Lacrosse is a game of swings and streaks -- fast breaks, goals off a faceoff, etc. -- but there isn't really a "momentum metric". The final score of the game tells you who won, but it doesn't tell you about the exciting back-and-forth. One way to capture that action is by plotting the net score over the duration of the game -- how many goals a given team is winning or losing by.
As an example, looking at Denver's win over Notre Dame last year in the semi-finals:
In one quick glance, we can see:
- The game was really close right up until the 4th quarter when Denver got some distance
- Despite almost winning, Notre Dame never actually had the lead at any point throughout the game.
- Notre Dame's rapid comeback at the end of the game came right after a flurry of answered goals between the two -- an exciting final 8 minutes!
What's great is how easily this extends across all games. Here are a few of the other stories out of the playoffs last year:
1. Ohio St. jumping ahead of Denver in the quarterfinals, before 9 goal run by Denver
2. Notre Dame's 3rd quarter scare against Albany
3. The hard fought back-and-forth between Hopkins and Syracuse in the 1st half