Looking at the stats for the 60 D1 hockey programs one gains valuable insights as well as unexpected surprises.
Wouldn’t it be great if Trevor Moore and Danton Heinen were leading the nation in scoring? Surely, DU, or any team for that matter, would be one of the top teams in the country with a tandem of national scoring leaders. Well, not so fast. New Hampshire has the top two D1 scorers, forwards Andrew Poturalski and Tyler Kelleher, and they are not in the top 20.
Does it feel like the zebras are unfair to the Crimson and Gold, blowing their whistles on every little borderline play this season? Well, DU is in the bottom quartile for penalty minutes, 8.95 minutes in the box per game. Our friends from Boston College should just get a room – they are in the box almost 10 minutes more per game than DU – and five minutes more than the Fighting Chicken Hawks. And BC sits in the top 10, despite this brutal stat.
DU has been pretty good on the penalty kill, too. DU is 12th in the country. Wouldn’t it be great to be number one in this category? The leader must have a skilled defense to play short-handed. Surprisingly, the ‘leader’ is the awful Miami Redhawks who are 94.2% on the PP – and in the bottom half in goals allowed. Uh, not sure DU would want to trade places, do you?
We all know Denver has had big problems on the power play. They only scored goals on 11 of their 76 power play opportunities. That puts the Pios in 44th place – out of 60 D1 teams. If the Crimson & Gold would have scored on only two more of those 76 opportunities, they would have been ‘average’ – 30th place. There is a very slim statistical margin between average and, well, not so average. If the Pios made only 8 more goals on the power play (19 total out of 76 tries), DU would be in the Top 10 and a veritable power play force to be reckoned with. Jim Montgomery must dream at night about three times that many missed PP goals with open nets, whiffs, and pipe shots the Pioneers had in the first half of the season.
When it comes to offense and defense, DU sits in the 23rd slot on both categories with 2.85 goals per game scored while allowing 2.65 goals per game – a measly +.20 of a goal differential. On the other hand, North Dakota is scoring 3.41 goals per game (11th) and only allowing 1.59 goals per game (2nd) for nearly a two goal differential. Number 2 Quinnipiac scores 3.78 goals per game (7th) while allowing 1.52 goals per game (#1), a whopping 2.26 goals differential per game versus their competitors.
So the answer is simple – all Denver has to do is score more goals than their competitors.
Order up the Champagne.