The Prediction Business

In the past couple of months, I’ve heard plenty of comments about my score predictions and how accurate they (sometimes) are. I always have four things in mind when I set out to anticipate the results of a game or series:

#1: How many points will each team earn on the weekend? This one is fairly simple. Do I expect a split? Sweep? Will either game go to overtime?

#2: The result of each individual game (win, loss, or tie). In other words, will the home team take the opener but struggle in the rematch? Will travel be a factor? How have the teams been playing on Fridays and Saturdays?

#3: The nature of each game. Will the result be lopsided? Low scoring? Racehorse hockey?

#4: The actual score I expect for each game. Hockey scores are so random, with special teams, goaltending, and in-game adjustments all playing a role.

I went back and looked at all of my predictions for this season. For some reason, I didn’t make a prediction for UND vs. Minnesota State on October 27th and 28th. That means that we’ve got 26 games to examine…

Here are my predictions, the actual scores, and a comment for each game or series.

vs. Army Prediction: 5-2. Actual Score: 7-2. I feel good about this one.

vs. Wisconsin Prediction: 4-3. Actual Score: 2-0. The analytics would tell us that the game was much closer to my prediction than the actual game result.

Minnesota Prediction: 4-3, 3-5. Actual Scores: 0-4, 2-1. I called the split, but I had the game results reversed and I wasn’t even close on the number of goals scored that weekend.

at Boston University Prediction: 2-4, 5-3. Actual Scores: 2-3, 5-4 (OT). Pretty close to perfect!

at Minnesota Duluth Prediction: 4-2, 3-3. Actual Scores 4-2, 2-0. We got one score exactly right!

vs. Miami Prediction: 6-2, 4-1. Actual Scores: 6-4, 5-1. We’re on a roll!

vs. Bemidji State Prediction: 5-2, 4-2. Actual Scores: 3-2 OT, 5-0. I should have known that the Beavers would take one game to overtime.

at Denver Prediction: 4-2, 2-5. Actual Scores: 7-5, 2-3 OT. I got the split right as well as the order of the results. Not too bad.

vs. Colorado College Prediction: 3-2, 4-1. Actual Scores: 2-3 OT, 2-3 OT. Ugh.

vs. Alaska Prediction: 4-2, 3-2. Actual Scores: 6-4, 6-2. I called the sweep, but I could not have imagined UND hanging twelve goals on the Nanooks.

vs. Omaha Prediction: 3-2, 5-2. Actual Scores 4-5 OT, 3-1. See Bemidji State above.

at St. Cloud State Prediction: 4-2, 3-4. Actual Scores: 5-3, 3-3 OT. I feel good about this one. Given UND’s historical struggles at SCSU, I went out on a limb with these predictions. And truthfully, since the Huskies won the shootout, it was kind of like a 3-4 loss.

vs. Denver Prediction: 3-5, 4-3. Actual Scores: 5-2, 4-2. So glad my prediction of a split was wrong!

at Miami Prediction: 4-2, 5-1. Actual Scores: 5-4 OT, 4-1. Fairly close here.

So if you’re counting at home (and if, amazingly, you’re still reading), the following stats might help:

I was within one goal of the exact score in 7 of 26 games.

I predicted the correct result (win, loss, or tie) for each individual game 19 out of 26 times.

On the season, I predicted UND’s record in those 26 games would be 20-5-1. North Dakota’s actual record was 19-6-1. I had the Fighting Hawks outscoring opponents 101-64; the actual results totaled 100-67.

Bottom line: I’ll keep cranking out score predictions and we’ll see how close we can get the rest of the way.

As always, thank you for reading. I welcome your questions and suggestions. Follow me on X-Twitter (@DBergerHockey) for more information and insight. Here’s to hockey!

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