Though the Golden Knights ended the season with the ultimate prize, their season didn't start out on such a nigh note and they dropped two straight series right from the beginning.
Coach Matt Desrosiers notes that the early trials ultimately helped them grab the National Championship: "If I had to choose one turning point in the season, it would be that series against Wisconsin earlier in the year…We figured out a lot of things that weekend. They pushed us and forced us to figure that out pretty quick."
Aside from the fantastic Clarkson Women's Ice Hockey season, there were a few other teams that came into the 2016-17 season with modest expectations, and then totally blew them out of the water. Here are the 2017 NC Women's Ice Hockey Breakout Teams of 2017.
|Team||2016||2017||Δ||2016||2017||Δ||2017 BR||Δ BR||Δ Record||Total|
Δ = Change
Our Breakout Teams metric measures year-over-year improvement, and it applies to every division of every sport we rank. Points are awarded based on three things: end-of-season BennettRank (2017 BR), year-over-year improvement in BennettRank (ΔBR), and year-over-year improvement in overall record (ΔRecord).
First we calculate the points for end-of-season BennettRank (2017 BR). It's very simple: we flip the NC Women's Ice Hockey rankings on their head and award the corresponding number of points to each team. So since there are 36 teams in NC Women's Ice Hockey, the team ranked BR-1 in the final BennettRank earns 36 points, the team ranked BR-2 earns 35 points, BR-3 earns 34 points, BR-4 earns 33, and so on, all the way down to the team ranked BR-36 (last), who earns one point.
Then each team earns up to 36 points based on their year-over-year change in BennettRank (ΔBR). To get to this number, we take last season's final BennettRank and subtract it from this season's final BennettRank. Example: if a team finished at BR-35 last season and BR-14 this season, their year-over-year change is -21. We then order all 36 teams based on this change. The team that made the biggest year-over-year improvement earns 36 points, then the second biggest improvement earns 35 points, the third biggest earns 34 and so on, all the way down to the team that improved the least (and actually saw a negative change) in BennettRank from the year before. That team earns a single point.
Finally, teams earn bonus points for improving upon their win total from the year before (ΔRecord). Each game a team won over last year's win-total earns them three points. Example: if a team finished 17-15-6 last season and 26-6-4 this season, their nine-game improvement earns them 27 points. It seems like a small amount, but remember that BennettRank already takes wins into account. The kicker here is that a team cannot be included in this list unless they won two more games than they did the year before.
Add these three point totals together (2017 BR, ΔBR, ΔRecord) and you have your final score!
Congratulations to all the teams listed for a huge improvement this season, and best of luck continuing the trend next year!