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Weekend preview: Worshipping at the altar of Almighty Dainton*

January 17, 2008

Vs. No. 11 Boston College 7 p.m. Friday at Tsongas Arena – Officials TBA
Vs. No. 10 UMass – 7 p.m. Saturday at Tsongas Arena – Officials TBA

All-time head-to-head: BC leads UML 49-26-6; UML leads UMass 25-20-4

Lowell in fourth in Hockey East with 14 points from 14 games. Boston College is in third place in Hockey East with 16 points from 13 games. UMass is sixth in Hockey East with 12 points from 12 games.

Last three games
Lowell: 3-2 (ot) vs. Providence, 3-4 (ot) at Providence, 6-0 vs. Maine (neutral site)
Boston College: 5-2 vs. Vermont, 4-1 vs. Vermont, 2-4 at No. 12 Clarkson
UMass: 3-5 at No. 8 New Hampshire, 2-3 vs. No. 8 New Hampshire, 5-4 (ot) vs. No. 4 Colorado College (neutral site)

Prior meetings
Vs. BC: Lowell fell to BC 4-3 at home on Feb. 24, 2007 thanks to a pair of goals by the Eagles’ Brock Bradford. Ben Holmstrom posted a 3-point night and both Mark Roebothan and Kory Falite scored for the River Hawks as well. Nevin Hamilton gave up four goals on 14 shots before getting yanked midway through the second period.

Vs. UMass: Lowell drew UMass 3-3 on Nov. 10 at the Tsongas Arena. Kory Falite scored twice for Lowell

Season series
Lowell and BC have yet to meet in 2007-08.
Lowell and UMass are 0-0-2. Both teams have scored five goals over those two games.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Mark Roebothan – 19 GP, 10-8-18 (14 GP, 8-4-12 HE)
Mike Potacco – 19, 6-10-16 (14, 3-9-12 HE)
Scott Campbell – 19, 6-7-13 (14, 4-5-9 HE)
Chris Auger – 19, 4-9-13 (14, 2-6-8 HE)
Kory Falite – 19, 7-5-12 (14, 6-3-9 HE)

Boston College:
Nate Gerbe – 19 GP, 18-16-34 (12 GP, 10-9-19 HE)
Joe Whitney – 20, 5-22-27 (13, 3-12-15 HE)
Benn Ferreiro – 20, 7-17-24 (23, 2-9-11 HE)
Ben Smith – 20, 13-10-23 (13, 8-7-15 HE)
Dan Bertam – 19, 4-12-16 (12, 0-8-8 HE)

UMass:
James Marcou – 19 GP, 4-15-19 (12 GP, 3-9-12 HE)
Cory Quirk, 19, 7-7-14 (12, 4-2-6)
P.J. Fenton – 19, 4-10-14 (12, 3-5-8)
Justin Braun – 19, 4-9-13 (12, 1-7-8)
Chris Davis – 19, 2-11-3 (12, 0-8-8)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Carter Hutton (3-2-2) – 7 GP, 430:24 minutes, 1.53 GAA/.943 sv% (5 GP, 310:24, 1.93 GAA/.934 sv% HE)
Nevin Hamilton (6-3-2) – 11, 671:27, 2.50/.920 (9, 551:32, 2.72/.917 HE)

Boston College:
John Muse (10-5-5) – 20 GP, 1,204 minutes, 2.19 GAA/.922 sv% (13 GP, 803:25, 2.32 GAA/.916 sv% HE)

UMass:
Paul Dainton* (7-4-5) – 16 GP, 985:20 minutes, 2.37 GAA/.918 sv% (11 GP, 677:32, 2.39 GAA/.191 sv% HE)
Dan Meyers (2-1-0) – 3, 178:48, 2.01/.929 (1, 58:48, 3.06/.914 HE)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (19 games), 59 goals for (3.11/g), 42 against (2.21/g). Power play 10/75 (13.3%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 64/72 (88.9%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (14 games), 39 goals for (2.79/g), 37 against (2.64/g). Power play 6/55 (10.9%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 39/46 (84.8%, 0 SHGF)

Boston College:
Overall (20 games), 75 goals for (3.75/g), 44 against (2.20/g). Power play 27/105 (25.7%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 91/106 (85.8, 5 SHGF)
Hockey East (13 games), 45 goals for (3.46/g), 31 against (2.38/g). Power play 17/68 (25.0%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 58/70 (82.9%, 4 SHGF)

UMass:
Overall (19 games), 56 goals for (2.95/g), 46 against (2.42/g). Power play 18/95 (18.9%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 68/81 (84.0, 2 SHGF)
Hockey East (12 games), 34 goals for (2.83/g), 31 against (2.58/g). Power play 10/64 (15.6%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 45/54 (83.3%, 1 SHGF)

Outlook:
This weekend could be a very pleasant surprise or a big-time reality check.

Lowell comes into the weekend at No. 15 in the country, having split with unranked Providence last weekend. Meanwhile, high-powered offense has the No. 11 Boston College Eagles soaring. Nate Gerbe is the kind of player that gives even the stoutest of defensemen night terrors (his 1.79 points per game is tops in the country), and with Brock Bradford (three goals in three games) returning from injury last weekend, things are probably only going to get better.

In net, BC will rely heavily upon John Muse, as they have all season. Coach Jerry York has leaned so much on Muse, in fact, that no one else on the Eagles has had a solitary second in the crease. And why should they have? The freshman keeper has shined, posting 2.19/.922 and a 10-5-5 record in BC’s 20 games.

BC’s special teams units are shockingly not that great. Yeah, their power play is running at 25 percent, but even that is play surprisingly pedestrian compared to its apparent capabilities. One thing the Eagles do well, though, is draw penalties, with 105 power plays in just 20 games this year. Thankfully, Lowell commits the third-fewest penalties per game in the nation, and, despite having relatively little experience shorthanded, Lowell’s PK is eighth-best nationally.

The Eagles impressively swept Vermont last weekend, and if the offense continues its winning ways, Lowell will be in for a long Friday night.

UMass is a different story. They dropped two games to New Hampshire as horrifically as they dropped in the polls (fifth to 10th? Ouch). Most of their team stats are decidedly middle-of-the-road, and their play in Hockey East has been a little shaky. Shouldn’t a top-10 team be pulling more than a point per game out of its Hockey East schedule?

Still, though, UMass will always play Lowell tough, as evidenced by a pair of draws earlier this year. Luckily, Lowell’s offense seems to finally be clicking, scoring three goals or more in each of its last seven games, during which Lowell has gone 6-1.

It could be too much to handle for the reeling Minutemen, but one gets the feeling coach Toot Cahoon will have his boys, led by freshmen James Marcou (forward) and Paul Dainton* (goalie), out for blood. This is especially true if they lose to Providence on Friday (entirely probable).

*Denotes best goalie ever.

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