Examining Lake Superior State’s Hot Start


Lake Superior State is off to a blazing start, jumping out to a 7-1 record (5-1 in the CCHA), and find themselves ranked 12th in my rankings, 12th in INCH’s rankings and 11th in the USCHO rankings. They got their 7th win last season on January 28th, and on December 4th the year before, so naturally spirits are high in Sault Ste. Marie.

But can it continue?

First, a look at some opponents win percentages:

Michigan State440
Bowling Green431

Clearly Lake State hasn’t been playing the toughest of competition. Though it is a bit unfair to completely punish them for playing Hunstville, as the Lakers only played them twice but it accounts for 25% of their schedule, making things look a bit worse than they are. Not to mention the fact that Miami is certainly much better than a 2-6 record, and that sweep will look much better come March (which of course opens the can of worms of how much credit Lake State should get for sweeping Miami when they’re playing so poorly).

So we know that the Lakers haven’t played the toughest schedule. But how have they done against their opponents?

OpponentShots For (ES)Shots Against (ES)Difference
Michigan State54531
Bowling Green49418

So not all that well. Despite playing against some iffy competition so far, the Lakers are barely outshooting their opponents at even strength (of course, this isn’t at ES, score tied, which takes away some score effects, but is the best I can do).

Basically they are getting lucky. They’re middle of the pack in the CCHA in everything, and even Kevin Kapalka has been merely good. Things won’t continue like this for the Lakers, and they’re still going to miss the NCAA tournament, but that doesn’t mean we should enjoy their hot start any less.