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Saturday thoughts: Better late than never

January 13, 2008

Hockey’s a funny old game.

Lowell scored with less than two seconds to go twice, including Scott Campbell‘s OT game-winner with 1.3 seconds on the clock to beat Providence 3-2. The other, an attempted shot from Patrick Cey that bounced off Kory Falite’s chest and tied the game at 2-all, came with nanoseconds left on the clock in the second period, literally inside 0.1 seconds.

Understand this, though: Lowell played about 110 minutes of ugly hockey this weekend. Two points taken, but hardly well-earned. That’s hockey though. Pucks bounce your way sometimes, and who are you to complain about it?

It’s hard to understand what it is about Providence that completely derails the ‘Hawks. It seems like every time they’ve had a home-and-home with PC the last few years, they’ve gone in looking like world beaters and come out lucky to salvage a split.

Could be that they’re overly aggressive. Saturday’s game was a clinic in five-man rushes (FIVE!) and attacking with a blatant disregard for the consequences. It’s amazing that Providence can do it and not give up a ton of shots.

Final shots for the game, by the way, were 47-30. Lowell got off lucky, though. The Friars attempted 81. Worse still, Lowell spent long stretches of the game without trying a shot. From just after Nick Mazzolini‘s goal at 8:21 of the second period until about a minute to go in the frame, Providence out-attempted Lowell 11-0. There was a similar stretch in the third (18-0 over sevenish minutes).

Nevin Hamilton made 45 saves in the win, easily a career high. Hamilton was very solid all night, but he probably wants that second goal back.

On the other end of the ice, Tyler Sims was serviceable, making 27 saves. He would probably like all three Lowell goals back. Mike Potacco‘s instinctual throw-it-at-the-net backhander from the red line beat him, and it’s still unclear how. The aforementioned Falite goal was hardly his fault but one to be a bit steamed over, and the Campbell goal was on a scrum in the crease. Tough to swallow, all.

Get this, not a single penalty was called all night, with both teams getting away with blatant hooks, high sticks, slashes, elbows, hits from behind, and even a too many men in overtime. Referee Tim Benedetto clearly had better places to be.

The unquestionable star of the weekend for Lowell was Scott Campbell, who continues to impress centering Potacco and Mark Roebothan. He set up the first Lowell goal and obviously scored the game-winner, and his play last night was outstanding as well.

Also of note was the play of Barry Goers, who was essential in turning aside several Providence rushes before they had the chance to develop. He was more or less a one-man shutdown machine in front of Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Jon Rheault was by far the best player on the ice, and just playing on an entirely different level than the entirety of either roster. He was only rewarded with one assist, setting up Ian O’Connor’s first-period goal. Rheault’s skill was in evidence from the outset, but he stamped it with an exclamation point in the third period when he turned around Jeremy Dehner one-on-one. That, as most forwards in Hockey East would attest, is no small task.

Still, Lowell will certainly take two points. While none of the other results helped the ‘Hawks out tonight, they didn’t lose ground (thanks UNH!), and scraping out just a point — or none — against a team with which they’ll be competing for home ice would have been disastrous.

See ya Monday. We toileth not on the Sabbath.

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