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AVFC
09-22-2011, 02:15 PM
The MCHA needs its own thread and I expect that it will have a couple of interesting stories to tell this season. I am expecting to see a bit more parity this year between the top four or five teams. Unlike past seasons, it is a bit more difficult to predict where in the standings the teams will separate from or bunch up with one another. A couple of random inital thoughts.

1. Adrian - rebuilding or reloading? How will the goaltending situation work out? As expected, a solid looking crop of freshmen coming in (at least on paper). Will chemistry be an issue early? The UWSP weekend should be great hockey. The Bulldogs still have a big psychological edge.

2. MSOE - the favorite? a worthy favorite? They bring back a ton and have room to move forward. The Raiders always seem to find good kids so I am sure this class will have some gems. I am not wild about their NC schedule at all. Are they looking to join the MIAC?

3. Marian - they return more than Adrian but less than MSOE. I expect they will continue to be dangerous. Will their NC success continue? SNC at home on the big sheet should be interesting. Hull will be missed.

4. Lawrence - moving up or holding steady at 4th-ish? I suspect they are more likely to move up in the standings than down. How is the goaltending situation going to play out? A big recruiting class for a small school. Gustavus at home could be interesting.

5. Northland - continued improvement? NC success? If they can continue to avoid the transfer exodus they should hold steady or be better.

6. Finlandia - moving back up after the coaching change? A full year to recruit should certainly help. Why only four NC games? The Lions are almost guaranteed to be better this year.

7. Lake - the late coaching change certainly doesn't help the cause, but it looks like they were able to land more than a handful of kids. Can the freshmen contribute from day one? Lake is starting to feel like a forever young squad. East coast trip should be interesting. Nice coaching hire.

8. Concordia - every year I expect them to be more competitive within the conference. Is this the year? I have no clue what is going on with recruiting. Is a coaching change in the works?????

altazo
09-22-2011, 04:46 PM
It's very cool to watch this conference get better and better each season.

I think Lake will finish higher than 7th, and you could possibly swap Marian and MSOE.

The SNC women play on an Olympic sheet, and I think the men would have access to it for practice the week of the Thanksgiving tournament if they choose.

goalcoach70
09-22-2011, 05:56 PM
I think that it will be MSOE and Marian fighting it out for the top spot in the league. MSOE returns everyone important from last year, Marian returns a lot and also has a good recruiting class (Hull will definitely be missed). The 2 games between these teams could decide the top seed. Adrian will be good, but I don't buy the psychological argument (and they have to play Marian on the Olympic sheet).

Northland is recruiting well from the SIJHL - this league is uderrated and has some good hockey players. Perrier should be able to step in and replace their senior goaltender.

Can't wait for the puck to drop on this season!

Hammer
09-22-2011, 07:49 PM
I hereby reserve judgement on the top 3 until I see Adrian play the U-18 team in late October. I've got a rough idea, but I need to see a couple things first.

From 4-8:
4) Lawrence
5) Northland
6) Lake Forest
7) Finlandia
8) Concordia

As bad as Finlandia was last year (and yes, they were horrid), if Lake Forest continues to focus on bringing in prep schoolers, I suspect that Finlandia will pass them in short order by next season, or sooner.

I'm not brave enough yet to pick Northland 4th in this conference, but they are clearly the most improved team in the MCHA the last three years.

As for Concordia, I don't know. I figured they'd improve much more rapidly than Northland did. I'm very much surprised by this turn of event.

I think this year we're going to find out just how far the league has improved since Adrian came in and obliterated everyone the last four years, and delivered the AQ to the league in the process. Adrian is not a complete rebuild, but this appears to be as open as the conference has been since December 2007.

AVFC
09-22-2011, 09:32 PM
I hereby reserve judgement on the top 3 until I see Adrian play the U-18 team in late October. I've got a rough idea, but I need to see a couple things first.

From 4-8:
4) Lawrence
5) Northland
6) Lake Forest
7) Finlandia
8) Concordia

As bad as Finlandia was last year (and yes, they were horrid), if Lake Forest continues to focus on bringing in prep schoolers, I suspect that Finlandia will pass them in short order by next season, or sooner.

I'm not brave enough yet to pick Northland 4th in this conference, but they are clearly the most improved team in the MCHA the last three years.

As for Concordia, I don't know. I figured they'd improve much more rapidly than Northland did. I'm very much surprised by this turn of event.

I think this year we're going to find out just how far the league has improved since Adrian came in and obliterated everyone the last four years, and delivered the AQ to the league in the process. Adrian is not a complete rebuild, but this appears to be as open as the conference has been since December 2007.

I honestly think Finlandia will be better and the team will continue to get better. I think last season's nightmare had less to do with support for the program and more to do with the coaching change and the timing of the coaching change. Even the best coaches need time to recruit players they like and who fit their program. It Mel at Tech starts cutting guys, I wonder if any will trickle down to Finlandia. I think Lake will be going through a similar process this year. From what I have heard, McKelvie is highly regarded in the coaching community. I think he will get Lake back on track. It will take more than one year, but I think he will get them there in the end. I fully expect him to go after junior kids given his recruiting work as a D1 assistant.

Northland's issues in the past have had less to do with recruiting and more to do with holding onto kids. I think the better they get, the easier it will be to retain kids. Lawrence is getting better, so Northland will have their work cut out for them if they want to move up.

MW49
09-23-2011, 01:15 AM
Due to the imbalance of the MCHA schedule it is easier to pick the teams by their division. The way I see it the North division teams are in a very top heavy division, and the South division is more close to parity.

North-
1) MSOE - The most balanced team. They have a very good offense, a solid defense, and the best goalie .
2) Adrian- Still a very strong offense, a somewhat rebuilt defense, and we'll need some time to see how the tenders pan out.
3) Concordia, WI- Offense is young with 10 of 12 top scorers last year being underclassmen. The defense has 5 returners
that logged 22+games last year. The netminder is an experienced Senior.
4) Lake Forest- They lost their top tender, their top scorer, and their top defenseman all of whom would of been Juniors.
The offense's top 4 returning forwards are basically 'assist' men totalling 15G and 35A in 27 games last year. The
defense has 5 reliable returners. The netminders are capable, but injury prone.

South-
1) Marian- Potent offense, a solid defense, and the best goalie tandem in the MCHA.
2) Lawrence- The offense is solid with several good returners, LFC's leading scorer , and a Swedish recruit. The defense is experienced with 5 vets.
The net will be capably covered by two vets and two recruits.
3) Northland- The offense is good, but top heavy. The top 3 returning scorers were the only guys to be in the MCHA top 40. The defense has
experience, but will probably have to rely on a rookie in net. The returning goalers haven't logged any significant game time over the last
two seasons.
4) Findlandia- Another young offense that now has 5 of their top 8 scorers from last year as Sophs. They have 8 defensive vets so experience is
there, but they must step it up or problems will continue. The netminders have years , but not much time on the clock

NorthernLite
09-23-2011, 12:42 PM
The MCHA has clearly established a healthy new identity for itself. The 20 game conference schedule that I once considered restrictive, isn't looking too shabby. There is probably more excitement and anticipation for this conference, and this season,.. than any that preceeded it. Great discussion and commentary by all. Hope this continues as the season progresses.


1) Adrian ....until someone dethrones them, they remain on top. Sixteen new faces listed in the program....so concerns about goaltending or team chemistry may be valid in the early going....however, plenty of games on the schedule with which to experiment in the LAB. I expect to see a very different team in terms of size (smaller), speed (faster) and balance (scoring) . And in case anyone perceives this as a bunch of kinder, gentler Bulldog puppies, I would add that I expect to see a very similar team in terms of their delight for disciplined physical play:eek:......so won't that be fun ? :cool:

2) MSOE.....under performed to close out last season. Conference Player of the Year was in attendance to accept his award .....but then didn't show up to play the next day and COTY had to pull him in the 3rd period. They have a solid line-up returning and some nice recruits. Actually, I like their N/C schedule. It's the type of schedule that a team like MSOE needs...., to build confidence. If they have less than 4 losses with that schedule....I'd prefer not to have to meet them in the playoffs........unless of course Toomey wins POTY ! :p

3) Marian...... Dubetz has All American potential and I expect he will lead this team....that is if Wise can find anyone who can skate with him. A pretty good supporting cast of players including a decent tandem in net. The schedule is loaded with tough games early, but as for the home stretch ...not so much. They should have great momentum down the stretch, but I'd like their chances better if they could play their schedule backwards.:D

4) Lawrence......will compete every night ........and probably win a couple of upsets along the way. While they appear to have closed the gap , I'm afraid it's not enough to crack the top 3.

5) Lake Forest.......forrresters aveh a nu coach with an altitude + recroots sharp as a fornax.(punny) = sea u ni placido loozers.;)

6) Finlandia .........In case you haven't noticed Michigan based teams named the LIONS are restoring their ROAR. :cool:A new coach has a work in progress in this rather remote northern area, rich with hockey tradition and talent,.... not to mention moose hunters.:D I'm thinking this program may wind up being the most improved in 2011-12, but not enough to challenge the top.

7) Northland.......A lot of turnover on this roster and too many holes to fill to be a consistent competitive program. My choice at 7th may be unfair ....it 's probably the memories of a lot of really ugly games at Adrian that linger.

8) Concordia (Wis.)......Tony Hrkac: a Hobey Baker winner.....an NHL vet who Don Cherry honoured with membership in the famed Black Aces,........and from what I've been told he's just a great person. What makes no sense to me ..... 5th season >> 8-89-7.:( If this program had any potential to improve .....we should have seen it by now.

AVFC
09-26-2011, 05:03 PM
The MCHA has clearly established a healthy new identity for itself. The 20 game conference schedule that I once considered restrictive, isn't looking too shabby. There is probably more excitement and anticipation for this conference, and this season,.. than any that preceeded it. Great discussion and commentary by all. Hope this continues as the season progresses.


1) Adrian ....until someone dethrones them, they remain on top. Sixteen new faces listed in the program....so concerns about goaltending or team chemistry may be valid in the early going....however, plenty of games on the schedule with which to experiment in the LAB. I expect to see a very different team in terms of size (smaller), speed (faster) and balance (scoring) . And in case anyone perceives this as a bunch of kinder, gentler Bulldog puppies, I would add that I expect to see a very similar team in terms of their delight for disciplined physical play:eek:......so won't that be fun ? :cool:

2) MSOE.....under performed to close out last season. Conference Player of the Year was in attendance to accept his award .....but then didn't show up to play the next day and COTY had to pull him in the 3rd period. They have a solid line-up returning and some nice recruits. Actually, I like their N/C schedule. It's the type of schedule that a team like MSOE needs...., to build confidence. If they have less than 4 losses with that schedule....I'd prefer not to have to meet them in the playoffs........unless of course Toomey wins POTY ! :p

3) Marian...... Dubetz has All American potential and I expect he will lead this team....that is if Wise can find anyone who can skate with him. A pretty good supporting cast of players including a decent tandem in net. The schedule is loaded with tough games early, but as for the home stretch ...not so much. They should have great momentum down the stretch, but I'd like their chances better if they could play their schedule backwards.:D

4) Lawrence......will compete every night ........and probably win a couple of upsets along the way. While they appear to have closed the gap , I'm afraid it's not enough to crack the top 3.

5) Lake Forest.......forrresters aveh a nu coach with an altitude + recroots sharp as a fornax.(punny) = sea u ni placido loozers.;)

6) Finlandia .........In case you haven't noticed Michigan based teams named the LIONS are restoring their ROAR. :cool:A new coach has a work in progress in this rather remote northern area, rich with hockey tradition and talent,.... not to mention moose hunters.:D I'm thinking this program may wind up being the most improved in 2011-12, but not enough to challenge the top.

7) Northland.......A lot of turnover on this roster and too many holes to fill to be a consistent competitive program. My choice at 7th may be unfair ....it 's probably the memories of a lot of really ugly games at Adrian that linger.

8) Concordia (Wis.)......Tony Hrkac: a Hobey Baker winner.....an NHL vet who Don Cherry honoured with membership in the famed Black Aces,........and from what I've been told he's just a great person. What makes no sense to me ..... 5th season >> 8-89-7.:( If this program had any potential to improve .....we should have seen it by now.

I think it is very fair to question MSOE's NC schedule apart from Hamline. It is probably only the fifth hardest NC schedule in the conference. Lawrence, Marian and Adrian are not afraid to play tough NC schedules, so why is MSOE playing the bottom half of the MIAC table?

NorthernLite
09-26-2011, 06:36 PM
I think it is very fair to question MSOE's NC schedule apart from Hamline. It is probably only the fifth hardest NC schedule in the conference. Lawrence, Marian and Adrian are not afraid to play tough NC schedules, so why is MSOE playing the bottom half of the MIAC table?

Certainly it's fair to question MSOE's N/C schedule. Most, including myself would agree that their chosen opponents aren't likely to help them in strength of schedule discussions, however it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that the only MCHA team that will qualify for a spot in the tournament will be the conference champion. I'm quite sure MSOE aren't afraid to load up on tougher opponents, but this schedule is one that affords them the opportunity to prepare themselves and build confidence/momentum with victories. I think this N/C schedule and the 20 game MCHA schedule should provide plenty of tough games to prepare them for what follows.

How would you rate a N/C schedule that included:
Concordia, Wis.
Lawrence
Marian
St. Olaf
Gustavis Adolphus
St. Mary's
Augsburg

Guess who has lined up these opponents ? Would you question their scheduling ?

Sir Nubs
09-26-2011, 09:36 PM
Certainly it's fair to question MSOE's N/C schedule. Most, including myself would agree that their chosen opponents aren't likely to help them in strength of schedule discussions, however it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that the only MCHA team that will qualify for a spot in the tournament will be the conference champion. I'm quite sure MSOE aren't afraid to load up on tougher opponents, but this schedule is one that affords them the opportunity to prepare themselves and build confidence/momentum with victories. I think this N/C schedule and the 20 game MCHA schedule should provide plenty of tough games to prepare them for what follows.

How would you rate a N/C schedule that included:
Concordia, Wis.
Lawrence
Marian
St. Olaf
Gustavis Adolphus
St. Mary's
Augsburg

Guess who has lined up these opponents ? Would you question their scheduling ?

From my understanding the NCHA-MIAC interlock the opponents rotate around. St. Norbert has played in that turkey tourny with Lawrence and Marian for several years. Not much flexibility there for SNC, which did have to play Hamline the last two years.

altazo
09-27-2011, 08:33 AM
Certainly it's fair to question MSOE's N/C schedule. Most, including myself would agree that their chosen opponents aren't likely to help them in strength of schedule discussions, however it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that the only MCHA team that will qualify for a spot in the tournament will be the conference champion. I'm quite sure MSOE aren't afraid to load up on tougher opponents, but this schedule is one that affords them the opportunity to prepare themselves and build confidence/momentum with victories. I think this N/C schedule and the 20 game MCHA schedule should provide plenty of tough games to prepare them for what follows.

How would you rate a N/C schedule that included:
Concordia, Wis.
Lawrence
Marian
St. Olaf
Gustavis Adolphus
St. Mary's
Augsburg

Guess who has lined up these opponents ? Would you question their scheduling ?

I agree with what you are saying about MSOE.

However, SNC's strength of schedule rating comes from their conference schedule, not who they play outside the NCHA. That's still a big difference between the MCHA and NCHA.

NorthernLite
09-27-2011, 08:34 AM
From my understanding the NCHA-MIAC interlock the opponents rotate around. St. Norbert has played in that turkey tourny with Lawrence and Marian for several years. Not much flexibility there for SNC, which did have to play Hamline the last two years.

Why so defensive ? SNC has every bit as much flexibility, and faces the same challenges scheduling N/C games as any other DIII program.

There are good reasons why SNC has scheduled these teams. (i.e. convenience,costs, strong relationships, reciprical arrangements, the opportunity to asses depth, perhaps teams they prefer to meet are unavailable etc...)

NorthernLite
09-27-2011, 09:27 AM
I agree with what you are saying about MSOE.

However, SNC's strength of schedule rating comes from their conference schedule, not who they play outside the NCHA. That's still a big difference between the MCHA and NCHA.

Exactly. If the conference is strong, the members have a remote chance of scoring an at large bid. N/C schedules are of less consequence to teams like SNC. They are challenged every time they lace them up for a conference game, and they have years of tournament experience to draw from when it comes to crunch time.

The MCHA aren't there yet. An at large bid isn't in the cards ...... so N/C opponents are chosen on the basis of who is available, and what each coach believes will best prepare their team to win the conference. The question then becomes;- Is the MCHA strong enough at the top prepare it's champion for tournament success ? Last year the answer was yes.

Sir Nubs
09-27-2011, 09:42 AM
Why so defensive ? SNC has every bit as much flexibility, and faces the same challeges scheduling N/C games as any other DIII program.

There are good reasons why SNC has scheduled these teams. (i.e. convenience,costs, strong relationships, reciprical arrangements, the opportunity to asses depth, perhaps teams they prefer to meet are unavailable etc...)

Not being defensive at all, just pointing out a fact. Besides, SNC has 18 conference games (and no cupcakes to be found in that entire 18) and 4 interlock games with the MIAC that are predetermined on a rotating basis. So that leaves three games left to schedule. Two are in the annual Thanksgiving tourny. That leaves one game, which it looks this year is a game to get ready for an important league series right off the bat. Perhaps that is too difficult a sequence for you to understand.

altazo
09-27-2011, 09:45 AM
Regardless of SNC's NC schedule, the last two seasons they seem to have been well enough prepared to end Adrian's season, eh? ;)

NorthernLite
09-27-2011, 10:54 AM
Not being defensive at all, just pointing out a fact. Besides, SNC has 18 conference games (and no cupcakes to be found in that entire 18) and 4 interlock games with the MIAC that are predetermined on a rotating basis. So that leaves three games left to schedule. Two are in the annual Thanksgiving tourny. That leaves one game, which it looks this year is a game to get ready for an important league series right off the bat. Perhaps that is too difficult a sequence for you to understand.

Perhaps it is you that fail at reading comprehension.
I have not been critical of SNC's schedule. Perhaps if you take the time to read what I posted..........(instead of being so defensive) .......you should figure out that I have no issues with who, or how they schedule their non-conference games. They are scheduled for a purpose by the Coach.........and I doubt his choices have anything to do with the lack of cupcakes you refer to in the gruelling 18 conference matchups.

AVFC
09-27-2011, 11:04 AM
IMHO their NC schedule looks like the MCHA circa 2003 when the better teams in the league could only compete with the bottom half of the MIAC. I would like to think that the league (apart from Adrian) has made some progress since then. The credibility and viability of the MCHA is bolstered by its best teams beating or holding their own against the better teams in the region. MSOE simply does not help this cause this season. There is no question that the AQ is required to get into the NCAA tournament. That isn't really an excuse though for not challenging your team out of conference. If anything, it makes defeat out of conference less meaningful.

Apart from Concordia, SNC's NC schedule looks pretty reasonable if you ask me. LU and Marian are just down the road and the former has some other connections to SNC. Both had success against NCHA teams last season. Gustavus is traditionally one of the better MIAC schools and the Auggies are usually at least mid-pack in the MIAC. I think it is no worse than MSOE's.

NorthernLite
09-27-2011, 11:13 AM
Regardless of SNC's NC schedule, the last two seasons they seem to have been well enough prepared to end Adrian's season, eh? ;)

St. Norbert are program with a great tradition of winning and a fantastic group of fans.
They are very worthy champions.
I do look forward to our next game with the SNC but with a different result eh !;)

NorthernLite
09-27-2011, 11:49 AM
IMHO their NC schedule looks like the MCHA circa 2003 when the better teams in the league could only compete with the bottom half of the MIAC. I would like to think that the league (apart from Adrian) has made some progress since then. The credibility and viability of the MCHA is bolstered by its best teams beating or holding their own against the better teams in the region. MSOE simply does not help this cause this season. There is no question that the AQ is required to get into the NCAA tournament. That isn't really an excuse though for not challenging your team out of conference. If anything, it makes defeat out of conference less meaningful.

Apart from Concordia, SNC's NC schedule looks pretty reasonable if you ask me. LU and Marian are just down the road and the former has some other connections to SNC. Both had success against NCHA teams last season. Gustavus is traditionally one of the better MIAC schools and the Auggies are usually at least mid-pack in the MIAC. I think it is no worse than MSOE's.

I agree with you. MSOE's N/C schedule will do little to bolster the credibility of the MCHA. I'm sure they regard it as a schedule that will bolster team chemistry to challenge for the MCHA championship. I have my doubts that it will be a recipe for success beyond that. Adrian's last two years included trips to Hamline, Oswego and to the Northfield Bank Tournament in Norwich, to gain a measure of where they they stood, and in so doing got value in the preparation process. It took two years to accomplish that. MSOE are testing themselves another way in the hopes that 8+ games against the top MCHA teams will prepare them for the next step. I'm not sure it will.

Sir Nubs
09-27-2011, 09:38 PM
Perhaps it is you that fail at reading comprehension.
I have not been critical of SNC's schedule. Perhaps if you take the time to read what I posted..........(instead of being so defensive) .......you should figure out that I have no issues with who, or how they schedule their non-conference games. They are scheduled for a purpose by the Coach.........and I doubt his choices have anything to do with the lack of cupcakes you refer to in the gruelling 18 conference matchups.

My point was that NCHA teams have very few choices (1-3) as to who to schedule non-conference. It's not being defensive but it's fact. But as I expected you got all haughty that a NCHA fan is casting aspersions that the MCHA is a wheelchair league. We will see where the MCHA tourny champion gets seeded in the NCAA Tourny this year if they don't have any wins over a conference champion on their resume.