Digging Into Drexel's One-Goal Madness

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Some thoughts on Team (Almost) Invincible.

Quint Kessenich had an interesting tweet this morning:

I don't know exactly why, but Drexel has found itself in a ton of one-goal games the last few seasons. This has led me to characterize the Dragons as Team (Almost) Invincible given both Drexel's proclivity for playing tight games and also for pressing their opponents in the fourth quarter. I wasn't sold as to the validity of that statement, but Quint's tweet pushed me to do some digging into Drexel's performances in its one-goal games since 2012. Some of the detail I discovered supports the characterization of Drexel as Team (Almost) Invincible, but there is also some detail that makes you wonder just how strong the Dragons are in pressure-fueled situations.

THE DREXEL FILE: ONE-GOAL GAMES SINCE 2012

  • Drexel's record in one-goal games: 8-8.
  • Excluding 2014 (only three games played), percentage of Drexel's games ending in a one-goal outcome: 41.94 percent. Excluding 2014 (only three games played), average number of games per season ending in a one-goal outcome: seven (out of 16). Excluding 2014 (only three games played), average number of one-goal wins: three. Excluding 2014 (only three games played), average number of one-goal losses: three.
  • Drexel's goals for in one-goal games: 168. Drexel's goals against in one-goal games: 168. The average score of Drexel's one-goal games is 11-11.
  • Fourth-quarter madness:
    • One-goal games in which Drexel was trailing entering the fourth quarter: seven (that's 43.75 percent of Drexel's one-goal games). The average deficit that Drexel has faced in these situations is two goals. Drexel is 4-3 in these games, good for a 57.14 winning percentage.
    • One-goal games in which Drexel was even with its opponent entering the fourth quarter: four (that's 25.00 percent of Drexel's one-goal games). Drexel is 1-3 in these games, good for a 25.00 winning percentage.
    • One-goal games in which Drexel was leading entering the fourth quarter: five (that's 31.25 percent of Drexel's one-goal games). The average lead that Drexel has held in these situations is one goal. Drexel is 3-2 in these games, good for a 60.00 winning percentage.
    • Goal aggregate in the fourth quarter: plus-eight (Drexel averages three goals in the fourth quarter while Drexel's opponents average three as well).
    • Goal aggregate going into the fourth quarter: minus-seven (Drexel averages seven goals in the fourth quarter while Drexel's opponents average eight).
    • Raw average offensive efficiency in the fourth quarter: 38.58. Raw average defensive efficiency in the fourth quarter: 35.96. The team's Pythagorean win expectation based on these fourth quarter values is 55.42 percent. Team's log5 in the fourth quarter of these games based on calculated fourth quarter Pythagorean win expectation values is 60.72 percent.
    • Aggregate possession margin in the fourth quarter: plus-13. Average possession margin in the fourth quarter: plus-one.
  • One-goal overtime games: three. Record in those games: 1-2, good for a 33.33 winning percentage.

Based on this information, it's hard to definitively say that Drexel closes as well as any team in the nation. However, there is a lot of information there the implies that the Dragons are strong late: The team's production in the fourth quarter is indicative of a team that should win; Drexel has used the fourth quarter -- more often than not -- to either hold a lead or erase a deficit in one-goal games, a somewhat impressive feat given the quality of the Dragons' competition since 2012 (Drexel has won about 60 percent of those games); and the Dragons have managed to hold a 58.82 aggregate winning percentage since 2012 despite playing 47.06 percent of their games in one-goal fashion.

There is something odd and special about Drexel's efforts in these games. I just don't understand how this can happen each and every year to the Dragons.

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