ECAC Post-October Power Rankings
After the 1st month of the season, it’s time to evaluate the 6 non-Ivy League teams and how they have started their seasons. The Ivy’s played last weekend, but 1-2 games is not enough to go off of to properly evaluate them. We’ll have all 12 teams in the post-November power rankings.
Quinnipiac has been everything that I expected them to be as I wrote about in the preseason preview. The rest of the country has caught on now, and they are ranked 5th in the USCHO poll at the time of writing this. First, they’re 5-1-2 with a .694 win percentage against a tough schedule that included great teams like North Dakota, BC and Northeastern. However, what makes them even more impressive is the way they control play against everyone they play. Their score-adjusted corsi is 63.2%, which is 4th in the country. Their score-adjusted shot share is 65.3%, which is 3rd in the country. They are averaging 35.75 shots per game and only 18.75 shots against per game. This has led to an outstanding 1.50 goals against average, and while they are only scoring 2.75 goals a game, they have been unlucky with their shooting luck. Their shooting percentage is 7.7%, but the national average is 10%. While this is within the range of shooting percentages you’d expect, it’s unlikely that Quinnipiac with their talent is poor at finishing. They should have more like 3.58 goals per game, and this team will be even better when the scoring regresses to the mean.
RPI has been great to the start the season, better than basically everyone thought they would be. They’re 4-2-1 with no regulation losses. Not including the Ivy’s who just started, only 3 teams still have no regulation losses: Omaha, Western Michigan, and RPI. The other 2 are top 20 teams in the USCHO poll, and while I doubt RPI will go from no votes to inside the top 20 to join them, they should. RPI is playing like a top 20 team right now. Their win percentage of .7714 is 8th in the country (and it’s actually better than Quinnipiac’s win percentage). The underlying metrics are strong too, even if they are not quite as dominant as Quinnipiac. Their score-adjusted corsi of 54.3% is very strong and is 16th in the country. Their score-adjusted shot share is even better at 58.2%, which is 12th in the country. The offense is solid at 30 shots per game and 3 goals per game, but the defense is elite. The defense is only allowing 23.4 shots per game and 1.86 goals per game. Keep in mind that also includes 2 overtime 3v3 goals. In regulation, RPI has only allowed 11 goals in 7 games. This is a great team, but unfortunately, it’s probably going to take a couple weeks for the national media to catch up.
Clarkson has been good, but I thought they’d be a little better to start the year because they were returning nearly their entire team. Nonetheless, this is another really good hockey team in the ECAC. They’re 4-2-1 with a .643 win percentage, which is only behind RPI and Quinnipiac out of these teams. The offense has been inconsistent with 2.57 goals per game, but the defense has been a typically strong Clarkson defense allowing only 2 goals per game. The real cause for concern though is the way they have been unable to control play. Clarkson’s score-adjusted corsi is only 49.0%, and their score-adjusted shot share is even worse at 47.6%, which is actually below both SLU and Colgate. Their saving grace has been their elite special teams, and they also have been a little lucky. This won’t be sustainable over the course of the entire season though, and they will have to up their game if they want to be a national contender once again.
Colgate is the poster child for luck this season. During their entire hot start, I haven’t bought into the hype because there’s no way they can keep winning while getting out-possessed, out-shot, and out-chanced the way they have been. Seems like they’re falling back to earth now after 3 straight losses. Regardless, this is still a hockey team who is solid as they’re 5-4 for a .606 win percentage. They have a very explosive offense that is averaging 3.78 goals per game, but their 14.3% shooting percentage is very lucky. They should be averaging more like 2.64 goals per game as they are only averaging 26.4 shots per game. While it is certainly possible to just be finishing better than the average, in 2019-20 the highest shooting percentage of any team was 12.8%. Usually the ranges are within a few percent of the mean. Colgate’s shooting percentage is sure to regress somewhat even if they are a good team at finishing. Colgate’s defense has been extremely poor. They’re allowing 3 goals per game and a whopping 37.3 shots against per game. Their goaltending has been excellent, but when you’re allowing that many shots, it doesn’t really matter. They are also not great at controlling the play. Their score-adjusted corsi is 48.6%, and their score-adjusted shots share is 47.9%. Their current play is not sustainable with these numbers, but even if they regress, they should be a solid team and tough out every game.
5. St. Lawrence
SLU has been a weird team so far. They’re only 1-2-2 for a .400 win percentage, but this is a team that was expected to be pretty good. Their main issue has been their total inability to score. They are only scoring 1.4 goals per game, and they’re only generating 25 shots per game. They have been one of the unluckiest teams so far though with only a 5.6% shooting percentage. They should start scoring more soon. Defensively, they’ve been solid as they have only allowed 2.6 goals per game, and that is skewed by allowing 7 goals on Saturday against Lake State. Before that they had allowed only 6 goals in 4 games. Overall, they’ve allowed 28 shots against per game, which is about average. SLU hasn’t helped themselves by being unable to control the play so far this season. Their score-adjusted corsi is 47.4%, and their score-adjusted shots share is 48.8%. They’ll have to improve those if they want to take a step forward from the season they had last year.
Union has been bad all-around. They’re 1-6-1 for a .188 win percentage, which is among the worst in the country. They’re only scoring 2 goals per game on only 20 shots per game; they’re allowing 3.75 goals per game on about 33 shots per game. There is not much luck involved here either as they’re shooting right at the average. It’s just hard to win when you are out-possessed as much as Union has been. Their score-adjusted corsi is 41.2%, and their score-adjusted shots share is 2nd worst in the country at 35.1%. If Union wants any chance at being competitive, they have to turn things around very quickly.