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Three things we thought we learned about the WCHA the weekend …

1. Bottom’s up

Yes, I know it’s early, but it surprising to look at the WCHA standings and see Alabama Huntsville and Alaska Anchorage sitting in a tie for third place right now. Huntsville won twice at Lake Superior State — in overtime on Friday and by shutout on Saturday. The sweep was the first on the road for the Chargers since Oct. 16-17, 2009 at Air Force. Anchorage, meanwhile, was shut out on Sunday against a good Bowling Green team – but not before extending an unbeaten streak to five games, its longest since late in the 2011 season. A little early season confidence could be a good thing for these teams.

2. One unbeaten

Minnesota State swept Alaska to go to 4-0-0 in conference play (after an 0-4-0 start in out-of-league play) and is the only WCHA team that doesn’t have a conference loss. Interestingly, the Mavericks swept the two teams that gave them the most fits as season ago, Bemidji State and Alaska, who, combined, went 4-4-1 against MSU last year. The Mavericks looked like last year’s team on Friday, scoring five goals and limiting the Nanooks to just 15 shots on goal. The grinded out a 2-1 win on Saturday.

3. Done with each other

In a quirk of the schedule, Michigan Tech and Ferris State are done playing each other for the season, as they played twice in three weeks. It’s too bad, too, as they split the two series, with three of the games — both this past weekend — being one-goal games. The Huskies won on Malcom Gould’s overtime goal on Friday and the Bulldogs rebounded thanks to goalie Darren Smith’s 36 save performance and Andrew Dorantes’ late-third-period game-winner.

  • Kpc

    In your calculations do you take into account the number of points per game that are available? For example the sigma of 7.22 points in the CCHA represents 2.4 times the points available in a game.  The ECAC sigma of 4.75 represents 2.37 times the points available in a game.  Not as big a difference when you look at it that way. ( A more standard way to look at it would be sigma/mean.  CCHA = 7.22/36.5 = 0.20     ECAC = 4.75/18 = 0.26   which makes the CCHA even tighter than the ECAC. But if you looking for how things might swing for the remaining games the sigma/game points is probably better. )

    •  That’s a very good point: I neglected to appreciate that there are more points available per game in the CCHA due to shootouts. That said, I wonder if such adjustments would be necessary, as more points on the table doesn’t necessarily warp the ratios between the good and bad teams…?

      • Kpc

        Yes, but the standard deviation is NOT a ratio.  It represents the width of the distribution of, in this case, the number of points that each team has gotten so far in the season.  When you calculate a standard deviation of a set of numbers you’re assuming that the numbers are distributed around a mean value with a normal or Gaussian distribution.  That’s where the 68% number comes from.  Rescale the CCHA points by 2/3 (as if each game counted for 2 points) and the standard deviation becomes 4.8.  

        (Remember that the CCHA is not like the NHL – you don’t just get an extra point for winning a shootout.  It’s a 3/2/1 scale for Win/Shootout Win/Shootout Loss, so the direct 2/3 scaling is appropriate.)