WSR's Unofficial Division 2 Central Region Poll #2

11/27/14 - SPRINGFIELD, MO - Hard to believe, but the time has come for the second round of predictions for the ACHA Division II Central Region.

As always, WSR announcers Steve Casson and Dan Lee have made their predictions independent of each other and then the two polls have been averaged into what should be a fair prediction of what the actual pollsters may do. Or, it could all just be a birdcage filler. At any rate, here we go with week two.

It should be noted that never before have Steve and Dan’s predictions been so close, with just the No. 7 and No. 8 positions reversed!

 

TW = This week ..... LW = Last Week

 

#1 Lindenwood (Belleville) - Steve: 1, Dan: 1

Dan: Seriously? Do we really have to go over? Why? What a team. 2-1 losses by Missouri State and Waldorf were as close as anyone could get.

Steve: Did we have to discuss this one? LU-B went 6-0 against Division II teams. While the Lynx remain undefeated at 19-0, they did find competition from one top ten team - Missouri State - who managed to find the net five times and lost by a total of 3 goals in two nights.

 

#2 Grand Valley State - Steve: 2, Dan: 2

Steve: Ties with Lindenwood and Davenport tainted a 4-0-2 period for the Lakers. Lindenwood’s Kyle Vesling scored with 15 seconds left in the third to force overtime with GVSU, who came back from a 4-1 deficit at one point in the game. In the overall scheme of things a 6-4 win in the first game helps the Lakers leap frog over the Lions for now.

Dan: Yes, I know they only managed a tie with Davenport. Yes, everybody else has the Lakers behind Lindenwood. But in my mind, their better-than-you split with the Lions (6-4, 5-5) is going to keep them right here until I’m convinced that 6-4 game was more of a fluke than the Davenport game.

 

#3 Lindenwood - Steve: 3, Dan: 3

Dan: It’s not just the split with GVSU that’s going to keep the Lions third on my ledger. Notice the weak performance against unheralded Michigan (5-2, 6-4) in November. They face a tough test against Missouri State next week, and that will tell a big tale for both teams.

Steve: Strength of schedule helps Lindenwood as much as the loss to Grand Valley State hurts. A big series against Missouri State Dec. 5-6 becomes crucial to the rise of the Lions in the next voting period.

 

#4 Missouri State - Steve: 4, Dan: 4

Steve: Ending the ranking period 3-3 but the Ice Bears are in the roughest part of their schedule. Missouri State bounced back from 5-1 to 5-4 in game one against Lindenwood-Belleville before falling 6-4. They also split with Illinois State and SIUE with a short bench in those games.

Dan: With possibly the toughest schedule in D2, the Ice Bears took their lumps in November. But there can be good losses, and MSU can be proud. An overtime loss to then-No. 1 in D1 UCO came 52 seconds away from an upset in regulation. The Bears pinned more goals on Lindenwood Belleville in a 6-4 loss than anyone this season, then were within a tink of the cross bar at 2-1 the following night. A split with SIUE helps the Cougars more than it hurts the Ice bears.

 

#5 Illinois State - Steve: 5, Dan: 5

Dan: The Redbirds split with Missouri State and Northern Illinois (3-2, 2-2, 3-4) and are virtually dead even with the Huskies on my scorecard. Believe it or not, their edge over Northern Illinois was almost spoiled by one goal.

Steve: Strength of schedule is enough to keep the Redbirds in fifth. Games with Florida Gulf Coast and Lindenwood next ranking period will yield great opportunity for Illinois State.

 

#6 Northern Illinois - Steve: 6, Dan: 6

Steve: Thank Justin Rucinski for scoring a tying goal in a 2-2 game with Illinois State and making the No. 5-6 positions a coin toss. A split with Northern Michigan doesn’t help the Huskies, but going 3-2-1 with a pair of overtime losses to top 14 teams (and their early winning streak) settles them sixth.

Dan: Northern Illinois beat Robert Morris 4-1. Illinois State beat the Maroon 4-2. That one goal difference almost lifted Northern Illinois to the fifth position this week but the Huskies stubbed their toe along the way. The Huskies shouldn’t have split with Northern Michigan (4-3, 4-5), and that little stumble hurt them.

 

#7(T) Michigan State - Steve: 8, Dan: 7

Dan: Terrible month for the Spartans, and they’re my cliff divers this time around. I probably had them too high to begin with, and they are showing me the way down. They lost to Michigan and barely handled a terrible Ohio State squad, so down they go. I could easily have put them as low as tenth, because you can practically throw a blanket over the bottom four. Let’s see how they do with pick-ups next semester

Steve: Although the Spartans won two of three games against Division II teams (with two losses at the hands of Division I Arizona), it’s the loss to Michigan that drops the Spartans a notch. The defeat is troublesome since fans witnessed a tightly contested game, but Michigan State averages 4.1 goals per game. Contests against GVSU, FGCU and Central Michigan will determine where this team remains.

 

#7(T) Southern Illinois-Edwardsville - Steve: 7, Dan: 8

Steve: This Cougar team continues to mystify and intrigue me. SIUE keeps winning with 18 skaters and a goaltender. They can split with Saint Louis, yet sweep Central Michigan. Past splits with Missouri State and Illinois State justifies a jump up two notches.

Dan: Here’s the other end of the spectrum, as I probably started SIUE too low. But they are just so all over the place its hard to tell what they’re going to do next. November featured a weak sweep of Central Michigan (10-9, 5-4) and an even more suspect split with St. Louis (3-4, 4-3). But somehow they get a respectable two goal loss to Lindenwood to go with previous splits with Illinois State and Missouri State. They remain a mystery.

 

#9 Northern Michigan - Steve: 9, Dan: 9

Dan: Northern Michigan should have slipped right over the edge of the falls save for a split with Northern Illinois (3-4, 5-4). But they can only cling to slippery ledges for so long.

Steve: Managed only two goals each game against Lindenwood-Belleville, but everyone has fared the same except for Missouri State (4) and Central Michigan (3) against the Lynx. A split with Northern Illinois keeps the Widcats in the top tier of the Central division.

 

#10 Central Michigan - Steve: 10, Dan: 10

Steve: Originally I pegged the Chippewa’s at No. 9 and a one goal sweep each game against SIUE has CMU declining a spot in my book. Lack of an adequate schedule hurts this ranking period. Future games with FGCU and Michigan State will help, but the Chippewa’s better watch out because Michigan is gaining ground.

Dan: The schedulers let the team down this year as they played just one series in November - a pair of one goal losses to SIUE (9-10, 4-5). Good early season games against GVSU (OT loss) and Northern Illinois (3-3, 3-6) have them under the same blanket as positions seven through nine.