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Preview: RPI vs Quinnipiac
RPI looks to clinch 7th place tonight against the Bobcats
Last night, RPI took a much needed win against Princeton and got help from Quinnipiac against Union to clinch home ice! They now are currently in 7th place with the tiebreaker against Princeton locked up. Tonight, the Engineers will look to hang onto 7th place and control their own destiny to do so. Let’s break down Quinnipiac first before going over the scenarios though.
It’s kind of implied by the fact they’re the #2 team in the country with 3 losses all season, but Quinnipiac is an absolutely insane team.
A 71.3% goals percentage at even strength!!! I don’t think I can truly express how insane that is. The best I can do is point out that the Boston Bruins in the NHL are having a record breaking season, and their percentage is 64.2%.
Both Quinnipiac’s corsi and xG are near 60%, which is also crazy good. It’s not a surprise considering they are top 5 in literally every even strength category. There’s a reason they’ve been ranked in the top 2 basically all year, folks. Their “weakness” is special teams where they have the lowly ranks of 15th and 14th in the country.
Not all hope is lost for RPI though. I’m sure Quinnipiac had a similar profile last season when RPI won the corsi battle and controlled play in the game against the Bobcats at the HFH. It is possible to raise your level to a very good opponent. The Engineers will need a similar type of performance to have a chance tonight.
Anthony Cipollone really had to go and ruin things.
Similar to Cornell, when your team is elite at driving play in terms of xG and actual goals, all the players are going to have very high game scores. A lot of the depth players end up inflated.
Even the depth players are very good though, make no mistake about that. I think the main difference between this year’s Quinnipiac team and last year’s is that they have more star power to go with their great depth. They had depth last year but only really had Zach Metsa on the blue line as a star. They’ve added a couple more this year.
Starting with Metsa, he is easily one of the best players in the country. His 1.72 game score is 13th in the country, and it’s 3rd among defensemen. His partner Jake Johnson is 27th in the country and 7th among defensemen. They are a dominant top pairing that totally controls the flow of the game and shuts down their opponents.
Up front, they now have Collin Graf who transferred from Union after a good freshman season. He has hit an entirely new and absurd level this season though. He’s got 18 goals, 29 assists and 47 points in 32 games this season. He has more than doubled his production from last season in 5 less games! He had 22 points in 37 games last year. His 47 points are 2nd in the entire country, and his 29 assists are 3rd. His bonkers offensive numbers and the play driving to go with it make his average game score a whopping 2.00 per game. That is 5th in the country, and it’s only 0.12 behind #1. Quinnipiac was kind of missing that go-to offensive threat last year, and now, they have it.
ECAC Seeding Breakdown
We’ve got a lot to talk about here as there’s not only the seeding scenarios, but there’s also the potential opponents to talk about.
Currently, RPI has a 49.5% chance at 7th and a 50.5% chance at 8th. This is due to RPI playing such a tough opponent while Princeton has a comparatively much easier one. It’s about as close to 50-50 as you can get.
The battle for 7th vs 8th is pretty simple. If RPI matches (or beats obviously) Princeton’s points tonight, they get 7th. Otherwise, they get 8th.
Clinching scenarios for 7th:
RPI wins in regulation
Princeton loses to Union in regulation
RPI wins in OT/SO and Princeton/Union goes to OT/SO
RPI loses in OT/SO and Princeton loses in OT/SO
Sadly, we have to root for Union tonight because if they win, RPI doesn’t have to beat Quinnipiac to get 7th.
Scenarios where RPI is 8th:
RPI loses and Princeton wins
RPI wins in OT/SO and Princeton wins in regulation
RPI loses in regulation and Princeton loses in OT/SO
Overall, fairly straightforward.
The Rest of the ECAC
Let’s talk about the rest of the ECAC now because it matters for RPI’s playoff opponent(s).
Quinnipiac locked up 1st last week.
Harvard is in the driver’s seat for 2nd with Cornell behind them in 3rd. The only way for those to swap is if Cornell beats Yale in regulation and Harvard loses to Clarkson in regulation.
Colgate and St. Lawrence are tied for 4th, but Colgate has the tiebreaker locked up. This situation is identical to RPI and Princeton. Colgate needs to match or beat St. Lawrence’s points tonight for 4th. Otherwise, St. Lawrence will pass them.
Technically, Clarkson can still pass Colgate for 5th. If Clarkson wins in regulation and Colgate loses in regulation with SLU passing Colgate in the process, Colgate would move down to 6th and Clarkson would be 5th. However, Clarkson is almost guaranteed 6th since this is an unlikely scenario.
Union has locked up the tiebreaker over Princeton. If they win in regulation, Union will be 8th and Princeton will be 9th. Otherwise, RPI and Princeton will have the 7 and 8 spots in some order.
Union could fall behind Yale since they only have a one point lead. Union has that tiebreaker, so Yale would need to get 2 or 3 points more than Union to pass them for 9th and put Union in 10th.
Yale is currently in 10th and ahead of Brown by 3 points. It will be tough for Brown to flip that but not impossible. Brown would need to win in regulation, Yale to lose in regulation, and SLU to lose in regulation to get 10th and to put Yale in 11th.
Brown is 3 points ahead of Dartmouth and does not have the tiebreaker. A Dartmouth win in regulation and a Brown loss in regulation would put Dartmouth in 11th and Brown in 12th.
RPI’s Playoff Opponent Odds
RPI’s only potential playoff opponents are Union, Yale and Brown with Yale being the most likely opponent.
Yale - 55.63%
Union - 41.99%
Brown - 2.38%
If RPI lands in 7th:
Yale - 93.45%
Union - 1.74%
Brown - 4.81%
If RPI lands in 8th:
Yale - 18.52%
Union - 81.48%
Looking ahead even further, RPI would be best off getting 7th to ensure they would not need to play Quinnipiac if they win their first round game. With how good they are, I think it would be way better to have Cornell or Harvard even though they are both good teams as well. But that’s a little far off into the future. In the meantime, let’s hope for a good night tonight!
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