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North Dakota and St. Cloud State meet in the NCHC quarterfinals, with the season potentially on the line for both (photo: Bradley K. Olson).

Each week during the season, we look at the big events and big games around Division I men’s college hockey in Tuesday Morning Quarterback.

Jim: First off, before we begin today, let me welcome back our colleague Candace Horgan, who is filling in for Paula Weston in today’s TMQ. Always nice to have this back-and-forth conversation with Candace!

The timing for bringing Candace in is excellent as the regular season in the league she covers, the NCHC, is now complete. With playoffs beginning on Friday with best-of-three quarterfinal series, I feel like there are a number of interesting storylines in play.

As if so often the case, the most compelling matchup is the 4 vs. 5 series. But in the NCHC, it carries with it so many storylines. As St. Cloud State travels to North Dakota, both teams are absolutely fighting for their NCAA lives. If either team is swept, its path to the NCAA tournament becomes almost impossible. If the Fighting Hawks lose in three games, there will still be possible paths but it’s a long road.

For St. Cloud State, however, simply advancing isn’t enough. The Huskies are still a game below .500, thus are still ineligible for an at-large bid. Even with a sweep this weekend, St. Cloud State isn’t guaranteed to finish at or above .500 because the NCHC has a third-place game.

Considering that St. Cloud State is facing the defending national champions, both fighting for an NCAA bid, might this be the best storyline brewing in the NCHC playoffs?

Candace: The first thing to remember is that NCHC consolation game. In some scenarios, that could be crucial to St. Cloud State. The consolation game is often a glorified practice, such as last year between Denver and North Dakota, but sometimes it’s important. Three years ago, North Dakota had to win the consolation game and then Wisconsin had to beat Ohio State for NoDak to make the NCAA tourney. You can just imagine the intensity North Dakota brought in that game.

The 4-vs.-5 series is often the one to watch, and this one is no exception. North Dakota finished strong in sweeping Miami, while St. Cloud lost to last-place Colorado College to end its regular season. North Dakota coach Brad Berry pointed out to me last week that his team has been getting the chances and playing well, but not getting the bounces. Last weekend seems to show North Dakota moving in the right direction.

Last weekend did see some upsets in the conference playoffs. New Hampshire knocked off Merrimack, and Niagara stunned RIT. The others were business as usual.

What stood out to you from last weekend, and what non-NCHC series are you excited about?

Jim: Mostly business as usual, that is. Colgate might disagree.

The Raiders were literally a second away from upsetting Princeton and advancing to the quarterfinals. But a Tigers goal in the final second of Saturday’s Game 2 forced overtime, which they won. And then despite falling behind early on Sunday, Princeton rallied for the final two goals and hung on for a 2-1 victory to survive.

The story of RIT’s loss to Niagara might be equally as painful. In the opening game, the Tigers led 4-2 and were on the power play late when the Purple Eagles closed the gap to one. An extra-attacker goal tied the game in the final minute. But Niagara took a very late penalty. Thinking the game is headed to overtime with RIT on the power play, somehow not only did the Tigers lose the puck on the offensive zone draw to start the power play, but Niagara skated 3-on-1 and scored another short-handed goal, this time the game-winner with 10 seconds to play. Even thought RIT bounced back on Saturday, Niagara found a way to win on Sunday and advance.

That really does tell the story of how the postseason allows a team to hit the reset button. Niagara was healthier this weekend than it has been all season, and RIT was fighting injuries and illness. Niagara found the life to survive and advance. New Hampshire was a similar situation where it faced a red-hot Merrimack team but somehow hit the reset button and rallied for victories in Games 2 and 3.

But what really stood out to me was the number of playoff games across all four leagues in the playoffs that weren’t even close. Vermont routed Maine by a total of 10-1. Northeastern outscored Connecticut 9-3. Quinnipiac swept Brown by an 11-2 margin. And Michigan Tech ran Lake Superior out of the building by a total of 14-4, including an 8-0 win in Game 2.

I always think of playoffs as being the time of year where we get barnburners and multiple overtimes. Not the case in so many series this weekend.

I think that will change this upcoming weekend. Four leagues play quarterfinal series while the WCHA heads to its best-of-three semifinals. North Dakota and St. Cloud State aren’t the only teams fighting for an NCAA future.

Providence and Notre Dame (yet another 4-vs.-5 series) could decide whether each team makes the NCAA field. Notre Dame is the bubble team (currently 14th in the PairWise) while Providence is only three spots ahead in 11th. If Notre Dame loses the series, its season is likely over, a tough blow considering the Irish’s proximity to Frozen Four host Chicago. Providence is on better footing, but losing to the Irish would mean a lot of scoreboard watching a week later.

Candace: There have seemed to me to be several more teams on the bubble that we wouldn’t have expected to be there.

Providence had really turned its season around and is in good position. Boston College, however, which shared the Hockey East regular season crown, likely needs to win the Hockey East tournament to continue its season. Standing in BC’s way is Vermont, which also is on the bubble. Notre Dame is a conference upset away from being in trouble. Ohio State has had a good season but played its way out of contention and needs to win the Big Ten tourney.

The WCHA likely will get only one team in the NCAAs. Bemidji State was in danger of getting knocked out after a good regular season but rallied. You said that the playoffs allow a team to reset its season, but a best-of-three also allows a good team to reset after a poor game. Would you agree? It’s why I favor best-of-three series in the first round.

Jim: I definitely prefer a three-game series. I think 99 times out of 100, the team that plays the better hockey over a three-game set usually comes out on top. You can’t say that for a single-elimination game. Obviously, timelines don’t allow for college hockey to use a best-of-three format in the conference tournaments (conference final in the WCHA’s case) or the NCAA tourney, which is why you certainly seem to have more upsets in those games.

Before we close this week, I did want to take a second to mention Seth Appert, who was relieved of his coaching duties Monday at Rensselaer after 11 seasons behind its bench. We didn’t cross paths too often but I always have enjoyed talking with him. His Engineers had a tough season, which prompted the change, but it’s never easy to watch a coach — particularly one who has been with a program for an extended period of time — to lose his job.

Candace: I had the pleasure of meeting Seth on several occasions when Rensselaer came to Denver; the first time was right after he had taken the reins there. I’m sad to see him go. RPI is a tough program because of the academics. Seth had seemed to be on the verge of really getting things together a couple of times, but it just didn’t happen. Regardless, I wish him well and hope to see him in the college ranks again soon.

Before the season is over, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a few more teams looking for new coaches for next season.

You’ve got mail

Denver’s Henrik Borgström has been having an outstanding rookie season. He electrifies fans and his teammates with some of the goals he scores. Do you think he will be back next season? It’s wonderful to see players like that in the college game, but it also seems to be hard to keep them there for very long. — Tim C. from Denver

Jim: Well, this is a perfect question for a week where Candace is here as she’s seen Borgström in person many, many times. I’ve watched him on film a lot, though, and feel like he is a human highlight reel. Those hands combined with such a skating ability makes him stand out.

As for whether he’ll return, that is really up to the Florida Panthers. But we can look at some facts and stats. First-round draft picks, in recent years, have typically not lasted on their college team for more than one season after being drafted. He is listed at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, although that likely was a preseason weight. Assuming he’s put on a little weight this season, he likely is more than ready for the NHL.

Candace: Borgström is definitely ready for the NHL. He has incredible hands and moves, and I’ve seen him several times make plays and score goals that other players just don’t see. It’s been a treat to cover him. However, he has indicated on a few occasions that he would like to stay with Denver another year. While some first-round players have bolted, others have stayed, as have players who were likely ready to play in the NHL even before going to college, like Jonathan Toews and T.J. Oshie, who both played for North Dakota. Denver had Tyler Bozek a few years back, and he played two seasons. I think Borgström might come back for another season, but if Denver wins the national championship, it also wouldn’t surprise me to see him in Florida red next season.

Want your question answered in next week’s TMQ? Email it to jim.connelly@uscho.com.

  • Vinnie Vega

    As compelling as the 4,5 in HEA is the 3,6. I actually like UVM here.
    UML in 2
    UVM in 3
    PC in 3
    BU in 3

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Vermont is a tough team. I can definitely see them beating BC.

      • Vinnie Vega

        Definitely. I also hope we send Notre Dame off with a fitting going away present…a PC spanking!

        • UofMGoldenChokers

          I’m torn on the PC/ugly helmets match up. I’d absolutely love to see notre lose, but I dont want them passing up UND for a tourney spot. Granted, it all depends on what UND does first round…..but if notre wins it could also help UND move up. I guess I’ll just go for Prov…..solely based on how ugly notre’s helmets are.

          • Vinnie Vega
          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Ha ha ha….pretty much.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Just never liked any ‘metallic’ helmets…on anybody.

          • gimruis

            Golden Domers

          • Vinnie Vega

            Last time they were out here. I had the ultimate conflict. I got to watch the third period with former ND and Ex-Penguin Mark Eaton (I’m a Pens fan). He was there scouting for the Blackhawks. Great guy, but was obviously rooting for the wrong team. UML had a one goal lead late and ND tied it up with like 1:30 left. Ended in a tie. Like kissing your sister, but the company was good.

        • Sparky

          Somebody tell me, what happened to BU, BC and ND? I still think BU will advance in the NT, but I expected them to dominant right about now.

          • Denver_hockey

            Just proof that talent doesn’t always equate to playing together as a team well. BU has by far, the most talented team in the country.

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            Agree BU is the most talented team in CH. They are also the youngest team in CH. The youth has worked against them in close/tight games.

          • Denver_hockey

            They’re gonna stay a young team if they keep adding all these first/second round hotshots to their team. I’m not saying they shouldn’t recruit the best, but coaching becomes that much more difficult when you do.

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            59 other CH coaches would kill to have that prob. Not an easy task for sure but one worth the effort. So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.

          • Denver_hockey

            I don’t know if ALL 59 other coaches would. Probably 54/59 would though. Some coaches actually do like the mix of young players and 4-year type players. See Jim Montgomery, Denver.

          • Vinnie Vega

            I’ll take 4 yr guys with a good work ethic over 1 hit wonders any day.

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            A mix of blue chippers w/ 4 yr guys for me but then we are discussing something we will never experience firsthand. But I like watching it.
            Wife-“House is on fire?!”
            Me-“I’ll be out after the period ends! Hey grab my Herb Brooks jersey on the way out!”

          • Vinnie Vega

            I guess if UML was actually even looking at blue chippers, I might agree. As it stands now, it just not part of their recruiting scheme. The highest # of draftees I can ever remember on any given UML team is 4. None ever higher than a 4th or 5th rounder.

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            Evan Campbell is UML’s highest draft pick…5th round.
            2017-2018 incomer CHARLES LEVESQUE could go in the upcoming draft.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Good old Soupy. Love that guy. Missed most of last year to injury. Never really rose to his full potential, I thought. Hopefully Charles breaks the mold!

          • riverchief

            Really, really hoping he goes on a playoff tear and scores a few goals. He’s been snake bit all season.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Yup and has a bit of the sandpaper I like. He works harder than almost anybody but Gambardella, wins faceoffs, he just can’t buy a goal.

          • riverchief

            Actually when Ron Hainsey played two seasons for Lowell in 1999-2001, he was the 13th overall pick in the draft by Montreal. He was the highest drafted player Lowell has had. But you’re right, most are in that 4th-6th round that we get which is fine, more apt to stay around longer.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Just very young. Mistake prone and a lack of discipline is my take.

        • riverchief

          Yes, no trophies for Fake Hockey East. They’ve already been denied the regular season title so hopefully PC will end any hope of a tournament title. The ultimate would be if PC eliminates them, that it jeopardizes the NCAAs too as don’t want them representing HE. Never belonged in league to begin with although we’ll miss the easy two points Lowell got 99% of the time playing them.

  • Vinnie Vega

    As compelling as the 4,5 in HEA is the 3,6. I actually like UVM here.
    UML in 2
    UVM in 3
    PC in 3
    BU in 3

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Vermont is a tough team. I can definitely see them beating BC.

      • Vinnie Vega

        Definitely. I also hope we send Notre Dame off with a fitting going away present…a PC spanking!

        • UofMGoldenChokers

          I’m torn on the PC/ugly helmets match up. I’d absolutely love to see notre lose, but I dont want them passing up UND for a tourney spot. Granted, it all depends on what UND does first round…..but if notre wins it could also help UND move up. I guess I’ll just go for Prov…..solely based on how ugly notre’s helmets are.

          • Vinnie Vega
          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Ha ha ha….pretty much.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Just never liked any ‘metallic’ helmets…on anybody.

          • gimruis

            Golden Domers

          • Vinnie Vega

            Last time they were out here. I had the ultimate conflict. I got to watch the third period with former ND and Ex-Penguin Mark Eaton (I’m a Pens fan). He was there scouting for the Blackhawks. Great guy, but was obviously rooting for the wrong team. UML had a one goal lead late and ND tied it up with like 1:30 left. Ended in a tie. Like kissing your sister, but the company was good.

        • Sparky

          Somebody tell me, what happened to BU, BC and ND? I still think BU will advance in the NT, but I expected them to dominant right about now.

          • Denver_hockey

            Just proof that talent doesn’t always equate to playing together as a team well. BU has by far, the most talented team in the country.

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            Agree BU is the most talented team in CH. They are also the youngest team in CH. The youth has worked against them in close/tight games.

          • Denver_hockey

            They’re gonna stay a young team if they keep adding all these first/second round hotshots to their team. I’m not saying they shouldn’t recruit the best, but coaching becomes that much more difficult when you do.

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            59 other CH coaches would kill to have that prob. Not an easy task for sure but one worth the effort. So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.

          • Denver_hockey

            I don’t know if ALL 59 other coaches would. Probably 54/59 would though. Some coaches actually do like the mix of young players and 4-year type players. See Jim Montgomery, Denver.

          • Vinnie Vega

            I’ll take 4 yr guys with a good work ethic over 1 hit wonders any day.

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            A mix of blue chippers w/ 4 yr guys for me but then we are discussing something we will never experience firsthand. But I like watching it.
            Wife-“House is on fire?!”
            Me-“I’ll be out after the period ends! Hey grab my Herb Brooks jersey on the way out!”

          • Vinnie Vega

            I guess if UML was actually even looking at blue chippers, I might agree. As it stands now, it just not part of their recruiting scheme. The highest # of draftees I can ever remember on any given UML team is 4. None ever higher than a 4th or 5th rounder.

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            Evan Campbell is UML’s highest draft pick…5th round.
            2017-2018 incomer CHARLES LEVESQUE could go in the upcoming draft.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Good old Soupy. Love that guy. Missed most of last year to injury. Never really rose to his full potential, I thought. Hopefully Charles breaks the mold!

          • riverchief

            Really, really hoping he goes on a playoff tear and scores a few goals. He’s been snake bit all season.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Yup and has a bit of the sandpaper I like. He works harder than almost anybody but Gambardella, wins faceoffs, he just can’t buy a goal.

          • riverchief

            Actually when Ron Hainsey played two seasons for Lowell in 1999-2001, he was the 13th overall pick in the draft by Montreal. He was the highest drafted player Lowell has had. But you’re right, most are in that 4th-6th round that we get which is fine, more apt to stay around longer.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Just very young. Mistake prone and a lack of discipline is my take.

        • riverchief

          Yes, no trophies for Fake Hockey East. They’ve already been denied the regular season title so hopefully PC will end any hope of a tournament title. The ultimate would be if PC eliminates them, that it jeopardizes the NCAAs too as don’t want them representing HE. Never belonged in league to begin with although we’ll miss the easy two points Lowell got 99% of the time playing them.

  • gimruis

    North Dakota could still squeak into the NCAA’s if they lose 2 of 3 to St Cloud. St Cloud HAS to win that series to extend their season, not only because they’re 18th in the pairwise, but their record is also a game below .500. St Cloud is the more desperate team.

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Going to be tough for the Sioux this weekend. They haven’t played great, by any means, at home this season.

    • Denver_hockey

      There’s too many other teams in the mix. Neither team will get in if North Dakota loses 2/3 unless St. Cloud wins a game at the Frozen Faceoff.. Don’t forget about Omaha either. If they sweep the #4 team in the pairwise on the road their ranking will skyrocket into contention.

      • gimruis

        You could be right. I was only stating that there’s a chance North Dakota could squeak in even if they lose this series, whereas there is NO chance St Cloud can, not only because of their pairwise ranking but also simply because they would be ineligible.

        • Denver_hockey

          You are right but they would need A LOT of help.

  • gimruis

    North Dakota could still squeak into the NCAA’s if they lose 2 of 3 to St Cloud. St Cloud HAS to win that series to extend their season, not only because they’re 18th in the pairwise, but their record is also a game below .500. St Cloud is the more desperate team.

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Going to be tough for the Sioux this weekend. They haven’t played great, by any means, at home this season.

    • Denver_hockey

      There’s too many other teams in the mix. Neither team will get in if North Dakota loses 2/3 unless St. Cloud wins a game at the Frozen Faceoff.. Don’t forget about Omaha either. If they sweep the #4 team in the pairwise on the road their ranking will skyrocket into contention.

      • gimruis

        You could be right. I was only stating that there’s a chance North Dakota could squeak in even if they lose this series, whereas there is NO chance St Cloud can, not only because of their pairwise ranking but also simply because they would be ineligible.

        • Denver_hockey

          You are right but they would need A LOT of help.

  • Let’s roll Husks!! College hockey nation is behind you!! #ONWISCONSON

  • Let’s roll Husks!! College hockey nation is behind you!! #ONWISCONSON

  • DU_Fan

    Congrats, Jim. Having Candace fill in is a coup for CH fans. Us NCHC followers know exactly how accurate and detailed all her columns are. Coaches, and players, in the NCHC seem to enjoy granting her interviews. Since she actually watches other leagues play, Candace brings an overall perspective of college hockey few exhibit. Would recommend your readers to occasionally check out her blog. Perhaps, you can ponder having her as a rotating guest columnist, at least every other week, next year. Jim brings a specific knowledge of Eastern hockey, Candace brings a special knowledge of Western hockey and college hockey in general, making for a winning combination for CH fans.

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • Candace

      Thanks DU_fan, and all the other NCHC fans who read my stuff. I really appreciate the nice words, and hope to keep delivering good content for you. It’s a privilege to work the NCHC beat, which has such knowledgeable fans!!

      • UofMGoldenChokers

        Was doing some research on Rocky Mountain National Park and came across an article in the USA Today about backcountry camping written by Candace Horgan…great info! Unless there is another Candace Horgan out there writing stuff.

        • Candace

          Nope, that’s me too!

          • Sparky

            What makes this extra special is that Candace didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn!!

          • DU_Fan

            Nice one, Sparky. Hope everyone else got that spoof.

      • don’t forget me Candy

        • Let’sPlayHockey

          To Candee-“If I didn’t have puke breath, I’d kiss you”-Wisco

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Ha ha ha…best comment of the day.

          • jerry.stansbury@mail.ru

            I have earned 104000 bucks in 2016 by freelancing from home and I was able to do it by working in my own time for few hrs /day. I’m using a business model I was introduced by this website i found on-line and I am so excited that i made so much extra income. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so blessed that i found this. Here’s what I do… http://urlof­.­site/l1AWf

          • I don’t puke. Ever

          • Roaring Aardvark

            That Pine-Sol breath suggests otherwise…

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            Mr. Clean

          • Polo sport

    • Sparky

      This. Candace is the bomb. Somebody needs to buy her a camera stand for her post-game interviews though…:)

    • Denver_hockey

      I’d trade a national championship for him going to the NHL.

      • Sparky

        DU will win the NC for three reasons. Tanner Jaillet, Henrik Borgstrom, and Troy Terry. Terry is going to score a goal, somewhere along the way, akin to Nick Schmaltz’s goal against DU in the FF. I think Terry is a bit overlooked, even with his exploits at the world Jr tourney. Terry is sneaky good, he seems to score at critical times…from what I have seen.

        • Denver_hockey

          I’ve seen them have a damn good team and lose in the first round to the #4 seed on multiple occasions (Against Miami AND RIT). Other than last year, they have been HORRID in the NCAA tournament since 2005. Terry is overlooked a bit, as is Gambrell. The guys that nobody talks about are Finlay and Lukosevicius; Those guys can score goals also. This team is scary good, but then again I said the same thing in 2010 and they lost to freaking RIT.

          • Sparky

            Those teams were not coached by Montgomery. I think Gwoz was a great coach at DU, but Montgomery has brought something new to DU hockey that is obvious when you watch this team play. DU has a calm demeanor on the ice….just like UND had last year. Only way DU does not win the NC is if Jaillet has a brainfarct.

          • Denver_hockey

            I agree 100%. The team is more disciplined under Monty than Gwoz. They take less stupid penalties and there are less defensive breakdowns. I will never say a bad word about the legend Gwoz and how upset I was when they let him go, but it looks like they dodged a major bullet and perhaps got an even better coach.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            I do miss Gwoz and his dasher dancing.

          • DU_Fan

            He is dancing at Valor Christian. Got them improving but not in playoffs yet. Monarch and Regis Jesuit still class of CHSAA

          • Schmitty

            Pity I didn’t know about college hockey until later that year. Would’ve been great to see the Tigers in Detroit…

    • Atanarjuart

      Well, of course, there’s no hockey in-between east or west. Must keep the NCHC readers happy or, by God, you’ll hear from them.

      • DU_Fan

        Finally, a B1G fan takes the bait. Are you having Paula withdrawals already?

        • gimruis

          Fresh meat!

        • Atanarjuart

          Sorry, I prefer Beaver. Bemidji Beaver, that is.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Lighten up, Francis.

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            *Groomed Bemidji Beaver

          • DU_Fan

            Wow, guess you consider Minnesota the heartland on middle America. Now if you were sticking up for Alabama-Huntsville, or even Bowling Green, I could understand.

          • Atanarjuart

            Ok… I also like Seawolf. Does that help?

          • DU_Fan

            Always helps. There really aren’t many schools in the middle. Would think PSU and OSU qualify, but not those in Michigan or Minnesota.

      • UofMGoldenChokers

        Sorry, we like informed writing from people that actually watch games from around the country and not just one league or state.

        • UofMGoldenCh0kers

          Preferably we want them to slant everything to the NCHC which is really the only conference that has any good teams anywhere ever.

  • DU_Fan

    Congrats, Jim. Having Candace fill in is a coup for CH fans. Us NCHC followers know exactly how accurate and detailed all her columns are. Coaches, and players, in the NCHC seem to enjoy granting her interviews. Since she actually watches other leagues play, Candace brings an overall perspective of college hockey few exhibit. Would recommend your readers to occasionally check out her blog. Perhaps, you can ponder having her as a rotating guest columnist, at least every other week, next year. Jim brings a specific knowledge of Eastern hockey, Candace brings a special knowledge of Western hockey and college hockey in general, making for a winning combination for CH fans.

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • Candace

      Thanks DU_fan, and all the other NCHC fans who read my stuff. I really appreciate the nice words, and hope to keep delivering good content for you. It’s a privilege to work the NCHC beat, which has such knowledgeable fans!!

      • UofMGoldenChokers

        Was doing some research on Rocky Mountain National Park and came across an article in the USA Today about backcountry camping written by Candace Horgan…great info! Unless there is another Candace Horgan out there writing stuff.

        • Candace

          Nope, that’s me too!

          • Sparky

            What makes this extra special is that Candace didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn!!

          • DU_Fan

            Nice one, Sparky. Hope everyone else got that spoof.

      • don’t forget me Candy

        • Let’sPlayHockey

          To Candee-“If I didn’t have puke breath, I’d kiss you”-Wisco

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Ha ha ha…best comment of the day.

          • jerry.stansbury@mail.ru

            I have earned 104000 bucks in 2016 by freelancing from home and I was able to do it by working in my own time for few hrs /day. I’m using a business model I was introduced by this website i found on-line and I am so excited that i made so much extra income. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so blessed that i found this. Here’s what I do… http://urlof­.­site/l1AWf

          • I don’t puke. Ever

          • Roaring Aardvark

            That Pine-Sol breath suggests otherwise…

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            Mr. Clean

          • Polo sport

    • Sparky

      This. Candace is the bomb. Somebody needs to buy her a camera stand for her post-game interviews though…:)

    • Denver_hockey

      I’d trade a national championship for him going to the NHL.

      • Sparky

        DU will win the NC for three reasons. Tanner Jaillet, Henrik Borgstrom, and Troy Terry. Terry is going to score a goal, somewhere along the way, akin to Nick Schmaltz’s goal against DU in the FF. I think Terry is a bit overlooked, even with his exploits at the world Jr tourney. Terry is sneaky good, he seems to score at critical times…from what I have seen.

        • Denver_hockey

          I’ve seen them have a damn good team and lose in the first round to the #4 seed on multiple occasions (Against Miami AND RIT). Other than last year, they have been HORRID in the NCAA tournament since 2005. Terry is overlooked a bit, as is Gambrell. The guys that nobody talks about are Finlay and Lukosevicius; Those guys can score goals also. This team is scary good, but then again I said the same thing in 2010 and they lost to freaking RIT.

          • Sparky

            Those teams were not coached by Montgomery. I think Gwoz was a great coach at DU, but Montgomery has brought something new to DU hockey that is obvious when you watch this team play. DU has a calm demeanor on the ice….just like UND had last year. Only way DU does not win the NC is if Jaillet has a brainfarct.

          • Denver_hockey

            I agree 100%. The team is more disciplined under Monty than Gwoz. They take less stupid penalties and there are less defensive breakdowns. I will never say a bad word about the legend Gwoz and how upset I was when they let him go, but it looks like they dodged a major bullet and perhaps got an even better coach.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            I do miss Gwoz and his dasher dancing.

          • DU_Fan

            He is dancing at Valor Christian. Got them improving but not in playoffs yet. Monarch and Regis Jesuit still class of CHSAA

          • Schmitty

            Pity I didn’t know about college hockey until later that year. Would’ve been great to see the Tigers in Detroit…

    • Atanarjuart

      Well, of course, there’s no hockey in-between east or west. Must keep the NCHC readers happy or, by God, you’ll hear from them.

      • DU_Fan

        Finally, a B1G fan takes the bait. Are you having Paula withdrawals already?

        • gimruis

          Fresh meat!

        • Atanarjuart

          Sorry, I prefer Beaver. Bemidji Beaver, that is.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Lighten up, Francis.

          • Let’sPlayHockey

            *Groomed Bemidji Beaver

          • DU_Fan

            Wow, guess you consider Minnesota the heartland on middle America. Now if you were sticking up for Alabama-Huntsville, or even Bowling Green, I could understand.

          • Atanarjuart

            Ok… I also like Seawolf. Does that help?

          • DU_Fan

            Always helps. There really aren’t many schools in the middle. Would think PSU and OSU qualify, but not those in Michigan or Minnesota.

      • UofMGoldenChokers

        Sorry, we like informed writing from people that actually watch games from around the country and not just one league or state.

        • UofMGoldenCh0kers

          Preferably we want them to slant everything to the NCHC which is really the only conference that has any good teams anywhere ever.

  • adamsjeffersonmadison

    Jim says, “…obviously, timelines don’t allow for College Hockey to use a best of 3 format in the Conference Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, which is why…..”

    So, Jim, just exactly why is that so? When I was a kid, College Football teams played 8 games a season, then a decade later it became 10 games a season, and now it’s upwards of 13 games a season not even including bowl games. Back in the day, all bowl games were played before New Year’s Day except the 4 major bowl games which were all played only on New Year’s Day. Now, none of the major bowl games are played on New Year’s Day, and the final bowl game now approaches mid January before the season ends.
    A few decades ago, college hockey teams (especially Eastern teams,) played roughly a 20 game regular season. Now it’s 36 or so games. Without trying to prescribe the better solution here and now, it’s clear from the fan base, and even from the players, that the current system is unfairly skewed and unfair. Whether it’s more games in the tournaments, an improved Pairwise process, an unbiased selection process, and more, things must CHANGE.
    No….it is not obvious to me!

    • Schmitty

      The selection process is already unbiased. Having problems with which team gets placed where I understand, but a mathematical formula cannot harbor bias.

      And your best-of-3 series would actually make things more unfair than they already are. Lower seeds already have a hard-enough time as it is.

      • Sparky

        This is a great retort….mostly because the presidents guy made little sense in his statement. Too few games? Too many? Unfair…but how? He wants the author, one guy, to offer the exact mechanism for a fair NT? I mean, wth????

      • Vinnie Vega

        The math doesn’t lie, but the data that makes up the formula can be biased or more accurately, be unfair. For instance, as it stands now there is no provision to reward a team that stays in the top 16 in the pairwise for many weeks in a row. Also, the formula as it is now does not punish a weak SOS sufficiently (See Penn State, most of the year).

        • Denver_hockey

          It does punish a weak SOS to some extent. Penn State has the 7th best record in the country but is ranked 9th. There’s no such thing as a perfect formula. Their SOS isn’t horrible either – They’ve played some good teams.

          • Vinnie Vega

            If you looked at the PWR in mid January that wasn’t the case.

          • Denver_hockey

            But the Pairwise from mid January doesn’t matter… at all.

        • DU_Fan

          The data can’t be biased, facts are facts (not alternate facts). If your point was this method is unfair, you should try to blame the formula. Since nobody really knows the formula/algorithms that PWR uses, your argument loses steam. If you “rewarded” every team that stays in the top 16 for many weeks, the NC$$ would have to expand to taking 24 teams or more.

          • Vinnie Vega

            I thought I said that it was unfair, hence blaming the formula. I don’t really know what the formula is, but I do know that the two things I called out are accurate.

            Why would they have to expand? You make the reward a numerical value that’s built in to the mystery formula. How does that change the # of teams in?

          • Denver_hockey

            You called out something that is completely irrelevant now and the tournament teams haven’t even been selected yet. Isn’t that all that the PWR is technically good for anyway?

          • Vinnie Vega

            Relevant that PSU not being punished early on allowed them to hang around in an artificially high PWR # that contributed to them being in the discussion for an at-large bid now. When in reality, probably should be lower.

          • Denver_hockey

            I don’t think there’s any “hang around” in the PWR, it’s all computer-based. They have the 7th best record in the country with the 25th best schedule. That sounds good enough for an at-large bid to me. The PWR not like the NCAA football rankings where teams get ranked based on the history of their program (Nebraska).

          • Vinnie Vega

            Record is over-valued, when considering their SOS, especially early on (until Big 10 play started). They were down around 35th.

          • fcc56

            Not @ anyone in particular, but the PWR is really just for entertaining the fans. Using RPI straight up gives the same result. Now, if you want to argue about the RPI formula, that’s fair game.

            SOS is always a tough nut because (of course) teams don’t all play each other. If the great majority of your games are in-conference, some assumptions need to be made regarding relative conference strength to derive an SOS rating. If the assumption is that your conference is strongest, you get an automatic SOS boost just for playing league games.

            For years there was an “assumption bias” in favor of the old WCHA that was readily apparent in the KRACH (despite the efforts of KRACH supporters to deny it—the KRACH baseline SOS rating begins with an assumption about conference strength).

          • DU_Fan

            Thought you meant data was flawed, when you said data that makes up the formula can be biased. The formula that PWR uses is a well-kept secret, no public knowledge. The reason I said you have to expand is there are more teams than the current 16 (really 14 when you consider auto-bids) that have been in the in the PWR for more than a few weeks during the year. These include BC, Ohio State, and SCSU. How would you “reward” these teams, if not to add them to the tourney?

          • Denver_hockey

            Add a NIT for hockey? Kidding of course…

          • Vinnie Vega

            So, why wouldn’t working a number that is added into the matrix that determines the PWR work? It would be no different than now, just a bit more fair. You’d still have a top 16, you’d still have auto-bid (even though I hate them) and you’d still have your top secret criteria for choosing who’s in and who’s out.

          • DU_Fan

            Problem with your scenario, as I see it, is that you reward a team that is on the downswing at the end of the year. You would have to eliminate teams that get “hot” at the right time of the year, in order to accommodate teams that maybe were good in December, but not so much now. It would favor the teams that have soft OOC schedule, before league play begins, over those with tougher schedules early. Since you were complaining about PSU, I’d think you would not appreciate this scenario at all.

          • Vinnie Vega

            If the secret formula (SF) is weighted properly (fairly), that wouldn’t be the case. Hot teams would be buoyed by Record, quality wins, NC schedule, etc.

          • DU_Fan

            You are correct, and I agree, weighted properly. If staying in PWR top 16 is your criteria though, scheduling Bentley, ASU, and Niagara as your first six games would pretty much guarantee being in top tier through December. RPIPWR gets more “factual” as more games are played, thus win-loss becomes important early.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Not if SOS is properly weighted. There’s no way in hell that anyone can say with a straight face that teams like PSU belonged as a #1 PWR seed, but yet, there they were. SOS should have quelled that, but didn’t because, record is weighted too prominently.

          • DU_Fan

            I totally agree SOS is most important, some will say I am biased because of NCHC. The age-old question becomes which is more important, record or SOS though. Other than HE and NCHC fans, there are many that say the SOS discriminates against those leagues that are stuck playing who they play. I think both arguments have merit, you and I are in the same SOS category.

          • Vinnie Vega

            It really doesn’t though. Nobody tells these guys to load up on cupcakes in the first half, but lots of teams do. I was actually really glad Bazin started scheduling NCHC teams. It can only help SOS and NC. It’s definitely the reason, IMO that they are the #1 HEA team in the PWR.

          • DU_Fan

            Since schedules are made up years in advance, you really don’t know how strong the teams will be that you play. Plus, only so many OOC games are played, most “quality” teams are already taken. Just playing devil’s advocate. Maybe cupcakes are only available.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Maybe you’re right about being the only ones left, maybe not. I’d say if available, scheduling NCHC, HEA, and even ECAC (top 2 or 3) are fairly safe bets in boosting your SOS and NC. But it does work both ways. Not sure if I’m Denver, I’d want to schedule AIC.

          • DU_Fan

            We have an advantage. Every year we play BU, BC, or both. Usually play another HEA or ECAC team. Plus, we always play AF (don’t laugh), who always plays hard for the full 60. I agree scheduling the best available pays off, not just SOS but also a good early indicator of your team.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Well, having played UMD, CC, and Omaha this year and going 3-1-2 didn’t hurt us in the PWR. I hope you guys are on the schedule next year.

        • Schmitty

          Teams shouldn’t be rewarded for being in the top 16 and then dropping out. It’s not about how you start, or how you do for a stretch down the middle — it’s about how you finish. (Though I would assert that teams that have good enough stretches to keep them in the top 16 for a while probably make the Dance anyway.)

          Also — why do you hate autobids? The tournament is for them, officially speaking. Everyone else that makes it is having a favor done for them.

        • TacomaTim

          But Penn St in the tourney would be a great story!…

  • adamsjeffersonmadison

    Jim says, “…obviously, timelines don’t allow for College Hockey to use a best of 3 format in the Conference Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, which is why…..”

    So, Jim, just exactly why is that so? When I was a kid, College Football teams played 8 games a season, then a decade later it became 10 games a season, and now it’s upwards of 13 games a season not even including bowl games. Back in the day, all bowl games were played before New Year’s Day except the 4 major bowl games which were all played only on New Year’s Day. Now, none of the major bowl games are played on New Year’s Day, and the final bowl game now approaches mid January before the season ends.
    A few decades ago, college hockey teams (especially Eastern teams,) played roughly a 20 game regular season. Now it’s 36 or so games. Without trying to prescribe the better solution here and now, it’s clear from the fan base, and even from the players, that the current system is unfairly skewed and unfair. Whether it’s more games in the tournaments, an improved Pairwise process, an unbiased selection process, and more, things must CHANGE.
    No….it is not obvious to me!

    • Schmitty

      The selection process is already unbiased. Having problems with which team gets placed where I understand, but a mathematical formula cannot harbor bias.

      And your best-of-3 series would actually make things more unfair than they already are. Lower seeds already have a hard-enough time as it is.

      • Sparky

        This is a great retort….mostly because the presidents guy made little sense in his statement. Too few games? Too many? Unfair…but how? He wants the author, one guy, to offer the exact mechanism for a fair NT? I mean, wth????

      • Vinnie Vega

        The math doesn’t lie, but the data that makes up the formula can be biased or more accurately, be unfair. For instance, as it stands now there is no provision to reward a team that stays in the top 16 in the pairwise for many weeks in a row. Also, the formula as it is now does not punish a weak SOS sufficiently (See Penn State, most of the year).

        • Denver_hockey

          It does punish a weak SOS to some extent. Penn State has the 7th best record in the country but is ranked 9th. There’s no such thing as a perfect formula. Their SOS isn’t horrible either – They’ve played some good teams.

          • Vinnie Vega

            If you looked at the PWR in mid January that wasn’t the case.

          • Denver_hockey

            But the Pairwise from mid January doesn’t matter… at all.

        • DU_Fan

          The data can’t be biased, facts are facts (not alternate facts). If your point was this method is unfair, you should try to blame the formula. Since nobody really knows the formula/algorithms that PWR uses, your argument loses steam. If you “rewarded” every team that stays in the top 16 for many weeks, the NC$$ would have to expand to taking 24 teams or more.

          • Vinnie Vega

            I thought I said that it was unfair, hence blaming the formula. I don’t really know what the formula is, but I do know that the two things I called out are accurate.

            Why would they have to expand? You make the reward a numerical value that’s built in to the mystery formula. How does that change the # of teams in?

          • Denver_hockey

            You called out something that is completely irrelevant now and the tournament teams haven’t even been selected yet. Isn’t that all that the PWR is technically good for anyway?

          • Vinnie Vega

            Relevant that PSU not being punished early on allowed them to hang around in an artificially high PWR # that contributed to them being in the discussion for an at-large bid now. When in reality, probably should be lower.

          • Denver_hockey

            I don’t think there’s any “hang around” in the PWR, it’s all computer-based. They have the 7th best record in the country with the 25th best schedule. That sounds good enough for an at-large bid to me. The PWR not like the NCAA football rankings where teams get ranked based on the history of their program (Nebraska).

          • Vinnie Vega

            Record is over-valued, when considering their SOS, especially early on (until Big 10 play started). They were down around 35th.

          • fcc56

            Not @ anyone in particular, but the PWR is really just for entertaining the fans. Using RPI straight up gives the same result. Now, if you want to argue about the RPI formula, that’s fair game.

            SOS is always a tough nut because (of course) teams don’t all play each other. If the great majority of your games are in-conference, some assumptions need to be made regarding relative conference strength to derive an SOS rating. If the assumption is that your conference is strongest, you get an automatic SOS boost just for playing league games.

            For years there was an “assumption bias” in favor of the old WCHA that was readily apparent in the KRACH (despite the efforts of KRACH supporters to deny it—the KRACH baseline SOS rating begins with an assumption about conference strength).

          • DU_Fan

            Thought you meant data was flawed, when you said data that makes up the formula can be biased. The formula that PWR uses is a well-kept secret, no public knowledge. The reason I said you have to expand is there are more teams than the current 16 (really 14 when you consider auto-bids) that have been in the in the PWR for more than a few weeks during the year. These include BC, Ohio State, and SCSU. How would you “reward” these teams, if not to add them to the tourney?

          • Denver_hockey

            Add a NIT for hockey? Kidding of course…

          • Vinnie Vega

            So, why wouldn’t working a number that is added into the matrix that determines the PWR work? It would be no different than now, just a bit more fair. You’d still have a top 16, you’d still have auto-bid (even though I hate them) and you’d still have your top secret criteria for choosing who’s in and who’s out.

          • DU_Fan

            Problem with your scenario, as I see it, is that you reward a team that is on the downswing at the end of the year. You would have to eliminate teams that get “hot” at the right time of the year, in order to accommodate teams that maybe were good in December, but not so much now. It would favor the teams that have soft OOC schedule, before league play begins, over those with tougher schedules early. Since you were complaining about PSU, I’d think you would not appreciate this scenario at all.

          • Vinnie Vega

            If the secret formula (SF) is weighted properly (fairly), that wouldn’t be the case. Hot teams would be buoyed by Record, quality wins, NC schedule, etc.

          • DU_Fan

            You are correct, and I agree, weighted properly. If staying in PWR top 16 is your criteria though, scheduling Bentley, ASU, and Niagara as your first six games would pretty much guarantee being in top tier through December. RPIPWR gets more “factual” as more games are played, thus win-loss becomes important early.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Not if SOS is properly weighted. There’s no way in hell that anyone can say with a straight face that teams like PSU belonged as a #1 PWR seed, but yet, there they were. SOS should have quelled that, but didn’t because, record is weighted too prominently.

          • DU_Fan

            I totally agree SOS is most important, some will say I am biased because of NCHC. The age-old question becomes which is more important, record or SOS though. Other than HE and NCHC fans, there are many that say the SOS discriminates against those leagues that are stuck playing who they play. I think both arguments have merit, you and I are in the same SOS category.

          • Vinnie Vega

            It really doesn’t though. Nobody tells these guys to load up on cupcakes in the first half, but lots of teams do. I was actually really glad Bazin started scheduling NCHC teams. It can only help SOS and NC. It’s definitely the reason, IMO that they are the #1 HEA team in the PWR.

          • DU_Fan

            Since schedules are made up years in advance, you really don’t know how strong the teams will be that you play. Plus, only so many OOC games are played, most “quality” teams are already taken. Just playing devil’s advocate. Maybe cupcakes are only available.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Maybe you’re right about being the only ones left, maybe not. I’d say if available, scheduling NCHC, HEA, and even ECAC (top 2 or 3) are fairly safe bets in boosting your SOS and NC. But it does work both ways. Not sure if I’m Denver, I’d want to schedule AIC.

          • DU_Fan

            We have an advantage. Every year we play BU, BC, or both. Usually play another HEA or ECAC team. Plus, we always play AF (don’t laugh), who always plays hard for the full 60. I agree scheduling the best available pays off, not just SOS but also a good early indicator of your team.

          • Vinnie Vega

            Well, having played UMD, CC, and Omaha this year and going 3-1-2 didn’t hurt us in the PWR. I hope you guys are on the schedule next year.

        • Schmitty

          Teams shouldn’t be rewarded for being in the top 16 and then dropping out. It’s not about how you start, or how you do for a stretch down the middle — it’s about how you finish. (Though I would assert that teams that have good enough stretches to keep them in the top 16 for a while probably make the Dance anyway.)

          Also — why do you hate autobids? The tournament is for them, officially speaking. Everyone else that makes it is having a favor done for them.

        • TacomaTim

          But Penn St in the tourney would be a great story!…

  • Denver_hockey

    If Borgstrom gets the flu I am calling for a serious investigation of the Colorado College hockey program. He’s gotten ill out of nowhere before both CC series…

    • Roaring Aardvark

      Altitude sickness? (/sarc)

  • Denver_hockey

    If Borgstrom gets the flu I am calling for a serious investigation of the Colorado College hockey program. He’s gotten ill out of nowhere before both CC series…

    • Roaring Aardvark

      Altitude sickness? (/sarc)

  • mcogs9

    Folks,
    Watch out for QU Bobcats if they get by St.lawerence and win a game in Lake Placid that should get the a Bid into the tournament!

  • mcogs9

    Folks,
    Watch out for QU Bobcats if they get by St.lawerence and win a game in Lake Placid that should get the a Bid into the tournament!