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Pythagorean Records

It has always bugged me a little bit that the sport of hockey seems to be way behind other sports in the field of sabermetrics. Hockey is much more difficult to measure statistically than other sports, but there's still very little out there beside the basic stuff. College hockey is even tougher since many stats, including time on ice aren't kept during the year(though I think it's only a matter of time before TOI is kept, as it's fairly simple if you have the right software).

Anyway, Marc Foster of the Junior Hockey Blog has been ressurrecting some old columns he wrote for CNNSI called Just the Stats. Reading some of those old columns motivated me to try and calculate Pythagorean Record for last season.

Pythagorean Record uses a formula to measure a team's record against how many goals a team scored and gave up. The formula is Goals For^2/(Goals For^2 + Goals Against^2). I don't think it's a perfect system, but it's worth taking a look at. You can read more about it here.

Here are the results for the CCHA and WCHA. I only looked at conference play, because that makes the schedules a little more insular. The results are listed as such: Team, Winning %, Pythagorean Win %, and Difference Between Percentages. Theoretically, a team with a positive difference over-achieved, while a team with a negative difference under-achieved.

Notre Dame .804 .757 .047
Michigan .661 .662 -.001
Miami .643 .638 .005
Michigan State .589 .608 -.019
Nebraska-Omaha .536 .581 -.045
Western Michigan .518 .455 .063
Ohio State .500 .517 -.017
Lake Superior .446 .436 .010
Ferris State .393 .367 .026
Northern Michigan .375 .405 -.030
Alaska .339 .377 -.027
Bowling Green .196 .223 -.027

Minnesota .694 .648 .046
St. Cloud .625 .618 .007
North Dakota .554 .606 -.052
Denver .536 .500 .036
Colorado College .518 .533 -.015
Wisconsin .482 .553 -.071
Michigan Tech .482 .538 -.056
Minnesota State .440 .401 .039
Minnesota-Duluth .357 .367 -.010
Alaska-Anchorage .304 .274 .030

So what conclusions can be drawn from this? I'm not really sure. I'll let people take from this what they will. I think it's pretty obvious that Western Michigan was one of the biggest over-achievers last season, while Wisconsin was one of the bigger under-achievers. I also think it's interesting that both teams that ran away with their conference did so well in this metric. In all, however, I'm not seeing any consistent, major trends here. It's still interesting to see though.