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Friday thoughts: I thought we’d take care of it right here… in Brainerd.

January 26, 2008

That was honestly one of the more frustrating games in quite some time out of Lowell.

The ‘Hawks didn’t capitalize on their chances, they couldn’t get one lousy goal for Carter Hutton, and they were shut out for the first time this season in a pretty drab affair against Minnesota-Duluth, 1-0. Interestingly (to us anyway), that was just the second 1-0 loss Lowell has suffered in the history of the program in either Division 1 or 2. The other was to Alaska-Anchorage at the beginning of the 2003-04 season.

The game Lowell played was reminiscent of the UMass game last weekend, though the boys played like the Minutemen. They created one decent chance five-on-five, more or less, when Jeremy Dehner ripped a shot from the point in the dying minutes of the third period. The rebound came right to Kory Falite, who’s been hot of late, and Falite promptly fanned on it at least three times. So much for that. Other than that, Lowell’s offense had no flow whatsoever at even strength, a sputtering breakout, and a power play that was simply average overall.

The play man-advantage, while troubling, was mediocre to begin with, and Duluth is actually better at killing penalties this year than is Lowell, which is no small feat. However, Lowell had 14 minutes of power play time and had just a handful of Grade-A chances, the best of which saw Ben Holmstrom put the puck wide of an open net.

The real story of the game was goaltending, as you’d expect in a 1-0 game. Both Alex Stalock (26 saves) and Carter Hutton (20) shined, each making a few how-did-that-not-go-in stops.

Hutton made the save of the game, stoning Jordan Fulton on a breakaway late in the third period. Fulton had deked and cut to his forehand, and it appeared as though he had tucked the puck behind Hutton’s left pad, but Hutts miraculously got a toe on it and kicked it out. We still have no idea how.

Stalock’s best of the night was reserved for a shot by Kelly Sullivan midway through the second period. Though Stalock was lying on his side and there was a scrum in front of the net, he raised his leg just slightly and got his pad in the way of an absolute rocket from the slot.

For most of the game, Lowell was largely non-threatening, despite being given seven (that’s SEVEN) powerplay opportunities by a fairly undisciplined Duluth team. The penalties they took, too, were largely careless, reckless or both. Two for hitting from behind, a needless trip along the boards and (our favorite) Jay Cascalenda just punching a Lowell forward in the face at the side of the net when the puck was in the opposite corner.

Our hats are off to Cascalenda, who went to the box three times in the game for three stupid penalties. That’s some fine goddamn work out there.

Lowell basically rolled two scoring lines and two grinding lines without him. Though Jonathan Maniff started the game on the third line, he got bumped to the Roebothan-Campbell line, replacing Jason DeLuca. After that, Lowell’s third and fourth lines were Capraro-Schaser-DeLuca and Stegnar-Monroe-Bartelson. No team’s going to score a lot with those six forwards playing 40 percent of the game. Hopefully Chris Auger is reinserted into the lineup tonight. He was pulled for his uninspired play of late.

Here’s hoping the ‘Hawks can play well enough to salvage a split tonight. Otherwise, they’ll have dropped four of their last six, and that’s no good for anybody.

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