking three losses in four games against Tech and Alaska.  BGSU was the coaches’ and media pick for league favorites this year, but everything that can go wrong seemingly has: players transferring, inconsistent goaltending, scoring going silent, and overall inconsistency.  One can feel the frustration emanating from Ohio — this is a better team than what they’ve showed so far, even though they’re a tenuous third place.

I’ll have BSU-UAA picks for you on Friday.

2016-17 WCHA Series 29 Prediction: Bemidji State at Michigan Tech

2016-17 Week 10, Series 29: Bemidji State (1713) and Michigan Tech (1697)

MTU sweeps36.21%
BSU Sweeps24.46%
MTU 5 points (W, OTW)8.14%
BSU 5 points (W, OTW)5.96%
MTU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)5.44%
BSU 4 points (W, OTL or OTW, OTW)2.81%

The above is not a typo.  These are late because I was checking this so much.

Why is Michigan Tech expected to win?  It’s an artifact of how BELOW works.

Two teams play: their matchup creates an interaction.  Win the interaction and you get some level of points.  If the lower-ranked team wins, they have the chance to flip the script and be the better team.  Because these two teams are so close in BELOW, even if not the standings, Tech can flip into the favored team very easily.  Currently, BSU is only picked for a favorable result at a 52% clip on Friday; if MTU can flip that, especially by a big value, there’s a lot of possibility for change.

Things to note:

  1. Bemidji’s embarrassing sweep by Princeton has nothing to do with BELOW.
  2. Michael Bitzer hasn’t been abducted by aliens (aliens don’t interact with Earth as of yet).

Geof’s subjective prediction: Beavers sweep.  (I hate everything.)