Monday, November 12, 2007

The Cedar Rapids Rundown

I'll be exploring this topic in further detail this week, but I just wanted to get the ball rolling.

Freshman goaltender Richard Bachman has five wins in his first five Western Collegiate Hockey Association starts. He got his fourth and fifth wins against Minnesota-Duluth goaltender Alex Stalock, who was Bachman's predecessor in net for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders (United States Hockey League).

Turns out Cedar Rapids has been a bit of a WCHA goaltender factory. I decided to compare Bachman's statistics in his first five starts to those of other Cedar Rapids goaltenders who have ended up in the WCHA, including Stalock, Minnesota State-Mankato's Dan Tormey and St. Cloud State's Bobby Goepfert.

First five WCHA starts
Bachman: .962 save percentage, 1.19 goals against average, 5-0 record
Stalock: .880 save percentage, 3.00 goals against average, 1-3-1
Tormey: .910 save percentage, 2.20 goals against average, 2-1-2
Goepfert*: .910 save percentage, 2.80 goals against average, 1-3-1

*first five WCHA starts came as a junior, played for two seasons at Providence before transferring to SCSU

Anyway, I know it's a little strange to be digging around in these stats, but I just wanted to prove to myself that what Bachman has done so far isn't normal. Sure, he's a 20-year-old freshman (three days older than Stalock, actually), but adjusting to the league is a tough task. No question Wisconsin will be a test with Kyle Turris up front. It'll be exciting to see how Bachman squares off against Shane Connelly, who stood on his head last Friday to shut out North Dakota.


Recruiting Roundup:
  • Andrew Hamburg (2008) seems to have hit his stride in St. Louis, chipping in five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in two games this weekend. The Bandits have a 16-3 record in the North American Hockey League and will face the U.S. under-18 team this weekend.
  • Nick Dineen (2008) scored two third-period goals to lead the U.S. Junior Select team to a 9-6 victory over Russia in the bronze-medal game. Dineen also had an assist and future CC teammate Tim Hall (2008) chipped in a goal. Summary here.
  • In an interview with Illegal Curve blog, Weyburn Red Wings (another Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team) color commentator Brad McNeil had some high praise for Rylan Schwartz (2009), calling his offensive abilities "unreal."
  • Updated recruits' stats here.
Tiger Tracks:
  • Former CC goaltender Matt Zaba picked up his second professional win Saturday. Zaba made 26 saves in the 6-5 Charlotte Checkers win over the Mississippi Sea Wolves, who return to the ECHL after a two-season hiatus following Hurricane Katrina.
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Atlanta Thrashers beat writer is still surprised that Brett Sterling couldn't score in his first stint on the NHL level. Sterling, who has four goals in four games for the Chicago Wolves since his demotion from the Thrashers, led the American Hockey League in scoring as a rookie last season.
  • Updated alumni stats here.


ckj said...

Kate - nice work, appreciate all the info.

On thing that I still don't understand very well is how the recruiting process in hockey works. In particular this St Clair kid. How can CC (or any other school) commit to a 14 yr old kid? It seems like a lot could change by the time he gets to campus (grades/admissions for example) and what does a commitment to or from a 14 year old mean? What are the ramifications of either side changing their mind by the time he is, let's say, 16?

I am more familier with recruiting in football and it seems like the rules and age at which you can recruit and get commitments from kids is much different.

Kate Crandall said...

That is a great question. Basically, verbal commitments happen any time before a player's senior year when the coach and player have contact, usually during an on-campus "unofficial" visit. The coach makes a scholarship offer and the kid has a set amount of time to consider it. At CC, the recruits have to turn in grade reports and class choices to admissions prior to applying, so that director Mark Hatch can review their transcript and ensure that they are going to pass muster.

I'm posting links to my two stories on this issue below, but please let me know if you have any other questions. Recruiting is the bread and butter of a college program and hockey recruiting is an odd bird, for sure.

WCHA recruiting picture

CC recruiting picture

Kate Crandall said...

Hope it's cool that I posted links--it's just such a complicated topic and I'm better at fielding your follow-up questions than explaining it all here. Those stories together took me about four months last season, so I guess there's the selfish motivation to get a few more people to read it :)

Matt said...

According to the NHL web site (
Sterling has a goal and 2 assists this season. I recall Sterling and Mark Stuart both getting their first NHL goals in the same week. Am I missing some technicality that the Atlanta paper picked up on?

Matt said...

It looks like my attempt to post the URL for Sterling's stats in the previous comment didn't work.

Kate Crandall said...

Yeah, my attempt to post the URL also failed... I'll try to get that on there. Basically, the guy was just surprised that Sterling wasn't as prolific of a scorer as he was as for the Chicago Wolves (he listed it among his top six surprises of the early season). He did score, but not as consistently as everyone expected. In my personal opinion, I think his numbers from last year made the expectations a little too lofty for him in his first 10 games. The one or two times I have spoken with Sterling, he seems to be a huge believer in the role confidence plays in scoring. I think he'll benefit from a few weeks with the Wolves, who are on a tear right now.

ckj said...

Kate - thanks for the additional articles on recruiting, they were helpful. Sounds like a pretty complicated process both for the schools and kids.

Matt said... just posted a new article on Sterling "Sterling rediscovers touch, eyes NHL return". It would be interesting to see what kind of goals he is scoring.

Kate Crandall said...

Thanks for the tip, I'll get a link to that posted.