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Weekend in review: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz

February 26, 2008

That sound that you heard rushing by Lowell this weekend was one hell of a big opportunity.

While Lowell was busying itself pathetically losing to a sub-.500 team twice in a row, the rest of the league was doing everything in its power to vault the River Hawks back into the driver’s seat headed into the season’s final two weeks.

Boston University continued laying its late-season opposition to waste, sweeping Northeastern in impressive fashion to move to a tie for second place in the league. That’s right. BU: second place. The Terriers have won each of their last six games by a combined score of 24-13. So much for shaky goaltending; the Terriers are cruising right now.

Northeastern (1-4 in its last five), of course, will limp into a home-and-home with Lowell this weekend that will certainly test both teams’ steely resolve to not win. That series will be truly Newtonian in its ability to decide which team will fall faster when dropped from a home ice spot.

The River Hawks’ local rival, Merrimack, did them a HUGE favor in sweeping Providence. Repeat: Merrimack swept Providence. No, seriously, the Warriors took four points from the Friars. Really. Merrimack.

Maine, too, earned a sweep, punking out UMass to at long last put the Minutemen below .500, where we told you they’d end up months ago. UMass, you’ll recall, was the closest thing below Lowell, so it was fortunate that they were kept a solid three points back.

Elsewhere, UNH nonchalantly swept BC to capture the Hockey East regular season title for what feels like the 50th time in a row.

Here, then, was a huge chance for Lowell to jump ahead of not one or two, but THREE teams ahead of it in the standings. Northeastern and Providence were swept and only Vermont stood in the way of a home ice slot for Lowell and… hell, we don’t know any more. What can we say? That was as demoralizing a weekend as we’ve seen in a while when taken on its own. With all this help? That’s not just kicking Lowell when it’s down, that’s shooting it in the kneecap.

Our Weekly Awards
Player of the Week:
Andrew Braithwaite, Merrimack (sophomore goalie) – Where did this kid come from? He stopped 89 of 91 shots from the Providence assault and posted a shutout this weekend and kept his Warriors in two games where, by all accounts, they were hopelessly outpossessed. If Merrimack makes the playoffs, this kid is the reason why. He’s phenomenal.
(Honorable mention: Boomer Ewing, BU; Kevin Regan, UNH)

Rookie of the Week:
Andrew Sweetland, Maine (freshman forward) – This particular Andrew also did his best to singlehandedly keep his team’s playoff hopes afloat, netting two goals and two assists in the sweep of UMass. Not that beating UMass is any kind of big deal or anything.
(Honorable mention: Danny Dries, UNH)

Ham-n-eggers of the Weak:
Providence College – What was that, Friars. Are you guys serious? You outshoot Merrimack 142-62 in three games this year and come out with a 1-1 tie, 0-2 loss and 2-3 loss? How is that possible? Braithwaite’s save percentage was .979! On 142 shots! We don’t know whether that’s pathetic or an outstanding accomplishment. THREE goals on 142 shots?! How do you not beat Merrimack? What the hell? You’re nationally ranked!
(Dishonorable mention: UMass Lowell, again)

Permanent Tomato Cans:
Maine Black Bears (10-15-3, 2-0 this weekend)
Vermont Catamounts (11-10-7, 2-0 this weekend)
UMass Minutemen (11-12-6, 0-2 this weekend)
(we’re keeping Vermont here because they didn’t show us a thing)

National Poll

Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Michigan (35) 26- 4-4 963 1
2 North Dakota (10) 21- 8-2 931 2
3 New Hampshire* ( 5) 21- 7-2 899 3
4 Colorado College 23- 8-1 862 4
5 Miami 27- 6-1 821 5
6 Michigan State 21- 9-5 737 6
7 Denver 21-10-1 693 8
8 Boston College* 16- 9-7 614 7
9 Minnesota State 16-11-4 561 11
10 Clarkson 18-10-4 542 12
11 Notre Dame 21-11-4 505 9
12 St. Cloud State 16-13-3 417 16
13 Wisconsin 14-13-7 410 10
14 Princeton 17-10-0 383 17
15 Minnesota-Duluth* 12-12-6 293 13
16 Boston University* 14-14-4 163 NR
17 Minnesota 13-13-8 147 NR
18 Northeastern* 14-13-3 115 14
19 Providence* 13-13-4 101 14
20 Harvard 13-11-3 96 NR
Others Receiving Votes: Quinnipiac 54, Vermont* 50, Niagara 39, Cornell* 30, Union 27, Air Force 11, Mass.-Lowell 11, Michigan Tech 8, Army 6, Bemidji State 5, RIT 4, Bowling Green 1, Ferris State 1

*2007-08 Lowell opponent

Hockey East Weekly Awards
Player of the Week: Boomer Ewing, BU; Kevin Regan, UNH
Rookie of the Week: Andrew Sweetland
Defensive Player of the Week: Andrew Braithwaite, Merrimack
Honor roll: Ben Bishop, Maine; Nick Bonino, BU; Wes Clark, Maine; Danny Dries, UNH; Joe Fallon, UVM; Matt Fornataro, UNH; Chris Higgins, BU; Ben Holmstrom, UML; Matt Kostka, UMass; Pete MacArthur, BU; Rob Ricci, Merrimack; Slavomir Tomko, UVM; Brandon Yip, BU

Weekend results (home team bolded)
Vermont 3, Lowell 2
BU 7, Northeastern 4
Merrimack 2, Providence 0
UNH 2, BC 0

Maine 3, UMass 2
Vermont 1, Lowell 0
BU 3, Northeastern 2
UNH 5, BC 1
Merrimack 3, Providence 2

Maine 5, UMass 4 (ot)

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