WAFT knows that it is far too early to pay attention to the specific pairwise rankings. They will not appear in these post until much later in the season, but the thrust of these posts will be to highlight the successes or failures of the programs whose successes or failures upon which Cornell will depend ultimately when selection and seeding of 2013 NCAA Tournament teams occurs at the end of the season while also focusing upon results that may alter the complexion of the national college hockey landscape.
Date of Games Against Cornell: October 26 and October 27
Analysis: The momentum from the Tigers's first weekend of regular-season play capped off with two wins against Clarkson continued with Colorado College defeating Air Force 6-2. The following night, the Tigers dropped disappointingly a game against UMass-Lowell losing 3-1 with the River Hawks adding an empty-net tally to produce the final score.
Key PWR Points: Colorado College comes to East Hill in three days. The main PWR points that they
bring with them so far are from the win over Air Force that will provide comparisons for Cornell against
most of Atlantic Hockey, as Air Force is the dominant program in that conference, if Cornell earns victory
against the Tigers this weekend as well as the WCHA slate that the Tigers will play later in the season.
Date of Game Against Cornell: November 24
Analysis: Michigan has not been behaving very Michigan-like in its play at this early point in the season. Michigan managed to salvage only a split against RIT last weekend and this weekend, Bentley nearly made Atlantic Hockey 2-1-0 at Yost this season. The Wolverines avoided the embarrassment with a fiery
response in the second and third periods to claim a 6-3 victory after starting somewhat lethargically.
Key PWR Points: Surprisingly few. CC's win over Air Force will prove likely more valuable for any
comparisons against Atlantic Hockey teams than Michigan's split against RIT. Michigan does have the
entire slate against the CCHA that will prove beneficial to Cornell in the long run, especially if Michigan
starts playing Michigan hockey again. I have little doubt that it will.
Date of Game Against Cornell: December 28
Analysis: The PWR overlap with the Bulldogs will be quite extensive and Cornell will have many opportunities to capitalize on the likely success of the 2012 Frozen Four participants and national runners-up. This is due in large part to RPI's convincing and laudable series against Ferris State last weekend in which RPI defeated the Bulldogs 3-1 and then tied them the next night. The win was big for the Appert-led Engineers as well as the ECAC in proving that Cornell's and Union's post-season successes were not anomalous. This last weekend, the Bulldogs played Atlantic Hockey's Mercyhurst. The Lakers
that upset Cornell last season in the regular-season season opener lost to Ferris State in their first game
and tied in the second.
Key PWR Points: The CCHA slate. The RPI win was bigger for the conference than for the PWR resume
of Cornell this season. Cornell will have direct comparisons against Ferris State from the meeting in
Estero and PWR comparisons via the regular-season series against RPI.
Date of Possible Game Against Cornell: December 29
Analysis: The Black Bears began the season with a game that would amount to an early season success for the ECAC. While Union a heavy favorite to win its season opener against Merrimack dropped that game, the ECAC saved face and continued momentum from last season when Quinnipiac upset Maine at
the Alfond with 2-1 season-opening win for both programs. Success has been rare to Maine in the two
weeks since then. The Black Bears lost to Notre Dame, 1-0, but defeated Army. St. Lawrence defeated
Maine convincingly in a display of a possibly resurgent ECAC with a sweep of 5-0 and 5-1 victories.
Key PWR Points: The Hockey East slate. The losses to St. Lawrence and Quinnipiac have little value to
Cornell's PWR resume either way because of the guaranteed ECAC series against those programs. The
loss against Notre Dame likely would have proven highly valuable had it been a win.
Date of Possible Game Against Cornell: December 29
Analysis: The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs have had an early season full of splits. However, the results may proven beneficial for comparisons for Cornell if the Florida College Hockey Classic develops in a manner that allows Cornell to meet the 2011 National Champions. The Bulldogs have earned splits against a surprisingly skillful Ohio State team and a perennially competitive Notre Dame program.
Key PWR Points: A split with Notre Dame along with the likely favorable comparisons with WCHA
Date of Games Against Cornell: January 4 and January 5
Analysis: The Pioneers have had the opportunity to compete in only two games so far this season. The two games, unsurprisingly, show promise for the Pioneers in the 2012-13 season. Denver defeated
UMass-Lowell and Air Force by margins of 5-1 and 5-2 respectively. These victories are stark when
compared to the above listed results of fellow Gold-Pan rival, Colorado College, against the same
programs. The UMass-Lowell victory could become quite crucial for Cornell's comparisons in Hockey East
if the River Hawks do as well as they did last season and if Cornell can tally a win at Magness Arena.
Key PWR Points: The early season win against UMass-Lowell will provide possibly very favorable
comparisons against Hockey East programs if the River Hawks have the same measure of success that
they did last season.
Date of Game Against Cornell: None in the regular-season.
Analysis: The newest addition to the NCAA Division I college hockey landscape has made some waves already. The Nittany Lions of Happy Valley gained some suspicious glances and were the target of condescension after the results of the Lions's first games. The Nittany Lions split against American
International and then were shut out against the Division III Buffalo State Bengals. However, the news
since has been dominated by the epicenter of a shockwave throughout the college hockey world as the
Nittany Lions went to RIT's homecoming at the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester, NY and
defeated the Tigers 3-2 while dominating at least two-thirds of the game. The likelihood of an independent
earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament is slim, but if Gadowsky's Lions can continue to
progress, PWR points will be within reach against Air Force, Michigan State, and Wisconsin,
and possibly Union. The Dutchmen of the Capital Region better take notice that these kitties have claws.
RIT learned the hard way. At this point, the Nittany Lions have more PWR points and more marquee wins
than their only ECAC opponent this season: Union. A win over RIT at the Blue Cross Arena, the same
venue where Cornell dropped a decision to RIT in 2007, is worth far more than a loss against Merrimack
and a sweep of Bowling Green. Penn State may become quickly the most valuable out-of-conference
opponent that Union will face in terms of PWR. Also, the commentators who scoff at Penn State's
first-game loss against AIC should consider history. Of ten of the most successful programs in NCAA
Division I hockey, including Boston College, Boston University, Cornell, Denver, Maine, North Dakota,
Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, only Boston University and North Dakota won their first NCAA
Division I games. All future Big Ten Hockey members lost theirs. Cornell lost its first NCAA Division I
game 9-0 against Army en route to a winless season. Penn State is in good company with the result of
its first game and after last weekend looks to be headed quickly in the right direction.
Key PWR Points: No direct comparisons for Cornell because the teams will not meet in the regular
season. However, Penn State's series against Union in November and Cornell's regular-season series
against Union will provide for PWR comparison between the two land-grant institutions. Penn State is one
of four programs that I hope that Cornell can manage to schedule within the next few seasons.