Women's NCAA Bracketology: Round 1

By Ray Biggs
Managing Editor, D3hockey.com

The first public NCAA rankings were released yesterday, which means it's that time once again for D3hockey.com to project the Women's NCAA Tournament field based on the published process the NCAA National Committee will be using to select and seed the NCAA tournament field.

Lake Forest has one of the best records in the nation, but do the Foresters have to win the NCHA to make the NCAAs?
Photo: d3photography.com

Before we proceed, however, we'd like to make a few quick points regarding our methodology: what will be seen here is the tournament field, were it set today, per our best interpretation and implementation of the published tournament selection process.  There will be no speculation, tangent theories or conjecture. 

Our job is to walk through the NCAA tournament selection process, as it can be confusing enough in its own right -- especially to those who are new to it.  If our conclusions come to be different than the actual tournament field, the reasons why will be dealt with in our annual Tournament Selections Explained article that will follow the announcements of the selections.  Simply put, our projections will not be based on anything other than the stated selction process.

 

The Tournament

  • The 2017 Women's Division III Ice Hockey Championship will consist of eight teams.
  • Five conference playoff champions will receive automatic qualifying bids (Pool A) to the tournament. Those conferences are the: ECAC West, MIAC, NCHA, NEHC & NESCAC.
  • One team will receive a Pool B bid to the tournament. This bid is reserved for independent teams as well as those that participate in conferences without a Pool A bid, which are the CHC and WIAC.
  • Two teams that do not receive Pool A bids, or the Pool B bid, will receive at-large (Pool C) bids into the tournament. Every team that did not receive a Pool A or B bid is eligible for a Pool C bid.
  • For the purpose of Pool C selection, as well as team comparisons for regional ranking purposes and tournament seeding, the NCAA committee will rely mainly on what it refers to as its Primary Criteria, which are as follows
                     
  • Win-lost percentage against Division III opponents (WIN)
  • Division III head-to-head results (H2H)
  • Results versus common Division III opponents (COP)
  • Results versus ranked Division III teams as established by the rankings at the time of selection.  Conference postseason contests are included (RNK)^
  • Division III strength of schedule (SOS)*

              Consisting of:
            -  2/3 Opponents' Average Winning Percentage (OWP)

            -  1/3 Opponents' Opponents' Winning Percentage (OOWP)

 

There are also three Secondary Criterion the committees may look at if they choose to, and they are as follows:

 
  • Non-Division III won-lost percentage
  • Results versus common non-Division III opponents
  • Win-loss record during the final 25 percent of the season(L25)

 

Regional Rankings

  • The NCAA regional committees will release three editions of regional rankings prior to tournament selection, with the release dates being February 14, 21 and 28. A fourth will be generated on March 5 but those are not released to the public. It's prudent to note that this differs from the language in the men's championship manual, which now states their final rankings will be released. The tournament field will be announced at 10 a.m. EST on Monday, March 6.
  • Both the East and West Region rankings will contain six teams.
  • For the sake of RNK, the NCAA considers a team ranked only if it is ranked at the time of tournament selection (in the March 5 final rankings).

NCAA Regional Rankings - February 14

EAST REGION WEST REGION
1. Plattsburgh State 1. UW-River Falls
2. Middlebury 2. Adrian
3. Norwich 3. Gustavus Adolphus
4. Elmira 4. Lake Forest
5. Oswego 5. Augsburg
6. Endicott 6. St. Scholastica



Pool Selection

  • Pool A:  As Bracketology assumes this would be the tournament field were the season to end today, we will use the teams leading the five Pool A eligible conferences as our automatic qualifiers. That's easy enough, except we have a tie atop the NESCAC at the moment as Middlebury and Hamilton both have 19 points. Hamilton won the head-to-head season series 2-0, which is the league's primary tiebreaker and would give the Continentals the top seed in the NESCAC tournament if the season ended today. With that heavy lifting out of the way, the five Pool A bids go to:
ECACW: Plattsburgh State
MIAC: Gustavus Adolphus
NCHA: Adrian
NEHC: Norwich
NESCAC: Hamilton

 

 

 

 

 

  • Pool B: One bid is reserved for independent teams and teams that participate in leagues that do not possess a Pool A bid. That means the CHC and the WIAC.

Each league has a clear front-runner with Endicott out of the CHC and UW-River Falls out of the WIAC, so we'll compare the two to see who claims the bid:

  ENDICOTT UW-RIVER FALLS
WIN  .8810  .9170
SOS  .4770  .5260
RNK  .0000 (0-1-0) 1.000 (4-0-0)
H2H  -  -
COP  .0000 (0-0-0)  .0000 (0-0-0)


Analysis: For Endicott and the Colonial Hockey Conference, we have good news and bad news. The good news is that Endicott brings a much better body of work to this comparison than Stevenson did a year ago, including a dramatic SOS improvement. The bad news for the Gulls is that River Falls has an even better resume this year. The Falcons hold the edge in every primary criterion, so the WIAC claims the the bid for a second year in a row. Endicott has had a strong campaign, but the current numbers hand this bid to the defending national runner-ups in pretty convincing fashion.

The Pool B Bid is Awarded To: UW-River Falls

 

  • Pool C:

We now must consider which teams will get at-large bids to the tournament. That requires looking at the highest ranked teams in the regional rankings that are not projected to win Pool A, and those are:

East: Middlebury, Elmira, Oswego

West: Lake Forest, Augsburg, St. Scholastica

In the past few years, Pool C has generally fallen into place nicely, even after the inclusion of Pool B reduced the number of Pool C bids available from three to two last season.

As always, we'll construct a table that includes WIN, SOS and RNK to see if we can draw any immediate conclusions.

  WIN SOS RNK
Elmira .7390 .5710  .3125 (1-4-3)
Middlebury .6820 .5990  .5000 (2-2-1)
Oswego .7170 .5460  .3000 (1-2-1)
Lake Forest .8910 .4350  .7000 (3-1-1)
Augsburg .6960 .4960  .3333 (1-2-0)
St. Scholastica .5450 .5470 .0555 (0-8-1)


Analysis:
 We begin with the outliers, as always, as we starting by seeing if there are any teams that we can confidently move directly into the tournament field. With a No. 2 regional ranking and an SOS metric that is a runaway national best, Middlebury is a sure bet in our minds. The Panthers' WIN lags a bit behind a few of the others, but their regional ranking speaks for itself, as does their gargantuan SOS.

Now that one of our two bids is off the table, we'll wipe away anyone who would be mathematically eliminated in the pecking order created by the regional rankings for the final spot. Thus we must bid farewell to St. Scholastica, Augsburg and Oswego, and we'll compare the highest-ranked team in the East, Elmira, with its counterpart in the East, Lake Forest:

 

  ELMIRA LAKE FOREST
WIN .7390  .8910
SOS .5710  .4350
RNK  .3125 (1-4-3)
 .7000 (3-1-1)
H2H  -  -
COP .0000 (0-1-0)  .0000 (0-1-0)

In so many of our past Pool C comparisons involving an NCHA team, those teams seem to stack up in every criterion but one: SOS. Lake Forest does just about everything it can here by claiming rather significant advantages in WIN and RNK. But, the Foresters .4350 is extremely low -- and much lower than we've ever seen brought to the table by a team selected for Pool C.

Can we really swing the entire thing on one comparison? Whew, it's tough but for now we're going to. For now. But hang tight Forester fans as if Middlebury sneaks into a Pool A spot it opens a door as Lake Forest fares well in a comparison with Oswego.

Additionally, note that Elmira and Lake Forest actually share a common opponent this year as both played Adrian. Both lost to the Bulldogs so for now that comparison is moot but that could change as Lake Forest plays Adrian twice this weekend and two could also meet in the NCHA playoff. A win or two for Lake Forest will greatly strengthen its case here. That said, we're sticking with Elmira. Barely.

The Pool C Bids are awarded to: Elmira, Middlebury

 

Setting The Field

  • Thus, our full tournament field is:
ECACE: Norwich
ECACW: Plattsburgh
MIAC: Gustavus Adolphus
NCHA: Adrian
NESCAC: Hamilton
Pool B: UW-River Falls
Pool C: Middlebury
Pool C: Elmira

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeding the Field

  • Now the field must be seeded by region.  Using this week's regional rankings, it would look something like this:

1E Plattsburgh
2E Middlebury
3E Norwich
4E Elmira
5E Hamilton

1W UW-River Falls
2W Adrian
3W Gustavus Adolphus

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the Bracket

We begin by reminding you that as we place our teams, there are two considerations that have to be noted. 

1. The NCAA 500-mile preliminary round travel limit must be adhered to if possible. Mapquest, Google Maps, or your Rand McNally Atlas are not official methods of calculating the mileage between institutions. Instead, the NCAA utilizes an institution-to-institution mileage calculator, which is available online.

2. Per the NCAA Pre-Championship manual, we cannot pair teams from the same conference against one another in the quarterfinals.

In this scenario, we have the 5/3 split in favor of the East. In many cases, the unbalanced regional split means a flight for at least one quarterfinal game with most inter-regional opponents being over 500 miles apart. However, we can avoid that this year -- and in fact are required to -- as Adrian and Elmira are within 500 miles of each other. As you may recall, this match-up was featured in last year's bracket and we saw Elmira go to Adrian and score a win. Time for round two, which will again be in Adrian by virtue of the Bulldogs' higher regional rank.

With those two pairing off, we think the rest of the bracket's match-ups are completely straightforward. River Falls will host Gustavus Adolphus in the lone all-West quarterfinal, while the two all-East quarters fall into place by regional rank/seed. This means Plattsburgh State will host Hamilton, and Middlebury will host Norwich.

        Click to view full size

Our quarterfinal match-ups are:

5E Hamilton at 1E Plattsburgh
4E Elmira at 2W Adrian
3E Norwich at 2E Middlebury
3W Gustavus at 1W UW-River Falls

Which leaves us two more things to check. One, do we have any teams from the same conference meeting in the quarterfinals? We do not, so we're in the clear there, but then which teams should be lined up to meet in the semifinals? Obviously we're going to put Plattsburgh and UW-River Falls on opposite sides of the bracket, and as we highly suspect Plattsburgh is the top overall seed we're going to line up what we believe the lower-seeded No. 2 regional team, Middlebury, with the Cardinals. This is exactly what happened last season.

Which yields potential semifinal match-ups of:

Plattsburgh State/Hamilton v. Middlebury/Norwich
UW-River Falls/Gustavus Adolphus v. Adrian/Elmira

And that's that for the week. But stay tuned as three more installments are in store and things are highly subject to change. After all, they always do...

 

Thoughts?

Questions, comments, you'd like further explanation or you simply think we're nuts?  No problem, we'd love to hear from you.  Feel free to comment below, or you can always yell at us on twitter @d3hky.

 

 

~

The Road to Utica: Men's Bracketology, Take I

by Matthew Webb
Senior Writer, D3hockey.com

The first NCAA regional rankings were released on Tuesday which means it's once again time for D3hockey.com to project the Men's NCAA Tournament field based on the published process the NCAA National Committee should be using to select and seed the NCAA tournament.

At the beginning of the season who would have predicted Endicott would check in at No. 2 in the debut East Rankings?
Photo: Endicott Athletics

This year, we hope we can be as illustrative as we were a year ago as our final projection on Selection Sunday matched the NCAA's bracket exactly. We were extremely happy with this, but not because we "predicted" it exactly since the purpose of this exercise is not to predict a bracket. Rather, it meant our interpretation of the process was identical to the committee's and as we aim to illustrate the process in the best and most fair way possible...it means we interpreted it correctly, which really is the ultimate goal. Hopefully we can deliver a repeat performance this time around.

A reminder, as we wish to make it very clear: our goal, and only goal, is to illustrate the process as it is published in the NCAA Men's Division III Ice Hockey Pre-Championship Manual. To do so we will implement the process based on known regional rankings and NCAA-generated statistics for the relevant teams, and we will do so to yield the bracket that we feel maximizes fairness and equity of the field while concurrently adhering to NCAA rules.  To this end, we remind ourselves of a few governing principles that we consider to be paramount:

  • Process, process, process. The published process is the only thing that matters. You might not like it and we might not like parts of it, but it is what it is. To worry about things outside of the process muddies the waters and tends to lead to more confusion amongst fans than it resolves. Learn more about the process here.
  • It has been numerous years since the tournament selection yielded an outcome that was not easily explained by the tenets of the process itself. While some, including us, may have differed with the committee's decisions at times, they nonetheless have fallen completely within the framework of the process.
  • To cross the boundary from interpretation and application to delve into the world of speculation does a disservice to everyone. There is enough of that swirling around out there this time of year and it is something we will not engage in. Our goal is to shed light on the process, not obfuscate it for the sake of our own egos.

With that said, time to embark on the most fun and hopefully enlightening exercise of the season.

In the immortal words of Al Bundy: "Let's Rock."

 

The Tournament

  • The 2017 Men's Division III Ice Hockey Championship will consist of 12 teams.
  • Seven conference playoff champions will receive automatic qualifying bids (Pool A) to the tournament. These conferences are the: CCC, MASCAC, MIAC, NCHA, NEHC, NESCAC & SUNYAC.
  • One team from a conference that does not possess a Pool A bid will receive a Pool B bid. This will be awarded to an independent, ECAC West or WIAC team.
  • Four teams that do not receive Pool A bids nor the Pool B bid will receive at-large (Pool C) bids into the tournament. Every team that did not receive a Pool A or Pool B bid is eligible for a Pool C bid.
  • For the purpose of Pool C selection, as well as team comparisons for regional ranking purposes and tournament seeding, the NCAA committee will rely mainly on what it refers to as its Primary Criteria, which are as follows:

                     
  • Win-lost percentage against Division III opponents (WIN)
  • Division III head-to-head results (H2H)
  • Results versus common Division III opponents (COP)
  • Results versus ranked Division III teams as established by the rankings at the time of selection.  Conference postseason contests are included (RNK)
  • Division III strength of schedule (SOS)*

              Consisting of:
            -  2/3 Opponents' Average Winning Percentage (OWP)

            -  1/3 Opponents' Opponents' Winning Percentage (OOWP)

 

There are also three Secondary Criterion the committees may look at if they are unable to come to a determination by using only the primary criteria, and they are as follows:

 
  • Non-Division III won-lost percentage
  • Results versus common non-Division III opponents
  • Win-lost percentage during the last 25% of the season (L25)

 

Regional Rankings

  • The NCAA regional committees will release three editions of regional rankings prior to tournament selection, with the release dates being February 14, 21 and 28. A fourth will be generated on Selection Sunday (March 5) and is slated to be released to the public on March 6.
  • The East Region rankings will contain ten teams, the West Region five.
  • For the sake of RNK, the NCAA considers a team ranked only if it is ranked at the time of tournament selection (in the March 6 final rankings).

 

NCAA Regional Rankings - February 14

EAST REGION WEST REGION
1. Norwich 1. St. Norbert
2. Endicott
2. UW-Stevens Point
3. Oswego State
3. Adrian
4. Hobart 4. Augsburg
5. Babson 5. UW-Eau Claire
6. Williams  
7. Hamilton  
8. Utica  
9. SUNY Geneseo
 
10. Amherst  


Analysis: We won't spend too much time here as for our purposes all we care about is what these are as opposed to why these are what they are, but one quick note:

1. Strength-of-schedule (SOS) appears to be pulling some significant weight in the East rankings, at least in some instances. As RNK was not considered by the committees in the generation of this set of rankings, SOS must be responsible for what we consider Babson's somewhat surprisingly high ranking, as well as the somewhat surprisingly low rankings of Hamilton and SUNY Geneseo. However, the relatively pedestrian SOS numbers of Norwich and Oswego State do not seem to be hurting either.

 

Pool Selection


  • Pool A

As Bracketology assumes this would be the tournament field were the season to end today, we will use the teams leading the seven Pool A eligible conferences as our automatic qualifiers.  Thus, the seven Pool A bids go to:

CCC: Nichols
MASCAC: Plymouth State
MIAC: Augsburg
NCHA: Adrian
NEHC: Norwich
NESCAC: Williams
SUNYAC Oswego State

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Pool B:

As only ECAC West, WIAC, and independent teams are eligible here, this should be easy enough. No independent teams are anywhere in the mix so we'll compare the highest-ranked ECAC West team, Hobart, with the highest-ranked WIAC team, UW-Stevens Point:

  HOBART STEVENS POINT
WIN  .7390  .7800
SOS  .5260  .5220
RNK  .5000 (2-2-1)
 .6426 (4-2-1)
H2H  -  -
COP  -  -


Analysis:
Two years ago UW-Stevens Point edged Hobart for this bid but Hobart made it into the field anyway via the Pool C route. Last year we saw the opposite as Hobart landed this bid while UW-Stevens Point snagged a Pool C to get in anyway. And now we've got the same two teams duking it out again, so who's it going to be?

It's close, but it's fairly obvious -- for now, at least, as a lot could change for both of these teams between now and Selection Sunday. We see Stevens Point with advantages in WIN and RNK while Hobart's only edge is a very small one in SOS. Is this very small SOS advantage enough to swing the entire comparison in Hobart's direction? No, it is not.

The Pool B bid is awarded to: UW-Stevens Point

 

  • Pool C:

We now must consider which teams will get at-large bids to the tournament. That requires looking at the highest ranked teams in the regional rankings that are not projected to win Pool A, and those are:

East: Endicott, Hobart, Babson, Hamilton

West: St. Norbert, UW-Eau Claire

Let's begin by constructing a table that shows each of these six teams' relative winning percentage (WIN), strength-of-schedule (SOS), and record against ranked teams (RNK). We'll eye things up and see if we can come to any obvious conclusions.

  WIN SOS RNK
Endicott  .8000  .5380  .5000 (0-0-1)
Hobart  .7390  .5260  .5000 (2-2-1)
Babson  .6430  .5470  .3333 (1-3-2)
Hamilton  .7620  .5020  .5000 (1-1-2)
St. Norbert
 .8040  .4990  1.000 (3-0-0)
UW-Eau Claire
 .7000  .5280  .0000 (0-5-0)


Analysis:
Before going too crazy with analysis, do you see a potential problem here? We do. Namely, we've got four bids up for grabs and only two ranked West Region teams remaining as Adrian, Augsburg and UW-Stevens Point are already in the field. So what happens if we start handing out bids and end up with bids remaining but no West teams left? Well, that's not going to happen this time, but if it should at some point...well, we know the answer but we'll worry about that if/when we need to.

As always, we try to streamline this analysis by taking a quick look at the numbers to see if there's any team(s) we can confidently move directly into the tournament field. So are there any?

Well, we actually think there are four and we can wrap this up in a hurry, but let's start with just two. St. Norbert and Endicott are getting in.

St. Norbert is the top-ranked team in the West in this week's regional rankings, has the best WIN of the group and is perfect in RNK. Yes the Green Knights have the weakest SOS of this group, but in this instance we don't believe it matters as, simply put, the committee has spoken and the number one team in a region isn't going to sit at home. A note to keep an eye on for future weeks: St. Norbert holds the edge in a COP comparison with Hobart.

Endicott. Really? Endicott? You bet Endicott. The Gulls have the second-highest WIN, the second-highest SOS, and sure their RNK is a bit thin, but that tie came on the road at Norwich, which just happens to be the No. 1 team in the East Rankings. Trying to spin Endicott into a spot where it is not in the top four of this group is an impossible task for us, plus it has the highest regional rank of all teams not yet into the field. Welcome to your first NCAA tournament, Gulls.

Now, we've got four teams vying for two spots. Let's try our other shortcut and see if there is any team we can simply discount. There is, and it's UW-Eau Claire. Of the four remaining teams the Blugolds have just the third-best WIN and their 0-5 in RNK is a veritable anchor. The solid SOS isn't enough to save them.

And we're down to three Eastern teams for the final two bids: Hobart, Babson and Hamilton. Thankfully, the East committee has already done the work for us on this one. Hamilton is the lowest ranked of the three in this week's regional rankings so unfortunately for the Continentals, while they've got our favorite nickname in Division III (for real), their tremendous season comes to an end just short of the NCAAs.

The Pool C bids are awarded to: St. Norbert, Endicott, Hobart, Babson

 

Setting the Field

Thus, our full tournament field is: 

CCC: Nichols
MASCAC: Plymouth State
MIAC: Augsburg
NCHA: Adrian
NEHC: Norwich
NESCAC: Williams
SUNYAC: Oswego State
Pool B: UW-Stevens Point
Pool C: St. Norbert
Pool C: Endicott
Pool C: Hobart
Pool C: Babson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeding the Field

Now the field must be seeded by region. Using this week's regional rankings (and a bit of guesswork on a tight comparison between Plymouth State and Nichols that could certainly be wrong), it would look something like this:

1E Norwich
2E Endicott
3E Oswego State
4E Hobart
5E Babson
6E Williams
7E Plymouth State
8E Nichols

1W St. Norbert
2W UW-Stevens Point
3W Adrian
4W Augsburg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the Bracket

A few months ago we saw someone purport that a 12-team bracket would be "impossible" to manage, and we laughed. Why? Because it's an absurd contention for one, but more importantly because it's no harder to manage than an 11-team one is and we all managed to deal with that bit of asymmetry for years.

So we've got ourselves an 8-4 split, which presents the exact same question the 7-4 split of the past few years has. Namely, do we go with two West Region quarterfinals, two West Region first round games, or send Adrian east and roll with one quarterfinal in the West?

Considering the West's numbers aren't as dominant as they have been past few years but also are far from weak, we like the middle road here as we feel it maintaints the best seed integrity we can while adhering to NCAA travel restrictions. Most conveniently, Hobart and Oswego State are both within allowable travel range for Adrian, so what if we set up an Adrian-Hobart-Oswego quarterfinal triad? We like it, and so does the NCAA because this is exactly what it did with the actual bracket in 2015.

Going by regional rank, this slots Hobart at Adrian in the first round with the winner going to Oswego for a quarterfinal. The West quarterfinal thus becomes elementary as, once again going by regional rank, we get Augsburg at UW-Stevens Point in the first round with the winner going to St. Norbert for a quarterfinal.

From there, we simply drop the remaining East teams in by seeds and we're done.

Our bracket is:

 

First Round

4W Augsburg @ 2W UW-Stevens Point

Click to view full-size.

4E Hobart @ 3W Adrian

8E Nichols @ 5E Babson

7E Plymouth State @ 6E Williams

 

Quarterfinals

4W Augsburg/2W UW-Stevens Point @ 1W St. Norbert

8E Nichols/5E Babson @ 2E Endicott

4E Hobart/3W Adrian @ 3E Oswego State

7E Plymouth State/6E Williams @ 1E Norwich

 

 

Analysis: 

As we have, in our opinion, maximized bracket integrity while adhering to travel limitations, the only question left is which teams should be lined up to face off in the semifinals? We're going to put the No. 1 regional seeds on opposite sides of the bracket and also set up the potential for East-West semifinals (which our regular readers will know we have a habit of doing). To do otherwise we'd have to guess at national seeds, and things are pretty tight so for now we're just going to use common sense and go with the E-W semifinals:

Augsburg/UW-Stevens Point/St. Norbert v. Nichols/Babson/Endicott
Hobart/Adrian/Oswego State v. Plymouth State/Williams/Norwich

Not the results you were hoping for? Have no fear as events over the course of the next few weeks will render this first edition of Bracketology useless, but as things stand now this is the NCAA tournament yielded by our best attempt to fairly and objectively apply the published NCAA tournament selection process.

 

Thoughts?

Questions or comments you'd like further explanation on or you simply think we're nuts?  No problem, we'd love to hear from you.  Feel free to jump in with your own questions or ideas in the Bracketology Discussion over on the D3sports forums, comment below, or you can always yell at us on twitter @d3hky.

 

~

D3hockey.com Men's Team of the Week: February 8th

Compiled by D3hockey.com Staff --

The ECAC West heats up, two Beavers build their way onto the list, and the Cardinal win over the Lakers headlined our week in Division III hockey. Read all about the players who made it happen in our Men's Team of the Week. 

Babson's Dan Casey was instrumental in the Beaver cause as they tied Norwich. 
Photo: Babson Athletics

How it works: Each week, Sports Information Directors from across the country submit week-long performances they've deemed worthy of being placed among the best in the nation in the week that was. For award purposes, a normal week will run from Monday to Sunday, so any games played on deadline day (deadline for nominations is 8pm Monday) are incorporated into the following week's award cycle. 

Once we get the school and league nominations, check out conference weekly releases, and pick the brains of our own staff to get the clearest picture we can, we select among top performances by position. It's an elite group. Three forwards, two defensemen, one goaltender. Nothing else. To get here, means you're one of best performers on the ice at your position in the week that was. 

To be clear, we aren't just looking at raw numbers. We're also looking to incorporate players that contributed in the pivotal moments, season defining wins, and stunning upsets that make our brand of hockey so exciting.

Don't see a player here? Think they would have made the cut? Encourage your school's Sports Information Director to nominate deserving players each week. From now, through the week following conference championship games, SIDs can submit their nominations from 10pm each Saturday night until 8pm on Mondays utilizing their PrestoSports login at http://d3football.com/nominations/award-status. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, weekly releases from our member conferences are also accepted. 

Now that we've explained the process, let's get to it. Here is your D3hockey.com National Team of the Week:

Goaltender

Bryan Botcher, Babson, Sophomore
Botcher continued his stellar play with a career-high 45 saves in a 2-2 OT tie against No. 1/1 Norwich on Friday night. The junior netminder posted a 1.85 goals against average and a .957 save percentage, and is now unbeaten in four consecutive starts.  

Defense

Scott Milnthorp, Marian, Senior
Milnthorp anchored the Sabre blue line with a four-point weekend to lead the Sabres to a sweep of Finlandia. Milnthorp assisted a pair of goals in the opener before finding the back of the net twice in the finale. The senior defenseman finished the weekend with a +5 on-ice rating. 

Ayrton Valente, Plattsburgh, Junior
Valente recorded three assists and had a +1 rating as Plattsburgh State won twice on the road over the weekend. In Friday's 4-3 win at SUNY Cortland, Valente provided the primary assist to pull the Cardinals to an even 2-2 score at 10:49 of the second period. He then dished the primary helpers on both of Plattsburgh State's third-period goals in Saturday's 2-1 win at No. 2 Oswego State. Valente helped anchor a Cardinal blue line that kept Oswego State's offense, which entered Saturday with the nation's second-highest output (4.95 goals per game), to just the lone third-period goal. On Monday, Valente was named the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Athlete of the Week. 

 

 

Forward

Dan Casey, Babson, Senior
Casey scored two goals and added one assist for a three-point weekend. The senior forward scored a pair of goals, the second being a shorthanded tally, in Friday's 2-2 OT with No. 1/1 Norwich, and then recorded an assist in Saturday's 4-0 victory over Saint Michael's. 

Adam Platt, Manhattanville, Senior
Platt scored three goals in two games to lead Manhattanville to a pair of key ECAC West Conference wins over the weekend. The senior assistant captain scored the game-winning goal while shorthanded with 2:44 left in regulation in Friday’s 5-3 win over Lebanon Valley College, and then scored two early goals to help lift the Valiants past Stevenson University, 5-4. 

Jarrod Fitzpatrick, Utica, Freshman
Fitzpatrick potted two goals and added a critical assist as first place Utica picked up steam with a pair of ECAC West wins. The freshman scored the icebreaker on Friday, helping Utica to force overtime in a 2-1 win against Elmira College. On Saturday, he capped a late second period surge that erased a two goal deficit created by No. 3 Hobart with the team's second goal. He then caused the Statesmen turnover that put the game-winner on the stick of Shawn Lynch as Utica snapped a 12 game unbeaten streak for Hobart that stretched back to November. 

 

~

More news from D3hockey.com

  • Read full article
    February 16, 2017
    Women's NCAA Bracketology: Round 1 With the regional rankings out we take our first look at what the tournament field would look like if the season ended today. What to we see? Some old staples, a first-time entrant, and a very intriguing comparison for the final spot in the field. Photo: d3photography.com
  • Read full article
    February 14, 2017
    The Road to Utica: Men's Bracketology, Take I Tuesday's debut regional rankings offered a few moderate surprises, but did any of them yield any surprise NCAA tournament entrants in our first crack at Bracketology? Find out as we take our first stab at projecting the field. Photo: Hans Gulset
  • Read full article
    February 08, 2017
    D3hockey.com Men's Team of the Week: February 8th The ECAC West heats up, two Beavers build their way onto the list, and the Cardinal win over the Lakers. Read all about the players who made it happen in our Men's Team of the Week. Photo: Jeff Pexton, Perfect Game Imaging for Utica College
  • Read full article
    February 08, 2017
    The Road to Utica: The men's selection process Read it, learn it, know it. The first public NCAA Regional Rankings, and thus our first look at Bracketology, are just a week away so here's our annual breakdown of the selection process for the 2017 Men's NCAA tournament -- and the notable changes it has brought along with it. Photo: Hans Gulset
  • Read full article
    February 08, 2017
    Elmira renews friendly rivalry off-ice For over two decades, the Elmira men have played one extra opponent on the hardwood as they continue a special relationship with a local Special Olympics organization.
  • Read full article
    February 03, 2017
    Second Month Shuffle The first Friday in February only served to add more intrigue to a multitude of league races. Photo: Ryan Coleman, D3photography.com
  • Read full article
    January 28, 2017
    Upset City Men's action on Friday night was littered with shockers as second half action continues to intensify, including a loss by the No. 1 team in the D3hockey.com Top 15 Photo: Steve Frommell, D3photography.com
  • Read full article
    January 26, 2017
    Salve, UNE women to migrate to the Colonial The shuffling of eastern programs continued Thursday, with Salve Regina and UNE announcing they'll move their women's teams from the NEHC to the Colonial Hockey Conference.
  • Read full article
    January 25, 2017
    Three more schools move teams to NEHC Yesterday, Hobart announced a move for 2017-18 and today another wave of teams, the Johnson & Wales and Suffolk men and women, along with the Salem State women, announced they will also be joining the New England Hockey Conference for the 2018-19 season.
  • Read full article
    January 21, 2017
    Men: Gimme fives in Geneseo and a Blackout in Adrian Only two games between ranked teams showed up on the men's or women's dockets on Saturday, but both were big ones as SUNY Geneseo and Oswego State played to a wild 5-5 tie and St. Norbert topped Adrian for the second day in a row. Photo: d3photography.com
  • Read full article
    January 20, 2017
    Men: SNC trumps Adrian, Stevens Point and Amherst also topple ranked teams Three sets of ranked men's teams faced off on Friday night and though no one managed to score more than three goals, three wins were to be had as St. Norbert, UW-Stevens Point and Amherst all were victors over league rivals. Photo: d3photography.com
  • Read full article
    January 20, 2017
    Best of the Rest Three matchups involving pairs of ranked teams headlined our schedule, but there were other great matchups and milestones too. Come catch up on everything else you missed from Friday here! Photo: Jeff Melnik, D3photography.com
  • Read full article
    January 19, 2017
    Annual Cancer Night Takes on New Importance for Pointers Captain As the defending national champs ready for their annual Breast Cancer night, it will hold special meaning for team captain Kyle Sharkey. Photo: d3photography.com
  • Read full article
    January 14, 2017
    Men's round-up: A Jumbo-sized Saturday Parity struck in the NESCAC as Tufts knocked off the nation's last unbeaten, No. 5 Hamilton, while Bowdoin also scored an upset. Elsewhere, No. 2 UW-Stevens Point got back on track with a win over No. 12 Augsburg, and league races continued to solidify in numerous leagues. All that and more in our Saturday wrap... Photo: Tufts Athletics
  • Read full article
    January 11, 2017
    D3hockey.com Women's Team of the Week: January 11th We said we'd see you on the other side, and we're keeping our word. Here's the first Women's Team of the Week of 2017!
  • Read full article
    January 07, 2017
    Women's elites duke it out in East-West Classic Nothing came easy on day one of the East-West Classic as four of the nation's top five teams did battle. The end result? A pair of one-goal games, an overtime game-winner, and a Sunday title game that will feature Plattsburgh and Norwich. Photo: Norwich Athletics
  • Read full article
    January 06, 2017
    NCHA hits Adrian men with supplemental discipline In response to multiple incidents, including those during and following Adrian's December 10 game at UW-Stevens Point, the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association hit the Bulldogs with supplemental discipline, D3hockey.com has learned.
  • Read full article
    January 02, 2017
    Happy New Year! Oswego loses twice in Northfield, Salve Regina wins the Codfish Bowl, Neumann puts on an offensive clinic in Plattsburgh, The Bantams still have the Bulldogs' number, The Blugold women have something special going, and a proud program stays winless. Read on as we kick off 2017 with a recap of the best weekend action!
  • Read full article
    December 02, 2016
    Lomanto builds a winner at Morrisville Years ago, necessity led Morrisville head coach Melissa Lomanto to be part of building a prep school program, and she's done the same for over 15 years in Division III, including her 9-0 Mustangs. Photo: Morrisville State Athletics
  • Read full article
    November 25, 2016
    PrimeLink ShootOut Preview In 2014 Concordia-Moorhead became the first West Region team to claim the prestigious title. After a year layoff, the Cobbers are back to defend it against the traditional East Region field of Plattsburgh State, Norwich and Middlebury. Photo: Larry Radloff for d3photography.com
  • Read full article
    November 19, 2016
    McShane claims 700th career coaching win Norwich head men's coach Mike McShane joined an elite group on Saturday as he became just the seventh coach to win 700 games at the collegiate level. Photo: Norwich Athletics
  • Read full article
    November 19, 2016
    Battles of the heavyweights Eight top ten teams squared off head-to-head on Saturday night, and the end result was two more teams falling from the realm of the unbeatens as the St. Norbert, Oswego State and Utica men all won, as did the Plattsburgh State women. Photo: Larry Radloff for d3photography.com
  • Read full article
    November 19, 2016
    Blu Light Special A stunner in the Women's WIAC, a tough day in Boston, and a few NESCAC men's and women's teams make some early noise. That and more as we wrap up the remainder of your Saturday, beyond the inter-top 10 matchups. Photo: Steve Frommell, D3photography.com
  • Read full article
    November 16, 2016
    Martalock out, Crowley in at Elmira After an unexpected departure halted Kelsea Martalock's tenure as Elmira women's coach at just two games, the Soaring Eagles look within to fill the void by promoting men's assistant Tim Crowley on an interim basis.
  • Read full article
    November 02, 2016
    2016 Season Preview: Men's WIAC Fresh off the league's second national championship in four years, smart money says the league will be a three-horse race yet again though two others hope to play spoiler.
  • Read full article
    October 28, 2016
    Full moon Friday night The 2016-17 season kicked off with an opening night bang as three ranked men's teams fell and two others tied, while four other teams, one of which won, hit the ice for the first time in program history. Photo: d3photography.com
  • Read full article
    October 23, 2016
    Young, Newmark hired at Wilkes Michael Young and Stephanie Newmark will be the first to oversee the new men's and women's programs at Wilkes University.
  • Read full article
    October 13, 2016
    Five schools to play for MAC title next year On the heels of the blockbuster announcement of the UCHC, the Middle Atlantic Conference member schools sponsoring hockey have announced they'll also have their own regular season crown next fall.
  • Read full article
    October 04, 2016
    United Collegiate Hockey Conference to debut next season The private institutions of the ECAC West, and some recent expansion teams, have announced the formation of a new men's and women's conference to begin play in the fall of 2017.
  • Read full article
    September 20, 2016
    Coaching Carousel: Filighera back in Division III at Cortland The latest spin of the coaching carousel stops in Cortland, where former RIT coach Rick Filighera has returned to the Division III ranks after nineteen years of coaching elsewhere. Photo: Cortland Athletics
  • Read full article
    August 30, 2016
    Wilkes University adds men's and women's hockey Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. has become the latest in a growing list of schools to add hockey programs, as the Colonels will begin both men's and women's play in 2017-18. Photo: Wilkes Athletics
  • Read full article
    August 23, 2016
    Lacour moves back east to lead Johnson and Wales Former Salem State player and Williams assistant James LaCour now gets a chance to run a program of his own at Johnson and Wales.
  • Read full article
    August 13, 2016
    Noack tapped to replace Rolli at UMass Dartmouth Erik Noack, who has coached Johnson and Wales for over a decade, will now attempt to fill the shoes of one of the winningest coaches in Division III history at UMass Dartmouth.
  • Read full article
    August 04, 2016
    Former UW-Stevens Point player, coach, Wil Nichol named Director of Player Development of Las Vegas NHL Franchise LAS VEGAS -- Former UW-Stevens Point player, captain and head coach Wil Nichol has been named Director of Player Development for the NHL's newly awarded Las Vegas franchise, it was announced on Thursday.
  • Read full article
    July 25, 2016
    Former Gustavus Coach Roberts dies at 83 Former Gustavus Adolphus coach Don Roberts, who won over 500 games in over 30 years at his alma mater, died Sunday.
  • Read full article
    July 21, 2016
    OT proposal halted by Rules Committee, Helmet rule expansion approved A proposition by the NCAA rules committee to change to a 4-on-4 overtime format has been taken off the table, and rules regarding helmet usage have been expanded.
  • Read full article
    July 13, 2016
    Longtime coach Steve Hoar dies Becker head coach Steve Hoar, a longtime veteran of the Division III coaching ranks, passed away at his home Monday.
  • Read full article
    July 07, 2016
    Mallaro in the drivers' seat for King's men As King's College begins to build its Men's program, the school turns to a first time head coach with an established name in Division III. Former Oswego State defenseman Stephen Mallaro, an assistant at Brockport, will be first to guide the Monarchs.
  • Read full article
    June 29, 2016
    Dawes, Stevenson men build from the ground up Managing Editor Ray Biggs sat down with new Stevenson men's coach Dominick Dawes recently for perspective on what it takes to build a new program in Division III.
  • Read full article
    June 15, 2016
    Menard takes the lead at Lebanon Valley Lebanon Valley College finally has a head coach for its inaugural women's campaign this fall, as former Boston University Terrier and Syracuse Orange skater Isabel Menard will get the first crack at running the Dutchmen bench.
Load More

[archive]
Sunday, Feb. 19: All times Eastern
M:
Final
Hobart 3, at Elmira 1
W:
Final
at Amherst 4, Wesleyan 2
Box Score
W:
Final
at Elmira 6, SUNY Potsdam 1
Box Score Recap
Saturday, Feb. 18: All times Eastern
M:
Final - OT
Suffolk 3, at Johnson and Wales 3
Box Score Photos
M:
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 3, Wesleyan 0
Box Score
M:
Final
at Castleton 7, Skidmore 2
Box Score
M:
Final
at Babson 7, Mass-Boston 3
Box Score Photos
M:
Final
at Hobart 7, Elmira 1
M:
Final
at University of New England 7, Wentworth 0
Box Score Recap
M:
Final
at SUNY Geneseo 8, SUNY Potsdam 0
Box Score Recap Photos
M:
Final
at Cortland 6, Fredonia 5
Box Score
M:
Final
at Oswego State 6, Buffalo State 1
Box Score
M:
Final
at New England College 3, Southern Maine 0
Box Score
M:
Final
St. Thomas 6, at St. Olaf 0
Box Score
M:
Final
UW-Superior 4, at UW-Stout 2
M:
Final Shootout - Home
Gustavus Adolphus 4, at Hamline 4
Box Score
M:
Final
at Plymouth State 5, Worcester State 2
Box Score
M:
Final
at Lake Forest 6, Lawrence 1
Box Score
M:
Final
St. John's 4, at Augsburg 2
Box Score
M:
Final
at St. Norbert 5, Milwaukee Engineering 3
Box Score
M:
Final
Curry 4, at Nichols 1
Box Score Recap
M:
Final
at St. Michael's 4, Stonehill 1
Box Score
M:
Final
at Mass-Dartmouth 7, Fitchburg State 2
Box Score
M:
Final
at Brockport 8, Plattsburgh State 4
Box Score Recap
M:
Final
at Adrian 4, St. Scholastica 2
Box Score
M:
Final
at Amherst 4, Middlebury 1
Box Score
M:
Final
at Hamilton 5, Williams 1
Box Score
M:
Final - OT
Bowdoin 1, at Connecticut College 1
Box Score Photos
M:
Final
at Colby 3, Tufts 2
M:
Final
Assumption 4, at Saint Anselm 3
Box Score
M:
Final
at Marian 5, Aurora 0
Box Score
M:
Final
at Concordia (Wis.) 2, Northland 1
Box Score Photos
M:
Final
at Endicott 6, Becker 0
Box Score Recap
M:
Final
Salve Regina 5, at Western New England 2
Box Score
M:
Final
at Salem State 3, Framingham State 2
Box Score
M:
Final
at Bethel 4, Concordia-Moorhead 3
Box Score
W:
Final
at Salve Regina 5, New England College 2
Box Score Photos
W:
Final
Middlebury 5, at Williams 3
Box Score
W:
Final
at Colby 6, Becker 1
W:
Final
Endicott 3, at Salem State 0
Box Score Recap
W:
Final - OT
SUNY Canton 2, at Stevenson 2
Box Score
W:
Final
at University of New England 3, St. Michael's 1
Box Score Recap
W:
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 2, Bowdoin 0
Box Score
W:
Final - OT
Wesleyan 1, at Amherst 1
Box Score
W:
Final
at Connecticut College 5, Hamilton 1
W:
Final
at Elmira 3, SUNY Potsdam 1
Box Score Recap
W:
Final
Neumann 5, at Chatham 1
W:
Final
at Holy Cross 3, Franklin Pierce 0
Box Score
W:
Final
at Morrisville State 2, Johnson and Wales 0
Box Score
W:
Final
Norwich 6, at Plymouth State 1
Box Score
W:
Final
St. Scholastica 10, at Finlandia 3
Box Score
W:
Final
Utica 4, at Cortland 2
Box Score
W:
Final - OT
Buffalo State 3, at Plattsburgh State 3
Box Score Recap
W:
Final - OT
Oswego State 1, at William Smith 1
Box Score
W:
Final
at St. Norbert 2, Marian 0
Box Score
W:
Final
Augsburg 3, at St. Benedict 0
Box Score
W:
Final
Castleton 4, at Nichols 0
Box Score Recap
W:
Final
at Mass-Boston 3, Manhattanville 2
Box Score Photos
W:
Final
Saint Anselm 6, at Southern Maine 0
Box Score
W:
Final
Adrian 4, at Lake Forest 1
Box Score
W:
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 7, Bethel 3
Box Score
W:
Final
Gustavus Adolphus 2, at Hamline 1
Box Score
W:
Final
at St. Thomas 8, St. Olaf 2
Box Score Photos
W:
Final
St. Catherine 3, at St. Mary's (Minn.) 1
Box Score
W:
Final
UW-Stevens Point 4, at Concordia (Wis.) 1
Box Score Photos
Sunday, Feb. 19: All times Eastern
M:
Final
Hobart 3, at Elmira 1
Saturday, Feb. 18: All times Eastern
M:
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 3, Wesleyan 0
Box Score
M:
Final
at Hobart 7, Elmira 1
M:
Final
at Oswego State 6, Buffalo State 1
Box Score
M:
Final
at SUNY Geneseo 8, SUNY Potsdam 0
Box Score Recap Photos
M:
Final
at St. Norbert 5, Milwaukee Engineering 3
Box Score
M:
Final
St. John's 4, at Augsburg 2
Box Score
M:
Final
at Adrian 4, St. Scholastica 2
Box Score
M:
Final
at Hamilton 5, Williams 1
Box Score
M:
Final
at Colby 3, Tufts 2
M:
Final
at Endicott 6, Becker 0
Box Score Recap
Sunday, Feb. 19: All times Eastern
W:
Final
at Elmira 6, SUNY Potsdam 1
Box Score Recap
Saturday, Feb. 18: All times Eastern
W:
Final
Middlebury 5, at Williams 3
Box Score
W:
Final
Endicott 3, at Salem State 0
Box Score Recap
W:
Final
at Elmira 3, SUNY Potsdam 1
Box Score Recap
W:
Final
at Connecticut College 5, Hamilton 1
W:
Final
Norwich 6, at Plymouth State 1
Box Score
W:
Final - OT
Buffalo State 3, at Plattsburgh State 3
Box Score Recap
W:
Final - OT
Oswego State 1, at William Smith 1
Box Score
W:
Final
Adrian 4, at Lake Forest 1
Box Score