Week 4 has come and gone and we are going to change things up. So instead of the usual write-up, I am going to go inside the numbers of each division leading team right now. ** I will be back to the norm next week and as we get closer to playoffs, look for another special edition ** ---------------------- BRIDGEPORT SOUND TIGERS ----------------------------- Record: 25-9-2 GM: @Laporshkin x 71 AGM: @X OnCloudNine X PAGM: @Gthumbz42o The Bridgeport Sound Tigers have been a very good team since the beginning of this season. They have not dropped from the #1 spot in their division and they have given up the fewest goals against in the entire league (65). This Sound Tigers team is led in points by @TeachMe18 and @o NEM3SIS with 28. The thing that makes it even better is that they play on separate lines. That means that there are 2 lines with enough offensive firepower to give opposing teams a headache. From the looks of it, Bridgeport looks to have 2 set lines of 5 guys. That becomes a very valuable asset when you can play with the same grouping of players all season. If they can round out their 3rd line, this team may just take off and truly separate themselves from the rest in their division. The goaltending due of @mochez18 and @MattakaTiny2 seems to be working out well the Sound Tigers. Mattaka is top 10 in the league (min 12 GP) in SV% and GAA. He's only played 14 games while Mochez has played 22, but it's still great numbers for what I assume is a backup goalie. These goalies also combine for 9 SO, which leads the league for goalie tandems. Team Rankings: Powerplay - 8th (22.8%) Penalty Kill - 13th (81.1%) Average TOA - 8th (6:38) Shot Differential - 4th (+119) Faceoff % - 3rd (56.8%) Hits - 21st (603) Goal Differential - 5th (+33) Special teams, special teams, special teams. I cannot express enough how much I believe in special teams when it comes to this game. A lot of people in this league have still neglected to understand how the RB button works and take tripping calls. We also have those players who love hitting since bumps are ridiculous. Sometimes those people go a bit overboard and sometimes EA just loves giving random charging penalties. So when you get a powerplay, you need to take advantage. Set something up, move the puck around, and when in doubt just shoot the damn puck. Bridgeport looks like they have that ability to do that with a top 10 PP. Being 13th on the penalty kill could be better. But what I like is that they don't take many penalties. The Sound Tigers rank dead last in penalty minutes with only 104. Ranking 8th in TOA while also ranking 4th in shot differential shows that not all of their shots are turds. They are able to cycle and get quality shots on net. Finally, let's talk about faceoffs. Sometimes you just need that perfect faceoff win at the right time and this team can do that. As an opposing team, you might as well just know youre going to lose and have a set gameplan on faceoffs or just take your chances and try to beat them. ------------------ ROCHESTER AMERICANS ------------------------ Record: 25-11-0 GM: @l Semp l AGM: @General Jobo PAGM: @Studz x 7 If I did this special edition version of Inside The Numbers last week, the Syracuse Crunch would be sitting atop the Eastern North division instead of these Rochester Americans. But it's not, so here we are. Let's begin by just talking about this teams scoring ability. Leading the league with 140 goals for which is 14 more than the next best, Manitoba Moose. They have 2 of the top 3 scorers and 4 in the top 10 overall (@Neekoe @Zaathal @Studz x 7 @FLYERSfanFURY ). The line of Neekoe, Studz, and Flyers are 11-1-0 this season. I am not sure who their competition has been the first 3 weeks, but they are definitely doing damage in their games. I do have to question their other lines though. It's almost as if it is a repeat of last season when Rochester was basically a 1 line team. I'd need to see their Zaathal line play better teams. The Americans are 8-2 against their division so far this season with both losses coming to the Toronto Marlies in Weeks 2 & 3 after beating them in Week 1. It is probably the easiest division in the league. So that bodes well for the Americans as we head into Week 5. Team Rankings: Powerplay - T13th (20.0%) Penalty Kill - 22nd (77.4%) Average TOA - T14th (6:20) Shot Differential - 1st (+144) Faceoff % - 31st (44.1%) Hits - 30th (509) Goal Differential - 1st (+62) These rankings are all over the place. I would expect the team with the most goals for in the league to near the top in shot differential & goal differential. The special teams need fixing. The powerplay isn't too bad, but the penalty kill needs a lot of work. Especially if the Americans want to win anything come playoff time. Sitting second to last in hits shows to me that most of the players on Rochester probably run smaller builds. I assume they go more for speed and the ability to make quick moves compared to the bumping and grind it out style. I do believe that if they get matched up against bigger builds, it could lead to some issues. Finally, when I see a first place team who sits last in faceoff %, I think that it could be a major disaster. It is probably partially why they sit so low in their penalty kill. Hopefully the guys on Rochester understand that they are not very good at faceoffs and adjust accordingly to know what to do and where to go when they do lose the faceoff. ------ IOWA WILD ---------- Record: 22-10-4 GM: @Mxckie AGM: @Beta Dreams PAGM: @Daqs x 13 The Iowa Wild are tied in points with the Grand Rapids Griffins for the division lead in the Western Central, but due to Grand Rapids having more losses than Iowa, the Wild are considered the division leaders. Out of all of the division leaders, the Wild have the fewest points. At first glance, the Wild look to be an evenly spread out team when it comes to wins and points. There is not one standout player who is the goto scorer on the team, but in a way that's not a bad thing. Having the ability to spread your points throughout your entire roster could become beneficial in the playoffs. For the most part I think the defense is what is holding this team in place. It is by no means a full 6 man dominant unit, but they look to be keeping their teams in games when the offense hasn't been scoring. As most know, Mackie is good at making the playoffs, but can never get over them hump and win himself a Calder. Maybe the addition of Beta will push him even closer to the prize. The Wild are also going to need their goalie @Too Much Twoco to play a bit better between the pipes. A 78.2 SV% and 2.45 GAA will not cut it. Even as a backup. Team Rankings: Powerplay - 12th (20.6%) Penalty Kill - 10th (82.4%) Average TOA - 19th (6:15) Shot Differential - 2nd (+139) Faceoff % - 2nd (57.6%) Hits - 18th (625) Goal Differential - 14th (+9) It's kind of where you could expect the Iowa Wild to land for the most part. As I stated earlier, they don't have any one dominant person doing anything and are more of a spread it around kind of team. Well in a way that reflects their team rankings as they are a middle of the road team for some categories. The TOA and shot differential say to me that turds are part of this teams gameplan. And I don't fault them as anything can happen when you just throw a puck towards the net. If an opposing team catches on to it, I believe that they can adapt and start to cover the crashing winger for the rebound shot or even sit on the dmen more to try and get in the lanes of passes or shots from the point. Iowa is another one of those teams where you can pretty much give up on winning faceoffs against. I will also say that they goal differential basically makes my point from earlier when I stated that the defense is holding this team in place. In order for this team to maintain that #1 positioning in the division, I think they need to find a way to score more goals. The defense and goaltending from @Tatar l21l is probably not going to be there every game. ------------ ONTARIO REIGN ------------------ Record: 24-8-4 GM: @uknome88 AGM: @Josh55777 PAGM: @Weldxr Well this is a surprise. You have teams like Stockton, Colorado, and San Jose that you think could be leading the Western Pacific. But Ontario has gone 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and are in first place over Colorado because they have more wins. When checking out the roster I see some names that I know. Taking a closer look into their team, I see that they have one line that has mostly stayed together all season (@Josh55777 @TMel 11 @Konecny x 11 ). *** EDIT *** @Weldxr would like everyone to know that he is part of that line and not Konecny. There you go Welder, you fucking twat,*** I think that the Reign are slowly trying to acquire the right pieces so that they can establish 3 lines that always play together. And in my honest opinion, I believe you need that in this division. When going up against some of the best teams in the league, chemistry can be a major factor in whether you win or lose. @BlaNchet98 has been lights out for the Reign this season and I believe is a key reason behind their success. Backup goalie, @l Soble x 30 l , is looks like he is having a rough time with a GAA above 3.0. It would also be wrong for me to not mention the defense who have been playing well in front of their goalie. Uknome should probably cut down on those giveaways though. 126 is a shit ton for a dman and he almost has a TA/GA this season of -100. Team Rankings: Powerplay - 25th (17.6%) Penalty Kill - 7th (83.9%) Average TOA - 26th (5:39) Shot Differential - 20th (-33) Faceoff % - T18th (48.5%) Hits - 22nd (595) Goal Differential - 9th (+17) Yikes! Those are some ugly rankings for a team that's in first place. The Reign have a fantastic penalty kill which can keep them in games if they get penalty crazy. But everything else is in the bottom third of the league and makes me scratch my head. How the heck is this team pulling out wins? Is it just plain EA luck or do they just capitalize on their chances? I honestly think that their goalie is stealing games after seeing these stats. I know they have some good offensive players who can put the puck in the net. But checking out the Time on Attack Difference for the Reign shows that they have been out TOA'd by 19:53 combined this season. I just don't feel like they generate enough to keep up with their division foes. In my opinion, I believe out of the four division leaders right now, the Reign would be the team that doesn't stay there. I do believe they can make the playoffs though. Maybe some of the changes they are making with trades and chemistry will provide more stablness throughout the team.