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Weekend preview: Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline

January 4, 2013

The Lowell River Hawks (7-7-1, 3-6-1 Hockey East) vs. the Clarkson Golden Knights (4-8-5, 3-3-1 ECAC)

7 p.m. Friday at Cheel Arena, Potsdam, N.Y.
7 p.m. Saturday Cheel Arena, Potsdam, N.Y.

Lowell is tied for eighth in Hockey East with seven points from 10 games, Clarkson is tied for fifth in the ECAC with seven points from seven games.

Last three games
Lowell  — 3-2 vs. Bentley, 5-0 vs. Harvard, 2-0 vs. Northeastern.
Clarkson — 1-3 vs. Mercyhurst, 3-1 vs. St. Lawrence, 4-1 vs. St. Lawrence.

Prior meetings
Lowell trails Clarkson 8-11-0, all-time.

Season series
Lowell has not played Clarkson this season.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Scott Wilson — 15 GP, 3-9-12 (10 GP, 2-7-9 HE)
Joe Pendenza — 15, 6-5-11 (10, 3-4-7)
Josh Holmstrom — 15, 4-6-10 (10, 3-3-6)
Derek Arnold — 15, 2-7-9 (10, 2-3-5)
Ryan McGrath — 15, 4-4-8 (10, 1-2-3)

Clarkson:
Allan McPherson — 17 GP, 3-12-15 (7 GP, 2-5-7 ECAC)
Jarrett Burton — 17, 7-6-13 (7, 2-6-8)
Ben Sexton — 11, 4-6-10 (4, 2-3-5)
Pat Magannety — 17, 5-4-9 (7, 0-2-2)
Will Frederick — 17, 4-5-9 (7, 4-3-7)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Doug Carr (4-6-1) — 12 GP, 651:40, 2.67 GAA/.904 sv% (9 GP, 522:04, 2.99 GAA/.893 sv% HE)
Connor Hellebuyck (3-1-0) — 5, 250:14, 1.68/.939 (2, 80:00, 0.75/.971)

Clarkson:
Greg Lewis (4-6-4) — 15 GP, 853:49, 2.67 GAA/.908 sv% (7 GP, 412:46, 2.62 GAA/.908 sv% ECAC)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (15 games) — 38 goals for (2.53/gm), 37 goals against (2.47/gm). Power play 8/57 (14.0, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 46/56 (82.1%, 1 SHGF)
Hockey East (10 games) — 23 goals for (2.30/gm), 28 goals against (2.80/gm). Power play 4/44 (9.1%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 33/41 (80.5%, 1 SHGF)

Clarkson:
Overall (17 games) — 47 goals for (2.76/gm), 50 goals against (2.94/gm). Power play 11/70 (15.7%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 60/79 (75.9%, 2 SHGF)
ECAC (7 games) — 22 goals for (3.14/gm), 20 goals against (2.86/gm). Power play 5/28 (17.9%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 26/36 (72.2%, o SHGF)

Outlook
As with Bentley last week, the thing to keep in mind about Clarkson is that they are very bad against out-of-conference opponents. A quick look at their non-conference record (1-5-4) will tell you that straight away.

Now, okay, first, scoring 25 goals in 10 games isn’t very good at all (so bad, in fact, that Lowell’s underwhelming total offense this season is actually superior by a very slim margin), but allowing 30 in 10? Yikes. That is bad. And the thing is, 10 of those goals were scored by Colorado College across two games, which you’ll recall as the team Lowell held to just one goal. Another six were scored by Niagara in two. Another five by Canisius in two. Another three by RIT. Another three by Mercyhurst. Another three by Holy Cross.

If you’re starting to see a pattern develop, you’re right. These teams are pretty much universally bad, and pretty much universally scoring a good amount of goals against Clarkson. We saw someone mention that Lowell was the Golden Knights’ best non-conference opponent this year, which, given the season our River Hawks have had, can’t be good. However, let’s also keep in mind that just one of Lowell’s losses this year has been against a non-conference opponent (that being Denver, which just tuned up BU in their home rink a lot worse than they gave it to Lowell in the same building).

Obviously, we can’t have watched that Bentley game and come away feeling like Lowell is a team that’s going run a game on the road against anyone, but at the same time, if the group that showed up against Harvard, for instance, were to swing by Potsdam this weekend, the games could quickly devolve into bloodbaths in favor of the visitors, and we wouldn’t be too sad about that. In fact, we tend to think it’s pretty crucial that the team actually show up for these games because, apart from the threat of sinking back below .500 after just getting back to that level for the first time since the win over Colorado College, they can’t lose whatever confidence they might have had after the Harvard game and the perseverance gleaned from not going quietly into the night against Bentley when it so easily could have (and looked like it might). After this weekend the ‘Hawks have a pair against Vermont, and nothing but league opponents the rest of the way. Getting into that part of the schedule with only one non-conference loss, and in its first non-conference game of the year no less, will probably be crucial for a lot of reasons.

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