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Loose Pucks: Feeling real good about ourselves

January 22, 2008

Three things we can really get behind:
1) The River Hawks proving, yet again, who the better UMass is.
(A clue: Lowell)

2) The WCHA coming to town. The River Hawks haven’t played a western team at home since 1989. Minnesota-Duluth is fourth in the WCHA and ranked No. 19 in the country, and will pose a sizeable challenge for Lowell in two games with national implications. Hot dog!

3) How about the fact that over 9,000 people watched UML hockey games in Lowell this weekend? The ‘Hawks sold out the everything but the tarped-over seats and then some on Friday against BC and put 4,000+ through the door against UMass. Granted, the BC numbers were due to the fact that a ton of Eagles fans showed up, but that UMass game was almost entirely pro-Lowell.

Good to see the marketing department finally getting itself in gear over halfway through the year. Hopefully this kind of thing will continue through the Duluth series into the rest of the Hockey East schedule.

Two things we’d prefer that no one got behind:
1) Marginalizing the students… again.

The University, fearing a poor student turn out, made student section tickets available to the general public. The result? A Blue Fan Group section saturated with mouthbreathing Boston College fans and a definite drop in the usual student atmosphere. Additionally, the powers that be never reverted the new student section to general admission, like Section N before it. This caused tempers to flare and many a seat change right before the puck dropped, because the Boston College fans were demanding to sit the seats on their tickets.

Hopefully the University looks into this situation and corrects it before those clowns from Maine pack up their farm equipment early and head on down to the Tsongas Arena like the opening credits of the Beverly Hillbillies.

2) Injuries.

Just when everyone was getting back healthy, Mike Potacco, who had been playing well of late, goes and messes up his shoulder in practice. He’ll be out for a while, but now look what happens: the newly-returned Steve Capraro, who should be on the third pairing, plays the wing on the fourth line against Amherst. Capraro did an admirable job up front, almost setting up what would have been a pretty goal in the first period, but it’s not where he’s needed or where he excels.

More Capraro is a good thing, certainly, but the continued thinness on defense is not. We’d much rather take our chances with Cappy at the blue line and Tommy Powers on the fourth line (if it comes to that) than see any more goals like Brian Gibbons’ game-winner on Friday.

Hopefully Potacco can come back soon. In the 10 games they were grouped together, the so-called CPR line — Scott Campbell running the pivot between Potacco and Mark Roebothan — scored 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 total points, and the River Hawks went 8-2 in that span.

Stat of the Week
Incredible as it may sound, Kory Falite has one more goal (19) than did — strap in for this one — Ben Walter (18) in the first 55 games of their respective college careers. We’re not saying the Billerica product is the next Walter (or are we?), but it’s something to think about. Snipers like that are hard to come by, and we’re just happy to have Falite on our side.

A sure sign of the apocalypse
Maine and Vermont, seemingly left for dead this season, both enjoyed seeing how the other half lives this past weekend, and we don’t mean indoor plumbing. Maine shutting out a streaky Providence squad isn’t the biggest surprise of the year, but the limp Catamounts taking three out of four from former conference frontrunners Northeastern made us blink.

Is this the turning point for these two hapless squads, or merely a moment of brilliance in an otherwise depressing season? Only time will tell, but we hope it’s the latter.

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