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NCAA Hockey Tournament: A Look At Possession Stats

Thanks to College Hockey News, we have more data than ever before. Is it useful at all?

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

As more and more data becomes available, more sites are trying to take an analytical look at college hockey, following in the footsteps of the statistical revolution at the pro level. College Hockey News has been at the forefront of at least trying to get a rudimentary version up of some of the stats moving into the mainstream in the NHL, by tracking and posting shot attempts (including all goals, shots on goal, missed shots, and blocked shots) for each game.

Sean Hathaway, of SB Nation sister site Stanley Cup of Chowder, has compiled the available shot data for all 16 NCAA tournament teams to give us a glimpse into which teams are expected to drive possession.

There are, of course, warning signs before wading in to possession data in college hockey, beyond the fact that the quality of shot tracking is certainly likely to be inconsistent from rink to rink. There's also the fact that quality of opposition is a lot more variable in college hockey than it is in the NHL, so a lot normal-looking stats will be skewed in the college game for that reason. But that doesn't mean we can't at least take a look at the numbers and see if they tell us anything interesting.

5v5 CF% is simply the percentage of shots taken by that team in 5 on 5 situations. i.e., if BC has 7 shots and their opponent has 3 shots, BC's 5v5 CF% is 70%. Obviously the higher the better. Shooting percentage is a little complicated to judge at the college level due to the spread in talent; a high shooting percentage can mean a team that has absurdly talented shooters (see: BC last year), or it could mean a team is getting lucky (see: Northeastern last year). Save percentage is another thing that you can look at in one of two could mean great goaltending to have a high save percentage, but it also could mean you're just giving up a ton of shots and are lucky to not be giving up more goals.

Hat tip to Sean and to CHN for the data.

East Regional

Team 5v5 CF% Sh% Sv% Conference
Miami 54.1% 9.5% 91.0% NCHC
Denver 53.3% 10.4% 91.4% NCHC
Boston College 52.9% 9.0% 92.0% Hockey East
Providence 55.1% 8.2% 93.0%

Hockey East

Midwest Regional

5v5 CF%

Sh% Sv% Conference
Minnesota State 57.7% 11.1% 91.1% WCHA
Omaha 48.4% 9.5% 92.3% NCHC
Harvard 47.9% 10.9% 92.1% Hockey East
RIT 54.3% 9.1% 91.4% AHC

Northeast Regional

Team 5v5 CF% SH% SV% Conference Tournament
BU 55.1% 10.7% 92.5% Hockey East
Duluth 56.9% 8.9% 91% NCHC
Minnesota 53.8% 10.8% 91% B1G
Yale 53.1% 8% 94% ECAC

West Regional

Team 5v5 CF% SH% SV% Conference
North Dakota 51.9% 10.2% 92.4% NCHC
Mich. Tech 55.3% 10.3% 93.4% WCHA
St. Cloud 49.8% 9.1% 91.4% NCHC
Quinnipiac 56.3% 9% 91.0% ECAC