Loose pucks: Snow joke
Three things we kind of like:
1) One potential positive of not playing.
One thing that we thought Lowell really needed as it surrendered all those goals over the last few weeks is to have Connor Hellebuyck back from whatever is ailing him as soon as humanly possible. We certainly didn’t want to go into that game against BC without having the team’s best goaltending option completely available and ready to go and all that. Getting the week off as a result of the snow gives him ample opportunity to continue his recovery and hopefully — seriously, so much hoping — he’ll be good to go for the pair against Amherst. Not that we expect him to get the start both nights, but we’d really like to see it nonetheless.
2) And another.
Another good thing about this week off is that the team had a lot of time to sit back and think about those two crap performances against Maine and Merrimack, and what went right and wrong in each. It’s interesting to us that Bazin always wants these guys right back out there after ugly losses so they can get a fresh start, a sort of sorbet for the unhappy loser, but there’s also no denying that a little room to breathe hasn’t been a bad thing for this team. We don’t think it’s a coincidence, for instance, that the team’s hot run came mostly after the winter break, and that was true last season as well: Lowell won four of five after break. Letting the wounds fester might help a lot, especially after the demoralizing fashion in which the team lost in Maine.
3) The chance for redemption.
And to that point, if these River Hawks wants to claw their way back into playoff contention, this is the weekend to do it. Amherst is bad, Amherst is Lowell’s rival (because of its name, not its quality relative to Lowell’s), and Amherst is in Lowell’s way. Flattening them will not only give us tremendous joy, but will also reestablish this team’s home ice credibility, what little they might have left.
Two things we aren’t really feelin':
1) That BC game getting moved to deeper into February.
Not that BC is particularly ripe for the picking at any point, even in between Beanpot Mondays, but we get the feeling that as the Eagles go into full-on Killbot Mode the closer we get to March, the less likely Lowell is to take any points at all from a road meeting between the two teams. The things they did to Northeastern last night were at times terrifying in their ease, even if Parker Milner was once again rather human in appearance. That offense is so dynamic and scary that we can’t even bring ourselves to think of what it would do to the discombobulated Lowell bulwarks of the last few weeks.
2) Not getting a weekend of Lowell hockey.
It’s always the worst.
Stat of the Week
A lot is made every year, and we’re not counting ourselves out of the group here, of Boston College’s horrifying ability to turn it on from February right through to the end of the season, and it has been able to consistently cobble together winning streaks that make all opponents gnash their teeth and rend their clothes and weep openly. So we got to wondering this week, how does Lowell do when it comes time to drop the hammer in February and March?
The answer, perhaps predictably, is “not so well.” Where Boston College has given up a total of 21 points to its opponents after February since 2008-09, going 56-9-3 (a winning percentage of… oh god it’s .846), Lowell obviously hasn’t fared anywhere near that well. In those five seasons, the River Hawks are just 22-23-7 from February on during that same stretch. That’s a winning percentage of .490.
What’s interesting about that is Lowell’s overall record during that time is 82-79-13, meaning that its .490 winning percentage when it gets into the deep part of the season is actually below its .516 winning percentage from October to January (based on the 60-56-7 record in those games, which is actually kind of amazing considering there was a five-win season mixed in there). Compare that with BC’s “pedestrian” .636 winning percentage from October to January (71-40-3) and you can see what really separates a championship caliber team from one like Lowell, which is obviously less-than.
Amherst is the worst and we hate it. You’ll know more about it later this week! (Read between the lines, people.)