Breaking Down the NCHC's Penalty Minutes -The Denver Skating Saints?

Breaking Down the NCHC's Penalty Minutes -The Denver Skating Saints?

North Dakota

Breaking Down the NCHC's Penalty Minutes -The Denver Skating Saints?


This past weekend, during the last minute of Saturday’s game, the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs were down a goal and were pressing hard to tie the game. And just like magic, Nick Wolf was assessed a two-minute penalty for slashing. I watched the gif in question about 10 times and I am still looking for the infraction.

Again, this isn’t rocket science, just a blown call by the on-ice official. Yes, the officials are human beings and hockey happens at a very fast speed, but this is a critical error at a critical time in the game. You know the call is bad when the Denver Bloggers are calling it bad. I am sure they’ll take it anyway.

Here’s an idea, college hockey fans don’t go to a game to watch the officials call a game. Second, let’s put the names back on the official’s uniforms. Make them own their work. Until then, here’s the link to the NCHC’s list of officials and linesmen.

Second, fans should know if an official was disciplined for having a bad game. For instance, last season, Todd Anderson’s performance during the final game of the Frozen Faceoff was atrocious, and for that, he wasn’t picked to officiate games during the NCAA playoffs. I think fans deserved to know that.

Finally, I would like to see the officials’ grades after a weekend series. Why not? Let’s have some transparency. It’s probably easier to get an FOIA on a FISA warrant than the performance grades of the NCHC officials. Think about this, every weekend, when the officials have been assigned to a particular series, some NCHC officials actually make some fan uneasy. That’s unfortunate.

Yeah, my first thought was this penalty is almost as bad as Austin Poganski’s penalty during the second period of the second game in Duluth. I checked the box score and this wasn’t the same crew from Duluth. Some of the Duluth fans I follow on Twitter were frustrated with the call.

Yes, I agree this call is inexcusable at this stage in the game. This shouldn’t be a penalty in the first period, either. Maybe it’s time to start issuing league-imposed suspensions for officials that have poor on-ice performances. If you think this call is bad, check out this gem involving the Huskies and the Bulldogs. Nothing like a good embellishment, right?

The call against Nick Wolf has nothing to do with embellishment, it’s just God awful officiating. The league’s officials need to be better. Referring to the second gif, players that embellish like this should be given a penalty. Repeat offenders should be suspended. Have a divers’ list like the NHL does. Diving is poor sportsmanship and it cheapens the game of hockey. Again, the fans are playing a lot of money to watch college hockey, they deserve better.

UMD’s radio play by play guy Bruce Ciskie wasn’t amused with the bad call on Wolf and had some interesting stats after the game.

Here’s something to chew on, Denver is the last in Division I hockey for penalty minutes. Comparing them to the rest of the teams in the NCHC, it’s ridiculous. The other NCHC teams aren’t even in the same area code. Don’t give me they’re more talented than the rest of the college hockey. Two weekends ago, UND played them straight up for two games (held them to 1-8 on the PP), minus three of their best players.

Drilling down further, Denver is taking almost three minutes less in penalties minutes per game than SCSU. Mind you, SCSU is usually near the bottom in penalty minutes. Are we to believe that Western Michigan is a bunch of goons? I don’t think that there’s anything nefarious going on, but something is out of whack.

Penalty Minutes, All Games

1 Western Michigan     28     464      16.6
10 Miami                        26     380      14.630
30 North Dakota          28     323      11.532
32 Colorado College    26     299      11.535
35 Nebraska-Omaha   28     317     11.336
36 Minnesota Duluth 30     337      11.247
47 St. Cloud State        26     266      10.260
60 Denver                     28     209       7.5

(Stats link)

Penalty Minutes Per Game Conference

1 Western Michigan 18 327 18.2
2 North Dakota 16 200 12.5
3 Miami 16 195 12.2
4 Colorado College 16 191 11.9
5 Omaha 18 213 11.8
6 Minnesota Duluth 18 199 11.1
7 St. Cloud State 16 176 11.0
8 Denver 18 132 7.3

Conspiracy theories and black helicopters.

Looking at the stats, I have a nickname suggestion for the Denver Pioneers, the Skating Saints. Looking at the numbers, teams 2-7 look reasonable. The other two teams are outliers. By nature, I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I can see how some might look at the numbers and make some conclusions. Fans of other NCHC teams not named Denver have taken not of the disparities, too. (Also check this out).

Power Plays Conference Games Only

1 Omaha 23 / 80 3 28.7
2 Western Michigan 19 / 80 3 23.8
3 St. Cloud State 17 / 75 4 22.7
4 Miami 16 / 74 0 21.6
5 Colorado College 17 / 79 1 21.5
6 Minnesota Duluth 14 / 69 2 20.3
7 Denver 17 / 84 0 20.2
8 North Dakota 12 / 63 1 19.0

Penalty Kills Conference Games Only

1 Denver 51 / 59 3 86.4
2 Minnesota Duluth 65 / 78 3 83.3
3 Western Michigan 89 / 110 2 80.9
4 St. Cloud State 45 / 59 3 76.3
5 Miami 54 / 72 2 75.0
North Dakota 54 / 72 0 75.0
7 Omaha 63 / 85 1 74.1
8 Colorado College 48 / 69 0 69.6

The lowest numbers of Penalty Kills in the NCHC league play is 59 held by DU and SCSU. Here’s a breakdown of the teams: Colorado College +10, Duluth +19 Duluth, Miami +13, North Dakota +13, Nebraska-Omaha +26, and Western Michigan 51. (A + means more penalty kills than 59).

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