By Heidi Sioux62
Sioux Success by the Numbers
With all the talk about what goons the Sioux are, I thought I would talk a little about the positives and how the Sioux have gotten to where they are – 14 game unbeaten streak (13-0-1), tied for 1st in the pairwise, 1st in both national polls, 2nd in the WCHA - looking for 1st in the WCHA with a little help from Denver (although they are keen to take one or two from CC they may not be overjoyed that their winning will also help UND).
While I know that what happens on the ice can be very different from what is on paper, I like numbers and so will tell the story with stats. My numbers are vs WCHA teams (which I found on the WCHA website and on the UND FightinSioux.com website) as I was unable to find team stats vs country (gotta admit they are there if I want to do the digging and comparing, but I really didn’t have the time to do that).
Let’s start with the offence:
UND is 2nd in goals per game at 3.15. The scoring per period is: 1st period, 38 goals (tied for 1st with St. Cloud), 2nd period, 28 (7th in league – hope the boys can up that number in the remaining games), 3rd period, 36 (3rd in league) and overall is 2nd in league with 105 total goals. The power play is 3rd in the league in overall games played at 18.3%.
Individually the point totals at the top are not surprising. TJ with 35, Ryan with 33and Vandy with 28 (which are 5, 6 and tied for 13th respectively overall in the WCHA and 4,5 and tied for 7th respectively in WCHA league play only). The fun surprise is the next 3 top scorers – Robbie (23), Chay (22) and Taylor (20) – way to go defense, chipping in on offense, gotta love the two way play of these guys. The top scorers are then complimented with 5 guys with 13 or more points (including Joe Finley who most people would not think of as an offensive threat).
Shooting percentage is also an interesting stat, with some players having top numbers that most people wouldn’t suspect:
Vandy - 21. 5% on 65 shots (SHOOT, SHOOT and SHOOT some more Chris)
Kozek – 18.8% on 80 shots
TJ – 17.9% on 78 shots
Then there are several players that shoot between 10% and 12% (including Big Joe at 10.3% and Kyle Radke at 10% - who would have “thunk” it from those two). UND holds a shots per game advantage with 985 shots to 821 shots for an average of 29.85 shots per game. And then there are the faceoffs (this is a very underrated stat as it can be critical for scoring chances or preventing scoring chances for opponents). The Sioux have a team percentage in faceoffs won of 52.6% and you will never guess who leads the team – Zach Jones with a perfect record of 100% faceoffs won (granted he’s only taken one faceoff, but he won it). There are 8 players (including Zach) who have won 50% or more of their faceoffs, led by Kozek (after Jones of course) with 63.9% of faceoffs won.
The +/- is a stat that indicates both offen se and defense, but is primarily used as a stat to assist in evaluating defensive play. The team is awesome in this stat, having 16 players with a plus rating. Joe Finley leads the team with a +24 followed by Chay (+20), Ryan (+19) and TJ (+13).
Let’s move on to the defense.
While offense gets most of the “press”, the defensive play of this team is the real “meat and potatoes” of this team’s success.
The defense of course “starts between the pipes” with Phil. He has a nation leading GAA of 1.6776 and is tied for 1st in save % at .934. He is also tied for 2nd nationally in shutouts with 5. At the beginning of the year all the “experts” said that goaltending was going to be the week link for the Sioux. Guess Phil put that “rumor” to rest.
As spectacular as Phil has been, the defensive success of the team has been a real TEAM effort. This team has only allowed 59 total goals (10 in the 1st period, 23 in the 2nd period and 26 in the 3rd period). The next closest team in the WCHA is CC with 73 goals against. The Sioux have allowed 3 or more goals in only 8 games.
I wish I could find the shot attempts and shots blocked for opponents because from watching the games this year I think the stats would be impressive. Since I don’t have those stats I’ll just go with the shots on goal against. The Sioux have limited opponents to under 20 shots in 10 games and have limited opponents to 20-25 shots in 9 games. That’s 19 games where they’ve allowed 25 or fewer shots by the opponent. The average shots per game by an opponent is 24.88.
I guess I can’t really do a full review of the season by the numbers without including penalties. It will surprise many that it is not as lopsided as everyone seems to think. I’ll start with the penalty kill that is 89.3% and is on track to be the best penalty kill percentage in UND history.
Regarding individual penalties/penalty minutes it might surprise a lot of people that Big Joe does NOT lead the team in either category. The winner here is Rylan Kaip with 27 penalties for 73 minutes. Joe comes in 2nd with 23/65 and here’s one probably no one would expect – TJ comes in 4th on the team with 16/51.
Now lets move on to game comparisons of UND vs Opponents:
UND 268 penalties – Opponents 270 penalties
UND 685 penalty minutes – Opponents 694 penalty minutes
UND 8.1 average penalties per game – Opponents 8.2 average penalties per game
UND 20.8 average penalty minutes per game – Opponents 21 average penalty minutes per game
UND 7 major penalties – Opponents 6 major penalties
UND 9 10 minute penalties – Opponent 10 10 minute penalties
UND 7 game misconducts – Opponent 7 game misconducts
The numbers clearly don’t indicate that the Sioux are the “thugs” of college hockey that everyone seems to enjoy accusing them of. In actuality, the Sioux trail (if only by a small margin) in all categories except Major penalties where they lead by 1.I will end this story by the numbers with a salute to the fans. I wish I knew the numbers of Sioux fans at out of town games (both those who travel and those who live in the areas) because there always appears to be an amazing amount of Sioux fans at all those games. The numbers I do have is for home games and they are impressive. The home attendance for the 17 games played averages 11,725 people per game which is basically 100% capacity of the Ralph. I know the players are extremely grateful for the support both home and away and truly consider the fans the “extra man” on the ice