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Three things we like:
1. Beating Maine.
We don’t think we can express just how good it feels to finally get one (well, two really) over on the Black Bears. To put it in perspective, Friday’s win over those punks from Orono was just the second home win for Lowell against Maine since 1990 (think about that). It’s mind-boggling, but the tide seems to be turning. In two games against Maine this season, Lowell has outscored the Black Bears 9-2. Two games remain at Maine during the last weekend of the regular season, and we can’t wait to get a big W at the cesspool that is Alfond Arena.
2. Contract extensions.
Our heartiest congratulations to Blaise MacDonald on his four-year extension. The new deal will keep MacDonald behind the Lowell bench till the 2012 season, and we’re thrilled. No one thought Lowell would be in the position in which they currently find themselves, especially with such a young squad. Great job coach, keep up the good work.
3. The experience that is watching Nate Gerbe play hockey.
Watching the Beanpot last night, we got to wondering if there has been a better offensive player in Hockey East in the past 10 years? We submit that there has not. Kid scored two goals in a very big game (basically a free pass to the Beanpot title), and has 21 goals and 18 assists in 25 games this year and 103 points in as many career games. Literally every time this kid touches the puck, he’s a threat to score. We consider his two points against Lowell a few weeks ago successful, because at least he didn’t pop one in.
We understand that the kid gets a bum rap from various naysayers because of his perceived cheap play, but his penalty minutes per game is on the decline this year.
Oh yeah, and he’s only a junior.
Two things we’re not thrilled with:
1. Sunday games.
Sunday games scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday games scheduled for 4 p.m. opposite the Super Bowl. Sunday games scheduled for 4 p.m. opposite the Super Bowl after playing a physical game on Friday night and sitting around all day Saturday. See where we’re going with this?
The scheduling for the UML-UVM game was horrible. UNH had to go to UVM on Friday night and got the rest of the weekend off. Still, the River Hawks played a just-okay game and lost by a goal. We’ll see how this series shapes up when the Catamounts come to Lowell for a pair, where they are a blistering 0-2-1 since joining Hockey East.
2. BU coming off a loss in the Beanpot.
Yes, they could come out dejected that they lost what is basically their tournament. But we think ol’ Jackie Parker will have the boys fired up and ready to fight tooth and nail for the two points on Friday. Which team will show up? The one who dogged the River Hawks from 3-1 down for a 7-5 win, or the team that jumped out to an early lead at the Tsongas, only to get pounded by Lowell the rest of the game in a 4-3 loss? We hope the latter, but fear the former.
Stat of the week
Lowell’s second victory over Maine this season broke a 22-year streak in which the River Hawks hadn’t beaten Maine twice in a season. Lowell last did it in 1985-86, not including forfeits. Good riddance.
Just when we thought things were making sense
Hockey East is beyond crazy this year, we know. Even when it looks like teams are separating themselves from the pack they slip up. While UNH took care of business against UVM, Providence College struggled with a pathetic Merrimack team after upsetting BC. Lowell gets the Maine monkey off their back, and then lays an egg to a fairly unimpressive Vermont team.
There are five weeks left in the regular season, and right now every team could place anywhere between first and last (this is mathematically true, look it up). That’s pretty difficult to wrap one’s head around.