Hockey: Top 10 tracker; Laurier, Western win cross-over clashes

How the Top 10 fared over the weekend:
  1. UNB Varsity Reds (170, all 17 first-place votes) (18-0, 10-0-0 AUS) — Beat St. FX (9-3) and Dalhousie (7-1). Mr. Kilfoil has the AUS angles covered.

  2. Alberta Golden Bears (148) (13-3, 10-1-1 CW) — Won 8-5 and 2-0 at Lethbridge; Sean Ringrose had a six-point night (obviously in the first game).

  3. UQTR Patriotes (128) (11-3, 9-1-0 OUA-E) — It might be a coincidence, but both the Patriotes and McGill were thumped in their first game of the weekend down in Southern Ontario and bounced back to win the second (travel is a factor). UQTR got thumped 5-1 by surging Western, but beat No. 9 Laurier (5-3).

  4. McGill Redmen (117) (11-3-1, 7-1-0 OUA-E) — Might slip behind Saint Mary's after a split in southwestern Ontario, losing to No. 9 Laurier (8-4) and win over Waterloo (6-4). Both games had a couple window-dressing goals in the final minutes. McGill gave up 12 goals in two games after allowing only eight in six vs. East teams.

  5. Saint Mary's Huskies (92) (11-4, 7-2-0 AUS) — Big home weekend with wins over St. Thomas (5-1) and Moncton (11-0).

  6. Manitoba Bisons (66) (13-5, 8-3-1 CW) — Got back on track with 3-2 and 4-1 wins at Regina.

  7. Western Mustangs (61) (11-3, 9-2-0 OUA-W) — Made it nine consecutive wins with the 5-1 win over No. 3 UQTR and a 10-4 Saturday skate against Concordia.

  8. St. FX X-Men (47) (8-8-1, 6-2-3 AUS) — Split on the road, beating UPEI (5-1) after the loss to No. 1 UNB (9-3).

  9. Laurier Golden Hawks (34) (10-6, 7-3-1 OUA-W) — Got a split against the two Top-5 teams, beating McGill (8-4, and it wasn't that close) and losing to UQTR (5-3).

  10. Lakehead Thunderwolves (31) (11-5, 8-2-1 OUA-W) — Made a task of beating Toronto in the first game (7-6 with Scott Dobben getting the winner with 2:19 left and a two-goal U of T comeback), but won the second 5-1. Play at RMC and Guelph to finish out the pre-exam league schedule, so t
Also receiving votes: Calgary Dinos (21), Nipissing Lakers (9), Acadia Axemen (6), Carleton Ravens (3), Waterloo Warriors (2)
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  1. Something just jumped out at me in the "Also receiving votes" section: Carleton just swept Nipissing in a home-and-home, yet Nipissing has three times as many points as Carleton. Doesn't make too much sense to me.


  2. This looks about right, but I'm sure some will have issues with the OUA having 5 ranked teams (tho' if you want to get technical, Ontario has 3 ranked teams and Quebec has 2). The truth is there is very little to choose between Western, Laurier, Lakehead, and Waterloo, although I do believe the committee has it right by placing Waterloo a notch lower.

    As someone commented on another post, Lakehead's next four games are against RMC and Toronto, while over the same stretch Laurier and Western play the upper teams of the OUA East. In theory, it may well add up to 4 Lakehead wins and at least 1 or 2 losses for each of WLU and I won't be surprised at all if Lakehead emerges as the highest ranked OUA West team in two week's time, if not next week.

    I'm also not convinced UQTR is the #3 team in the nation. Will be very interesting to see how they fare against Laurier and Western this weekend.

  3. I will be surprised if UQTR does better than a split on their road trip, and in my view it will not be an upset if les Patriotes drop both games. I have been saying this for years: UQTR is the most overrated team in the CIS, as they play so many games against the weaker teams in the CIS, in the least competitive division. It makes it really hard to give UQTR a fair appraisal based on their record, as they play so few games against strong teams during the regular season.

  4. Voting's confidential so I should not say who I ranked higher, let alone where I ranked them.

    Here's their scores vs. common oppnts.:

    Queen's: McGill 5-1 & 10-1, UQTR 8-2 & 4-3
    Toronto: McGill 5-0, UQTR 4-3 in shootout
    Concordia: McGill 5-2, UQTR 2-1
    RMC: McGill 5-2, UQTR 5-0

    McGill has played 5-of-6 OUA games at home, so that might be playing hell with their stats. They're on the road next weekend, so are the Patriotes, so we'll get more of an idea.

  5. Hey Sager, in the previous article you said you had McGill over UQTR...why the sudden confidentiality?

    As for UQTR, I have seen them play once, in the 2006/2007 Queen's Cup final against Laurier where they won 5-3 after scoring 3 first period goals, and later, one empty netter. Laurier played much better than them at nationals however. Still, their record is always very good and it will take a large effort to beat them.

    On Friday I will see McGill and on Saturday, UQTR. I am hoping former CIS rookie of the year Craig Voakes is finally back in the lineup again for Laurier after missing 3 straight, but I really have no insight on that.

    That being said, at least this week, I think all teams in the top ten look like they deserve to be there, and are all quality teams. From the OUA, I agree it is hard with Lakehead, Laurier, Waterloo and Western all so close together. I want to put Waterloo at the bottom of that list, but their sweep over Lakehead still lingers in my mind. 5 teams is still alot from the OUA, and I am not certain that 2 extra wins in a division where they are not the only perfect team is enough to put McGill over SMU, or maybe even Manitoba, despite McGill being a very very good team.

    Looking forward to this weekend! Also Todd, I believe your post was in reference to my previous one. Laurier, Western and Waterloo definately have a rougher schedule than Lakehead. I am looking forward to seeing how the points come out, and how the voters interpret that for next week's rankings.

  6. It's always been confidential with voting for the hockey Top Ten. The hockey committee set those ground rules and they should be respected, especially speaking as a first-year voter.

    My interpretation is that means not saying where I put a specific team or whether I included a team (like in a situation where people are asking why a good team didn't get ranked). It's probably OK to say I ranked McGill over UQTR because it could be 1 spot, 2 spots, and so on.

  7. I didn't mean to be disrespectful. I understand and respect the decision to keep the voting confidential. I am still learning about the voting process, and was simply not sure how far the "boundaries" of confidentiality extended. I have seen a few posts from some voters who have given some "insight" as to their voting process before, so I was just curious.

  8. @sager - I have always been curious about the guidance that members of the ranking committee are given. Are you able to share the process that is used? For example, are you basically left to you own devices to dig into the stats of each team you are ranking? Or do you get a summary of results and other key stats from the week prior? Or is it a blend?

    One of my perceptions (which may be wrong) is that at least some members of the ranking committees look primarily at most recent results first and overall record second when casting their ballots...and that's about it. This can lead to a couple of the outcomes that drive people nuts:

    1) Two teams with similar or identical records, but the one who lost most recently, regardless of quality of opposition, gets ranked higher.

    2) The situation like I commented on a couple of weeks ago...Lakehead falls from 4th to off the list by virtue of two close losses to Waterloo. A closer look at the results reveals that (a) both games were on the road, and (b) Lakehead had a considerable advantage in shots on goal in both games, so essentially were beaten by a hot goalie.

    The above nuances, it would seem, often don't get reflected when the rankings come out (and maybe that's based on the guidance that's give). More often, teams seem to be judged more on "what have done for me lately" rather than their whole season's body of work.

    Anything you could share would be much appreciated.

  9. Steve Knowles, the coordinator of the CIS Men's Ice Hockey Top Ten Committee e-mails each voter a bundle of stats documents:
    - CIS Weekly Results (this is a cumulative document listing every game for each week)
    - CIS Standings
    - OUA, CanWest and AUS Overall Results (these documents are team-by-teams, showing every game result, including exhibition, for each team).

    Plus, Steve sends voters, coaches, ADs, etc, e-mails each night with all of the game results that day.

    So you can see, the voters get lots of data.

    Like some of the other voters I know, I go beyond that and look at game sheets, game capsules, this blog and the HF Board, and anything else I run across to make as informed a vote as possible.

  10. @Todd: I apologize for not answering (this is the first week where I've decided to take the RSS feed of our comment threads rather than get it via e-mail).

    Like David says, Mr. Knowles fills our boots with all the info -- results, updated schedules, standings -- on a nightly basis.

    I tend to look at the previous rankings, strength-of-schedule, and goal differntial. My goal is to try to come up with a rationale for each ranking that's somewhat consistent.

    I try not go too much on "most recent results," at least early in the season. After January, when every team should be into its systems and knows who are its top-9 forwards and top-4 D, then I'll put more weight on recent. games.

  11. @10:19: It was a good question, respectfully asked. Thanks so much.

  12. Thanks guys, I appreciate you taking the time to explain.

    So it seems that you are given most or all of the statistical info you need (although David does additional analysis into game sheets, blogs and such) but this info is is used is largely up to each individual.

    A question I'd be interested in hearing responses to from both of you is whether you feel more guidance should be given with respect how the statistical should be used for determining rankings, or if you think the current model, which seems to empower each individual, works well enough. To be clear, when I say guidance, I'm not asking whether you think the committee members should be given a formula, just guidance itself. I guess what I'm really getting at is whether you think the current approach (a) is rigorous enough, and (b) does as much as possible to protect against rater bias.

    And I know we're not trying to solve world hunger here. I'm a professional researcher and am just really interested in how the polling works and how you feel about the process. I think that ranking teams from different conferences that don't play each other (besides the occasional exhibition game, and that's a whole other discussion) is a very tough task...and I'm glad it's you and not me! Thanks!

  13. Since the three conferences don't play each other during the season, and OUA East and West don't play a balanced schedule against each other, I believe you can't deal only with the stats and standings when picking a Top 10. It does like that happens with some of the voters, but the ones I know look at all of the stats, particularly who is home and away, and try to create their own "strength of schedule" factor. Because of the historical strength at Nationals of the AUS and CanWest teams, it is no secret that I tend to "discount" OUA stats, particularly for the OUA East teams.

    These same issues arise in the CHL rankings - the OHL, WHL and QMJHL teams don't play each other until the Memorial Cup, yet the CHL generates a weekly Top 10. I don't know their methodology, but I'm guessing voters there use some sort of gut strength of schedule modifier.

    Do I think Steve Knowles should be giving strength of schedule guidance? No, that would be a minefield, because folks tend to have bias, or perceive it in others, and Steve might be labeled as a Canada West guy trying to tell Ontario media how to vote ... and we all know that the GTA is the centre of the universe. (There is my Maritimer bias ...)

    So there will always be subjectivity in the polls, and I don't know how you quantify what is often a qualitative judgment. Hey, I've been scratching my head for years over some of the voting patterns, but at least this year with the expansion to 18 voters (17 last week) the outliers should be minimized.

  14. Oh my. Well for this night anyway, it is very clear where the power is in the OUA. And that place is not the in the East. Previously unbeaten McGill gets thumped by Laurier 8-3, and in doing so gives up as many goals in one game as they had allowed in their first 6 games combined. And previously unbeaten UQTR is manhandled by Western 5-1. Even though Western scored 4 in the 3rd to break it open, they outshot the Pats 39-19, so it sounds like a pretty dominant game. UQTR (at Laurier) and McGill (at Waterloo) look to have their hands full again on Saturday.

    I am so happy these teams are finally playing each other this season.

  15. I was at the McGill Laurier game. It ended 8-4, but it was 8-2 until less than 3 minutes to play when Laurier just gave up and hung Jeff MacDougald out to dry thinking they had it won. McGill played well in the first, outplayed Laurier to be honest, but after that point, it was a pure blowout. McGill got frustrated and attempted to start fight after fight. Francis Verrault actually went into the Laurier bench through the gate trying to start a fight. I am very excited for the game tomorrow against UQTR, and also excited to see how McGill rebounds against Waterloo. Despite being beaten soundly tonight, McGill showed flashes of what they are capable of. They are very fast, creative with the puck, and excellent in transition. Defense tonight was not their strong suit.

  16. whoops on the mixup on the Laurier - Mcgill score...the OUA website had it as an 8-3 final at the time I posted.

    Concordia gave Waterloo a good battle last night, so perhaps tonight will be better for McGill.

    In the eight OUA crossover games that started on Thursday, the West has taken 7 out of 8 games. What's interesting is that for the most part, the top, middle, and low teams in each division are playing their divisional this is actually a pretty good measure of strength of each division.

  17. Poor Acadia....they moved to 6-1 against everyone except UNB in the AUS (and even one of those UNB games went down to the wire). There 1 other loss came against SMU. In my humble opinion they should not only be in the top 10, but they should be in the top 5. THey get no respect due to playing top teams early in the year, but certainly in my opinon they are the 2/3 team in the one is going to touch UNB in the regular season

  18. Should be very interesting to see how the voters rank the OUA teams this week after the crossover results....wouldn't surprise me to see SMU jump up to 3rd (although they beat two very weak teams)

  19. I was at the Western - Concordia game last night, the first time I've seen the Mustangs since they lost to Brock in week 1. They are like a different team. When they played (and lost) to Brock they seemed lazy...kind of like you knew they were better but they couldn't get their act together. Last night, they were relentless. This is a talented team. The 10 goals against actually flatters Concordia, because 9 of Western's goals were scored in the second half the of the game. There had to be about 10 highlight reel saves by Concordia's keeper McGillis in the first 30 minutes alone. Without exaggeration, Western could have scored 15 goals or more in this game if not for him. The Mustangs have more tough games coming up...Laurier and Waterloo before Christmas and Lakehead right after...will be fun to watch.

  20. My top 10 after the weekend games:

    #1: UNB
    #2: Alberta
    #3: SMU
    #4: UQTR
    #5: Acadia
    #6: Western
    #7: McGill
    #8: Manitoba
    #9: Stfx
    #10: Lakehead

  21. Seems reasonable..other than I wouldn't have Manitoba go down seeing as they won their only game..maybe have them 6th and Western and Mcgill slide down

  22. @7:30 - how do you figure UQTR ranked above Western after Western best them 5-1 on Friday? I'd push Acadia and Western up 1, and UQTR down to #6.

  23. If voters follow their precedence, UQTR and McGill should drop in the ranking signficantly. As I recall it, Lakehead lost on the road to a ranked club and went from 4th to out of the rankings. Likewise it seems that UQTR and McGill should drop significantly as a result of their road losses to ranked teams.

    I would think the following would make the most sense based on this precedent.

    #1: UNB
    #2: Alberta
    #3: SMU
    #4: Western
    #5: Acadia
    #6: Manitoba
    #7: UQTR
    #8: McGill
    #9: Stfx
    #10: Lakehead

  24. If you go with each Conference having 1/2/3, SMU would swap with Western. I would also swap Acadia and Man - the rest look good.

  25. I know it is tight, but I would be frustrated to see Laurier split with the teams previously ranked 3 and 4 and have this drop them out of the top ten.

    UQTR went 1-1 against #7 and #9 getting outshot 77-43 and outscored 8-6. Were dominated by Western on Friday.

    McGill went 1-1 against #9 and a NR team, getting outscored 12-10. Were dominated by Laurier on Friday.

    Laurier went 1-1 against #3 and #4, outscoring their opponents 11-9.

    It is obviously very tight though, and the AUS and CW are both powerhouse conferences. Sometimes I wonder how great each game would be, day in and day out, if the OUA was just made up of teams like Lakehead, Laurier, Waterloo, Western, UQTR and McGill.