The playoffs have arrived and it’s about time to prognosticate. Team by team, we’re about to drop some knowledge on your face.
The Smart Money
Regular Season: 12-0
After an undefeated regular season, anything less than a title would be a pretty big disappointment for the Patriots. Centennial has the #1 goalie, #2 offense, and #2 defense in the league.
The only teams that Centennial failed to blow out are seeded #2-4. Though this could suggest that the Patriots are not invulnerable, the close margins of victory over Timberline (4), Eagle (3), and BK (3) show that this is a team that can win the close games.
As the heralded #1 seed, Centennial hosts #8 Meridian to open the playoffs. This is actually a rematch of both teams’ final regular season game, which Centennial won 14-5. We suspect that the Patriots were saving something in the tank for the post-season…
First Round Prediction: 20-6 win over Meridian.
Top 20 Scorers: AJ Gravel (Rank: #10, 41 points on 31 goals and 10 assists); Charlie Dolar (#19, 28 points on 20 goals and 8 assists)
Goalie save pct/rank: Jarrin Wallace – #1 – 74.2%
Points for/against: 177/37
Championship Odds – 4:1
Regular Season: 11-1 (loss to Centennial 5-9)
Timberline has blown out every team outside of the top 5. Note that we say top 5, not top 4. Timberline just barely squeaked by Mountain View 11-10 at the end of April, a week after squirming past BK by the same score. A big final-week 8-4 victory over Eagle, however, vaulted the Wolves to the #2 spot.
Timberline has lots of scoring power, but a defense and goaltender just outside of the top tier.
The Wolves kick things off against #7 Boise. Boise put up a decent fight on April 10 and Timberline was only able to muster a 10-5 win. We suspect that Timberline should be clicking a little bit better at this point.
First Round Prediction: 16-5 win over Boise.
Top 20 Scorers: Andrew Rusin (Rank: #2; 66 points on 56 goals and 10 assists), Nash Cantrell (#3: 65 points on 37 goals and 28 assists), Brett Jones (#13; 36 points on 12 goals and 24 assists), Drew Welch (#16; 33 points on 27 goals and 6 assists)
Goalie save pct/rank: Keven Brown – #4 – 59.2%
Points for/against: 165/59
Championship Odds – 4:6
Regular Season: 10-2 (losses to Centennial 2-5; Timberline 4-8)
Eagle has the #1 defense, the #2 goalie, but the #5 offense. Against the remaining top 4 teams, the Mustangs are averaging only 4 goals per game… but they’re holding the top 4 offenses to 5.75 goals per game. If Eagle can muster some offensive creativity in the playoffs, they could make a run.
The Mustangs draw #6 Rocky Mountain in the first round. In the regular season, this match-up yielded a 13-2 drubbing in favor of Eagle. Hard to imagine anything particularly different this time around.
First Round Prediction: 15-1 win over Rocky.
Top 20 Scorers: Austin Huckvale (Rank: #7; 49 points on 25 goals and 24 assists), Brady Harrell (#14; 34 points on 18 goals and 16 assists)
Goalie save pct/rank: Lee Shaw – #2 – 74.1%
Points for/against: 127/33
Championship Odds – 1:2
The Defending Champs
#4 Bishop Kelly
Regular Season: 9-3 (losses to Centennial 7-10; Eagle 3-6; Timberline 10-11)
The reigning champs have weathered the losses of the likes of Patrick Tunison and Kevin Seibert pretty well in 2012. Senior attackman Blake Batman has stepped up to play a Steele Stanwickish role in the offense and leads the league with 43 assists.
The Knights sport the #3 goalie and #3 defense in the league. They proved last year that they’re not to be underestimated, so we’re not willing to hold very respectable regular season losses against them. Watch out for the boys in yellow and black.
BK opens the post-season hosting #5 Mountain View. BK trumped the Mavs 16-8 in early April but this is still a dangerous match-up. If Bishop Kelly’s shooters can take advantage of the Mavs’ keeper, they should be able to put this one away. But watch out for Nick “Dom Mazzetti” Guzzetti and that vaunted Mountain View offense. Of the first round match-ups, this ought to be the best.
First Round Prediction: 14-12 win over Mountain View.
Top 20 Scorers: Blake Batman (Rank: #4; 62 points on 19 goals and 43 assists), Brandan Kirby (#6; 51 goals on 30 goals and 21 assists), Ronan McClure (#20; 28 points on 25 goals and 3 assists)
Goalie save pct/rank: Oliver Cole – #3 – 59.2%
Points for/against: 150/53
Championship Odds – 1:2
The Dark Horse
#5 Mountain View
Regular Season: 8-4 (losses to Timberline 10-11; Eagle 7-9; Centennial 5-12; Bishop Kelly 8-16)
The Mavericks don’t have a stellar defense and suffer from a porous goaltender. And yet, it’s hard to count Mountain View out in light of the fact that these boys simply shoot the lights out. Nick Guzzetti won the regular season points title by a solid margin and marshals the #1 offense in the league. A close loss to Timberline in late April a week after similarly-narrow loss to Eagle puts this team squarely on the radar.
All that said, Mountain View is winless against the top 4 so we can’t count them as a favorite just yet.
The Mavericks square off against BK in the first round. Of the top 4, BK presented the toughest challenge in the regular season and the Knights ran away with it 16-8.
First Round Prediction: 14-12 loss to BK.
Top 20 Scorers: Nicholas Guzzetti (Rank: #1; 75 points on 54 goals and 21 assists), Josh Buss (#11; 39 points on 23 goals and 16 assists), Taylor Hedrick ((#18; 29 points on 17 goals and 12 assists)
Goalie save pct/rank: Kyle Anderson – #13 – 46.8%
Points for/against: 180/76
Championship Odds – 1:8
I’ll be honest with you: I have limited time and if I had 10 cents to make a bet, I wouldn’t waste it on these last three teams. They are a combined 0-36 against seeds 1-5, losing by an average of nearly 7 points per game. It’s just not gonna happen. As such, I’m going to omit the write-up in favor of a few stats.
#6 Rocky Mountain
Regular Season: 7-5
Top 20 Scorers: Tevin Manu (Rank: #5, 57 points on 39 goals and 18 assists)
Goalie save pct/rank: Sam Hawes – #5 – 55.7%
Points for/against: 122/93
Championship Odds – 1:30
Regular Season: 6-6
Top 20 Scorers: Matthew Mello (Rank: #12; 38 points on 18 goals and 20 assists)
Goalie save pct/rank: Chance Foster – #12 – 47%
Points for/against: 99/115
Championship Odds – 1:50
Regular Season: 5-7
Top 20 Scorers: Ian Williams (#8; 48 points on 41 goals and 7 assists), Jake Berard (#9; 47 points on 24 goals and 23 assists), Bailey Emmanuel (Rank: #15; 33 points on 20 goals and 13 assists)
Goalie save pct/rank: Colby Woodell – #14 – 45.5%
Points for/against: 122/129
Championship Odds – 1:100