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Tuesday preview: Head for the storm cellar

November 2, 2010

The Lowell River Hawks (1-4-2, 1-4-0 HE) vs. the No. 4 Boston College Eagles (4-2-0, 2-1-0 HE)

7 p.m. Tuesday at Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Lowell is tied for seventh in Hockey East with two points from five games. BC is tied for third in Hockey East with four points from three games.

Last three games
Lowell — 1-2 at BU, 1-5 vs. BU, 1-3 vs. Northeastern
BC — 2-4 at Merrimack, 3-2 vs. Merrimack, 1-2 at Notre Dame

Prior meetings
Lowell trails BU 31-53-7, all-time.

Season series
Nothing to report.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Chad Ruhwedel — 7 GP, 1-5-6 (5 GP, 1-2-3 HE)
Riley Wetmore — 7, 2-3-5 (5, 1-2-3)
Josh Holmstrom — 7, 0-4-4 (5, 0-2-2)
Joe Pendenza — 5, 3-0-3 (4, 3-0-3)
Scott Campbell — 6, 2-1-3 (4, 1-1-2)

BC:
Cam Atkinson — 6 GP, 4-3-7 (3 GP, 2-1-3 HE)
Joe Whitney — 6, 1-6-7 (3, 0-3-3)
Brian Gibbons — 6, 4-2-6 (3, 2-1-3)
Jimmy Hayes — 6, 2-1-3 (3, 0-1-1)
Steven Whitney — 4, 1-2-3 (1, 1-0-1)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Doug Carr (1-2-1) — 5 GP, 225:17, 3.20 GAA/.902 sv% (4 GP, 160:17, 3.74 GAA/.884 sv% HE)
Marc Boulanger (0-2-1) — 4, 203:40, 4.42/.857 (3, 139:48, 4.72/.845)

BC:
John Muse (3-1-0) — 4 GP, 238:28, 1.51 GAA/.954 sv% (2 GP, 120:00, 1.00 GAA/.970 sv% HE)
Parker Milner (1-1-0) — 2 GP, 118:30, 2.03/.923 (1, 58:30, 4.10/.875)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (7 games) — 16 goals for (2.29/gm), 28 goals against (4.00/gm). Power play 5/35 (14.3%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 21/27 (77.8%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (5 games) — 10 goals for (2.00/gm), 21 goals against (4.40/gm). Power play 4/23 (17.4%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 16/18 (88.9%, 0 SHGF)

BC:
Overall (6 games) — 17 goals for (2.83/gm), 10 goals against (1.67/gm). Power play 6/37 (16.2%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 40/44 (90.9%, 1 SHGF)
Hockey East (3 games) — 7 goals for (2.33/gm), 6 goals against (2.00/gm). Power play 5/21 (23.8%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 15/18 (83.3%, 0 SHGF)

Outlook
In theory, at least, this is going to be ugly.

Regardless of their offensive woes the last two weeks Boston College is still one of the best teams in the country, and they’re still 4-2-0 despite having played just one home game. Lowell, on the other hand, has yet to win on the road (which may not be totally fair because they only one once at home in the meantime).

And while Boston College’s having scored six goals in its last three games is owed mainly to a shocking and complete lack of secondary scoring (Brian Gibbons, Joe Whitney and Cam Atkinson are carrying some serious water up front), Lowell doesn’t even have primary scoring, having scored just three goals in their last three, none of which were scored by junior or senior forwards.

However, playing Lowell has, more often than not, been a cure for what ails opposing offenses, whereas playing BC, apart from Saturday at Fortress Volpe, has signaled the deaths by strangling of all offenses that have been unlucky enough to stumble into its path.

Doug Carr played very well by all accounts at Agganis Arena, as did the Lowell penalty killers, who held the, ahem, “potent” BU offense without a goal on nine opportunities. But the offense? Well, it almost existed, even if in name only. One goal per night in the last three games, all of which came in Hockey East. And fully half of the team’s league goals came against Providence in one game. If this is a team that’s still figuring things out at the college level, it’s clearly saving the offense for the final lesson of the season.

Meanwhile, BC has conceded just seven goals in three Hockey East games, but more than half of those were surrendered by Parker Milner on a forgettable Saturday. In the two games in which John Muse has gotten the nod, his GAA and save percentage (1.00 and .970) are approaching singularity. Given the way the offense has looked, Lowell will give him a helluva chance to accomplish or even surpass that tonight.

Frankly, this is a game where any result at all has to be seen as a major positive for Lowell. Indeed, we might go so far as to say even keeping the score respectable should be cause for the league to kick the ‘Hawks a point or two.

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