Thursday, January 12, 2012

Halfway Point: A Statistical Look Back At The First 30 Games

With 30 games played so far, the Lincoln Stars are at the halfway point of the 2011-12 regular season.  They say the the USHL regular season is a marathon and not a sprint, so there is still a lot of hockey yet to be played. Each USHL team participates in 60 regular season games, and then however many playoff games after that.  A lot can change between now and mid-April, when the regular season concludes.

I'm kind of a stats geek (I love math!), so I thought I'd look at the first 30 games played by the Stars and post some numbers that might be interesting.  There is a saying that "there is truth in the numbers."  I'd like to think that is true in some cases.  Having said that, here's what I came up with.

Stars overall record:  18-10-2 (38 points); tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Omaha Lancers who have an identical record of 18-10-2 through 30 games played.

Lincoln has a home record of 8-4-1 (17 points) and a road record of 10-6-1 (22 points).  Of the thirty games the Stars have played thus far, 13 have been played at the IceBox and 17 have been played on the road.  So the majority of the 38 total points the Stars earned through the first thirty games came on the road.

These numbers are a good sign, in my opinion.  When it comes time for the playoffs, if you can't win on the road you aren't going to last long.  There are plenty of home games coming up in the next few months for the Stars to generate some home cookin' and earn even more points.

Shots and Goals:
In terms of generating shots on goal, there is no team in the USHL that does a better job than the Lincoln Stars.  Through 30 games, the Stars have put a total of 1,038 shots on the opponents net.  That averages out to 34.6 shots per game for Lincoln, which is tops in the league.

On the other end of the rink, the Stars have allowed a total of 825 shots on goal against the goaltending tandem of Charles Williams and Jackson Teichroeb.  That averages out to 27.5 shots against per game which is the 5th lowest amount given up per game in the USHL.

The Stars have scored a total of 99 goals through 30 games, which averages out to 3.3 goals scored per game.  The 99 goals scored is 3rd most in the USHL, and the 3.3 goals per game average is 4th best in the USHL.  No surprise here.  For the most part, scoring goals has not been a problem with this team.

On the defensive end, the Stars have given up a total of 90 goals through 30 games, which averages out to 3.0 goals surrendered per game.  The 90 goals given up is 7th most in the USHL, and the average of 3.0 goals surrendered each game is 8th most.  The numbers say that compared to the rest of the league, the Stars are middle-of-the-pack defensive team.  Not great, but not bad either.

Special Teams:
Through thirty games this season, the Stars have scored 25 powerplay goals in 115 opportunities for a powerplay percentage of 21.74%, which is good for 3rd best overall in the USHL.  The 25 PP goals Lincoln has scored is 4th most in the league.

On the other end of the rink, the numbers aren't so good.  The Stars have surrendered a total of 30 powerplay goals against in 148 opportunities for a penalty kill percentage of 79.73%.  That PK percentage of 79.73% is 3rd worst in the USHL.  The 148 times the Stars have been shorthanded is the most of any team in the league.

The Stars have accumulated a total of 604 penalty minutes in thirty games, which averages out to 20.1 PIM's per game.  Only the Muskegon Lumberjacks, who average 26.3 penalty minutes per game, rack up more penalty minutes per game than the Lincoln Stars.

According to the numbers, the Stars are very much "Jekyll and Hyde" in regards to special teams.  With the amount of offensive talent on this team, the Stars have shown that they are more than capable of putting the biscuit in the basket when they have a man advantage.

However, the penalty kill has struggled at times, especially as of late.  It's no secret that the Stars haven't been playing as disciplined as they would like.  If the Stars can cut down on the amount of silly penalties, and shore up the PK unit, they should be able to win more special team wars.

Surprisingly, these numbers weren't as good as I expected.  As a team, the Stars have save percentage of .891%, which is tied for 13th overall out of 16 USHL teams.  Neither Charles Williams or Jackson Teichroeb currently have a save percentage above .900, which again was surprising to me.  Despite their less than stellar numbers, what Williams and Teichroeb have been able to do through thirty games is win games.

That's about it.  I am running out of time tonight to get this article up, along with the weekend preview article.  Hopefully this halfway point article was interesting and somewhat informative.  Thanks for reading.

Go Stars.

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