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Tuesday preview: Two points required

January 24, 2012

The Lowell River Hawks (14-6-0, 9-5-0 HE) vs. the Providence Friars (9-11-2, 7-7-1 HE)

7 p.m. Tuesday at Schneider Arena, Providence, R.I.

Lowell is fifth in Hockey East with 18 points from 14 games. Providence is sixth in Hockey East with 15 points from 15 games.

Last three games
Lowell — 3-2 (ot) at Northeastern, 4-0 vs. Northeastern, 2-3 (ot) at Vermont.
PC — 0-8 at BU, 1-6 at BU, 5-2 at Vermont.

Prior meetings
Lowell trails Providence 38-47-10

Season series
These teams have not met this season.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Scott Wilson — 19 GP, 11-9-20 (13 GP, 8-5-13 HE)
Matt Ferreira — 19, 7-13-20 (13, 5-8-13)
David Vallorani — 20, 8-10-18 (14, 5-8-13)
Riley Wetmore — 20, 7-11-18 (14, 4-6-10)
Chad Ruhwedel — 19, 2-16-18 (13, 2-10-12)

PC:
Ross Mauermann — 22 GP, 8-9-17 (15 GP, 7-6-13 HE)
Derek Army — 22, 8-7-15 (15, 6-5-11)
Tim Schaller — 17, 10-4-14 (11, 7-3-10)
Matt Bergland — 22, 3-11-14 (15, 1-10-11)
Myles Harvey — 22, 5-7-12 (15, 5-5-10)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Doug Carr (13-3-0) — 16 GP, 976:14, 1.84 GAA/.933 sv% (12 GP, 723:13, 1.99/.931 HE)

PC:
Alex Beaudry (8-10-2) — 21 GP, 1,117:34, 3.17 GAA/.890 sv% (15 GP, 785:41, 3.05/.892 HE)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (20 games) — 71 goals for (3.55/gm), 48 goals against (2.40/gm). Power play 21/104 (20.2%, 3 SHGA), penalty kill 67/79 (84.8%, 3 SHGF)
Hockey East (14 games) — 47 goals for (3.36/gm), 37 goals against (2.64/gm). Power play 14/68 (20.6%, 3 SHGA), penalty kill 48/56 (85.7%, 2 SHGF)

PC:
Overall (22 games) — 63 goals for (2.86/gm), 73 goals against (3.32/gm). Power play 20/122 (16.4%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 99/122 (81.1%, 8 SHGF)
Hockey East (15 games) — 47 goals for (3.13/gm), 50 goals against (3.33/gm). Power play 16/83 (19.3%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 71/85 (83.5%, 7 SHGF)

Outlook
This is a game that, on paper, Lowell should win walking away. It has lost just three games since the beginning of November and does pretty much everything well. But because this game is on the road, where all three of those losses have come and where Lowell has been pretty bad lately, this is considerably more up in the air.

We don’t think that the scheduling is particularly egregious yet, as this is the third game since Friday for both teams so both should be in the same condition (though perhaps Alex Beaudry will be a little fresher since he got the Sandman-style hook in both games this weekend and played a grand total of 53:23 in those two games). Even as Lowell has won two of its last two road games, they’ve made it more difficult on themselves than they’ve had to. Going to OT against teams like Northeastern, Vermont, and UConn is nothing to be proud of, even if the wins did eventually come. In fact, they shelled up pretty good in the third period of all those games and just let the hosts come at them. Which shouldn’t happen when teams have this big of a talent gap.

Add to that the fact that Providence just got the hockey equivalent of having their pants pulled down in front of the whole school during a campaign speech for student body president, and that this should serve as a sufficient motivator to come out of the gates screaming for some manner of vengeance. Providence is not as bad a team as Northeastern and though it has won just one of its last seven games, Lowell can’t afford to underestimate the Friars, which, given the general quality of the road performances lately, is something we’d hope wouldn’t happen regardless. (e.g. if Vermont can beat Lowell when it mails in a game, anyone can.)

Again, Lowell should win and we expect them to. We’re just anxious to see exactly how they respond to this latest test. Probably — hopefully — well. But who knows these days?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rich permalink
    January 24, 2012 10:18 am

    The next 5 games should decide a lot for lowell. I think its safe to say the two against vermont and the one against amherst at home should be east wins. But these two road games should tell us if the series next montth against BU is a fight for first place, or if its us trying to cling on to home ice. I think we all know they have the talent to win the league, and I think the only thing in their way is playing like the young team they are rather than playing like the top 10 program they are becoming

  2. January 24, 2012 11:33 am

    Hey, Rich. There are no easy wins in HE and that includes a UMass team that is starting to look dangerous given their offensive weapons. Lowell has been a nice story but they WILL not be battling for first place with either BU or BC, shoot for home ice and keep your aspirations realistic.

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