Week 14: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Weekend Preview

Gophers Hockey NCAA

Putting together the College Hockey rankings this year is a lot like being a TV meteorologist. If you just put out the exact same prediction that were released previously, you’re going to be right 50% of the time. We’re pretty well established at this point in the season so the lack of changes shouldn’t be all that surprising, but it does make the race a lot less exciting. The good teams keep killing the bad teams and the mediocre teams keep splitting with one another. There is no chaos…at least not yet.

This feels like the first week in forever where we’ve got a ton of ranked matchups. Maybe that’s because we’re outside of the holiday tournaments and finally back to conference play. You’re bound to have more ranked games when the only three conferences with more than 2 ranked programs (Big 10, NCHC, Hockey East) are battling with one another again. All of those games is where big sweeps and big moves can happen. I want that.

Updated Weekly Picks

3-2-0 last week no thanks to North Dakota who gave up a late goal to kill the spread. Regardless, that’s plus-money every week since week 10 and WAY up on the season. If I’m being TOTALLY transparent about this week, the confidence level is at like 7 out of 10. There was a long break, then guys were gone at World Juniors for a lot of these squads, and we’re just getting back into conference play. Too many variables to be anything but optimistic, so no more than a single unit on each and only if you can afford it.

If you think you’re smarter than me, prove it. You can go on BettorEdge and either set your own lines or pick up one that someone else (me) has already thrown out there. I’ll be putting affordable lines out there on each of these if you’re just looking to “dabble” a bit. Just make sure to use “10K” at sign-up.

National College Hockey Rankings Roundup

For the third (?) time this season, there are ZERO changes to the top twenty in the College Hockey Rankings. That’s not to say that some teams moved up or down; just that the same twenty teams make up the whole list.

If we’re being honest with one another, it’s the first time in a while that I think it’s probably the right teams being represented as well. There are dangerous programs that can win any given night, but these twenty(ish) teams have been the most consistent and explosive throughout the entire season. Health and injury always have an impact as the season progresses, but I’m looking forward to the best on best matchups between these programs for the remainder of the regular season in each conference. If one thing is clear, the Big 10, Hockey East, and NCHC are BY FAR AND AWAY the best conferences in all of College Hockey and there really isn’t an argument to say otherwise.

Jan 8th College Hockey Rankings Roundup

Note: The National Rankings Roundup weighs each of the ranking sources instead of treating them all as equal. This takes into account the credibility of the source, potential committee influence, what data they utilize, evident bias, and amount of teams ranked. USCHO and USA Hockey still remain the drivers.

Minnesota College Hockey Games

#14 St Cloud State vs #6 Denver – Fri & Sat, Jan. 12/13

Huskies vs Pioneers

Stats:

20.5 â€“ PP% – 23.9
87.5 – PK% – 78.7
52.2 – FO% – 51.2
1.487 – GF/GA – 1.721
.916 – SV% – .882

Vibes: The Huskies haven’t lost in regulation since their thanksgiving matchup against Michigan. They haven’t been swept since the middle of October, and it was the only time it happened all year. As impressive as all of that is, Denver is one of the programs who can go toe-to-toe. In fact, they’re one of the few teams who hasn’t been swept at all this season.

There’s no hiding the fact that they have some goaltending issues. The Pioneers aren’t nearly as dominant in the neutral zone as they have been in recent years either. They are still lethal with the puck on their stick and a team like that can win any game. Factor in the home-ice advantage and I think they are going to be tough to beat this weekend.

Prediction: Denver’s goaltending issues cause a split, despite their ability to score.

#17/18 Colorado College vs Minnesota, Duluth – Fri & Sat, Jan. 12/13

Tigers vs Bulldogs

Stats:

10.4 â€“ PP% – 28.6
79.7 – PK% – 79.5
54.0 – FO% – 44.5
1.075 – GF/GA – 0.917
.902 â€“ SV% – .903

Vibes: Colorado College started the season hot with a Charmin-soft schedule before putting down some skid marks of their own. Losing to Augustana right before getting swept in convincing fashion by Denver yet again hurt. Finding no wins against Western Michigan and Arizona State in back to back series wasn’t great either. Since then, they won three of four on the road against North Dakota and Minnesota. UMD wasn’t able to get a single win against either of those common opponents and three of their four games were at home. If UMD wants to show any sort of optimism and fight, they NEED to win one of these games…in regulation.

Prediction: CC & UMD split at AmsOil with one ending in OT.

Ferris State @ Minnesota State – Fri & Sat, Jan. 12/13

Bulldogs vs Mavericks

Stats:

14.5 â€“ PP% – 21.4
73.7 – PK% – 76.9
49.6 – FO% – 50.1
0.645 – GF/GA – 1.130
.890 â€“ SV% – .907

Vibes: The Mavericks have only swept two teams all year, St Cloud State (!!) and these Ferris State Bulldogs. They are the dominant team between the two on paper, but simply refuse to play the same kind of game from week to week. The goaltending in a roller-coaster, but has been significantly better as of late. If that can continue and the sticks stay hot on special teams, the Mavs have these games in the bag.

Prediction: Mavs get a CCHA sweep.

Michigan Tech @ St Thomas – Thurs & Sat, Jan. 11/13

Mavericks vs Vikings

Stats:

22.9 â€“ PP% – 15.7
76.8 – PK% – 77.3
50.1 – FO% – 50.8
0.922 – GF/GA – 1.068
.904 â€“ SV% – .907

Vibes: Game 1 of this series ended while I was writing the blog. Tech started the game with their new toy, Swankler prominently displayed in the center of the rink. As soon as the puck dropped it seemed like the Tommies had two up on the board with a few softies surrendered by Pietila. In the end, the Huskies battled back, but couldn’t come back from the deficit. I don’t expect any major differences in the Saturday game, but also don’t see St Thomas getting a two-goal head start either.

Prediction: Tech comes back for a Saturday win to split the series.

Robert Morris @ #11/12 Minnesota – Fri & Sat, Jan. 12/13

Colonials vs Gophers

Stats:

20.5 â€“ PP% – 25.8
77.7 – PK% – 81.8
48.4 – FO% – 48.6
0.740 – GF/GA – 1.228
.913 â€“ SV% – .911

Vibes: Oh, Bobby Mo. You’re going to wish you never came back to College Hockey after you’re done with this series. Sure, your stats are all generally respectable, but we all know that’s due to your strength of schedule. You’ve played one ranked team all season and got outscored 4-12 in those games. Your wins are against Bowling Green, Bentley, Niagra, and Stonehill, the highest of which sits at 42 in the Pairwise. Just know that you deserve this for what you did to your student athletes. I hope you’re shown no mercy.

Prediction: Bob Motzko >>>> Bobby Mo. Gophers dominate both and sweep.

Other College Hockey Games to Watch

#8 Michigan State @ #19/20 Penn State – Fri & Sat, Jan. 12/13

Spartans vs Nittany Lions

Stats:

28.1 â€“ PP% – 21.3
82.8 – PK% – 77.2
48.9 – FO% – 50.4
1.383 – GF/GA – 1.145
.912 â€“ SV% – .866

Vibes: Putting together the preview for this game is the only reason I was made aware of the fact that Penn State has the worst goaltending save percentage in the nation. It’s not often you see a team holding that “title” among the ranked programs, but here we are…for now. The second half of the year is going to be much tougher for the Nittany Lions and that all starts this weekend. These schools are 1 and 2 in the nation for shots attempted, but Sparty is a full percentage point more efficient and better on the PK and PP. Expect that to matter and be the difference.

Prediction: Sparty sweeps.

#17/18 Cornell @ #11/12 Arizona State – Fri & Sat, Jan. 12/13

Big Red vs Sun Devils

Stats:

18.9 â€“ PP% – 27.8
80.4 – PK% – 82.0
53.3 – FO% – 51.0
1.310 – GF/GA – 1.482
.903 â€“ SV% – .917

Vibes: Cornell’s Ian Shane has the 3rd best Goals Against Average in the nation and a .915 personal save percentage. Big Red has also given up fewer shots against than any team in the country…which makes sense considering they’ve only played 13 games to date. Their stats are fine, but I don’t even know how much you can trust any of them with that small of a sample size.

The Sun Devils, on the other hand, have played MORE games than anyone else in the country. Two different philosophies with good results on both sides. All that extra practice and game time HAS to matter in games like this. Cornell will have to try and play “bully-ball” and keep away if they want any chance of keeping up with the Sun Devils legs and conditioning.

Prediction: I have NO IDEA what’s going to happen Saturday, but Arizona State is winning on Friday.

#9 Providence @ #1 Boston College – Fri & Sat, Jan. 12/13

Friars vs Eagles

Stats:

20.0 â€“ PP% – 28.6
85.3 – PK% – 92.3
51.6 – FO% – 47.5
1.543 – GF/GA – 1.667
.909 â€“ SV% – .921

Vibes: The BC Eagles only have 3 losses on the season. Two of those have come at home. That’s not great for the “#1 team in the nation at home is a lock” narrative that I’m trying to push. The only thing to fall back on in the fact that these two JUST played a month ago and BC came out of there with a 5-4 win.

Providence may have 5 losses on the season, but every one of them came at the hands of a ranked opponent and two came in OT. They also have wins against Michigan, New Hampshire, UMass, and AZ State. The Friars are the team that gets overlooked year in and year out, but only because they’re always there. This is the year they return to the playoffs and make a regional final. They’re on the up-and-up. Mark my words.

Prediction: Boston College sweeps, but it takes OT in one of the games .

Omaha @ #4 North Dakota – Fri & Sat, Jan. 12/13

Mavericks vs Fighting Hawks

Stats:

11.3 â€“ PP% – 21.1
81.7 – PK% – 84.2
54.4 – FO% – 52.6
1.020 – GF/GA – 1.617
.899 â€“ SV% – .904

Vibes: This may not be a “ranked matchup” in the sense that Omaha is outside of the Top 20 in all polls and the Pairwise, but if they’re able to get a win against #4 North Dakota they could EASILY climb into that territory. NoDak, on the other hand, is fighting to keep the rights to a 1-seed. They’ve already got a guaranteed spot in the regional they’re hosting where the fans are going to be rabid and pack the place no matter what, but a better matchup still changes the atmosphere. I can already hear some of you saying it’s far to early for playoff seeding talk, but that’s just wrong. If you think North Dakota isn’t guaranteed a playoff spot, take a long look in the mirror until you realize your mistake.

Prediction: NoDak sweeps and makes up room in the Penrose Cup race.

Previous Rankings/Reviews

Week 13: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Weekend Preview

Week 12: College Hockey Rankings, Betting Lines, & Weekend Preview