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Weekend in review: Still trying to wrap our heads around that one

February 11, 2008

Well now we’re all caught up. Everyone in the league has played 19 games, and we can very clearly see where each team stands with a mere eight games left to the season.

Lowell, it appears, is not in good shape after that loss to BC. What once looked like a promising bid for a surprise home ice spot has degenerated into a desperate attempt to not play BC or UNH in the first round of the playoffs. The going is hard, shocking though it may be to those of you who are unaccustomed to the difficulty Lowell often goes through late in the season.

The River Hawks are seventh in Hockey East with 18 points from 19 games. They are three points up on UMass (which lost to BC Friday, 4-1), and one point back of BU and Vermont (which split with Providence this weekend).

The problem is three-fold:
1) On Friday and Saturday, the Terriers will host the ninth-place Black Bears, who were swept by UNH this past weekend, then take on the Huskies (who they tied 2-2 earlier this year), the eighth-place Minutemen (who they lost to 5-3), then Providence (which they beat 5-2). BU can likely earn at least eight points from this.

2) UVM hosts the two teams that are currently out of the playoffs (Maine and Merrimack, a likley 6-8 points) and visits the seventh-place team (a spiraling UML). The only weekend in which they are unlikely to gain points is the last one of the season, when they have a pair of games in Durham.

3) Lowell has two games with BC, and they’ll be lucky to manage one point. In two at home against UVM, a split seems possible, same for the two with Northeastern. The real question mark is the weekend in Orono to close out the season. Who knows how the River Hawks will fare at Alfond, where they haven’t won since 2000? Yes, they’ve beaten Maine twice this year, but neither of those places was within four hours of the unfriendly confines of Alfond Arena. This worries us greatly.

All things considered, clawing their way back into fifth or sixth place is certainly in the River Hawks’ best interests. Durham and Chestnut Hill are typically two places where playoff dreams and NCAA aspirations go to die.

We’re really holding out hope and suspending disbelief at this point. Our dear ‘Hawks are 3-6 since coming back from break and perilously close to yet another disheartening two-and-out.

Our Weekly Awards
Player of the Week:
Nate Gerbe, Boston College (junior forward) – Gerbe Baker, as he’s been so astutely dubbed, scored three goals and three assists in two games. He scored the game-tying goal and the game winner against BU in the Beanpot, then posted a goal and three assists against UMass. Kid wasn’t joking this week.
(Honorable mention: Mike Rajda, UNH; Brandon Yip, BU)

Rookie of the Week:
Colin Wilson, Boston Univesity (freshman forward) – We got to see Wilson kick Lowell’s teeth in live and in person, and was it ever impressively gruesome. Three points right in front of our horrified faces will win you this award most weeks.
(Honorable mention: John Muse, BC; Wade MacLeod, NU)

Ham-n-Egger(s) of the Weak:
Ben Bishop, Maine (junior goalie) – Every week, we’re given another reason to cheer Ben Bishop’s mere existence. This week, he bailed us out from putting the entire UMass Lowell team as the Ham-n-Eggers of the Weak for the second Monday in a row. Seven goals against in two games against UNH? Lowell only gave up one more than that in three. Tee hee.
(Dishonorable mention: UMass Lowell’s entire team)

Permanent Tomato Cans:
Maine Black Bears (8-13-3, 0-2 this weekend)
Vermont Catamounts (7-10-7, 1-1 this weekend)
UMass Minutemen (9-9-6, 0-1 this weekend)

National Poll

Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Michigan (48) 23- 3-4 995 2
2 Miami 25- 4-1 939 1
3 North Dakota 17- 8-2 875 3
4 New Hampshire* ( 2) 18- 7-1 854 5
5 Colorado College 21- 8-1 813 4
6 Denver 19- 8-1 747 7
7 Boston College* 14- 6-7 685 9
8 Michigan State 18- 8-5 634 6
9 Notre Dame 20-10-2 536 8
10 Wisconsin 13-11-6 493 11
11 Clarkson 16- 9-3 477 13
12 Minnesota-Duluth* 11- 9-6 475 10
13 Minnesota State 15-10-4 403 15
14 Providence* 13-10-3 333 12
15 Northeastern* 13- 9-3 298 14
16 Quinnipiac 17- 7-4 296 16
17 Princeton 14- 9-0 233 19
18 Mass.-Lowell 12-10-4 103 17
19 St. Cloud State 12-13-3 96 NR
20 Niagara 16- 8-3 67 NR
Others Receiving Votes: Massachusetts* 48, Minnesota 40, Union 14, Michigan Tech 13, Bemidji State 10, Nebraska-Omaha 8, RIT 7, Cornell* 3, Air Force 2, Army 1, Bowling Green 1, Harvard 1

Hockey East Weekly Awards
Player of the Week: Nate Gerbe, BC/Mike Rajda, UNH
Rookie of the Week: Kevin Shattenkirk, BU
Defensive Player of the Week: Kevin Regan, UNH
Honor roll: John Cavanagh, PC; Jack Downing, UVM; Joe Fallon, UVM; Brian Gibbons, BC; Ryan Ginand, NU; Ben Holmstrom, UML; Matt Jones, MC; Wade MacLeod, NU; John Muse, BC; Jon Rheault, PC; Andrew Sweetland, Maine; Colin Wilson, BU; Brandon Yip, BU

Weekend results (home team bolded)
First Beanpot Monday
BC 4, BU 3 (ot)
Harvard 3, Northeastern 1

BU 6, UMass Lowell 2
BC 4, UMass 1
Vermont 2, Providence 1
Northeastern 4, Merrimack 2
UNH 3, Maine 2

UNH 4, Maine 1
Providence 4, Vermont 3 (ot)

Second Beanpot Monday
BU v. Northeastern, 4 p.m.
BC v. Harvard, 8 p.m.

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