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Friday thoughts: Welp

March 8, 2008

That’s too bad.

From the sound of things (we’re going up to Orono for just tonight’s game), Lowell had an advantage territorially, on the shot chart, and as far as better play went, but still lost 4-1. The day they demolish Alfond Arena can’t come soon enough. Want to know how ugly it was for Lowell tonight? Simon Danis-Pepin had an even +/- rating. There isn’t a universe in which that should be allowed to take place.

It seemed as though the difference in the game was similar to last week’s: when Lowell made a mistake, Maine capitalized. When Maine made mistakes, Lowell didn’t capitalize on them. Simple as that.

Lowell jumped out to an early lead thanks to Kory Falite’s 16th goal of the year (wow!) at 6:36, but Maine answered on the power play inside of a minute to go in the period. Goals like that are backbreakers, usually, and this was the case last night. If a team, any team, can’t keep the puck out of its own net to head into the dressing room up by one instead of tied, it’s likely not going to be that team’s night.

From the sound of things, the game really began to turn in Maine’s favor on a Lowell power play early in the second period. Bret Tyler went off for a roughing call and Maine, for whatever reason, started creating chances left and right and generally accomplishing two things: waking the crowd up and killing whatever energy Lowell had at the time. That was all they really needed.

What came next was what we feared more than what we expected. Given the way things had been going, we at least had hope that Lowell could pull one out in Orono, but Jeffrey Marshall scored at 15:42 of the second period and the game was academic. Lowell, for all its resiliency this year, still isn’t strong enough to get back into a game in Orono.

Bret Tyler and Rob Bellamy added third-period goals, the first beating Carter Hutton (21 saves), and the second into an empty net.

The good news? The pressure’s off Lowell tonight, even though literally everything the ‘Hawks needed to happen to keep home ice hopes alive did (excepting, of course, for this game). Whatever happens tonight only matters in terms of where Lowell will go for the quarterfinals, but even then, so little has been determined that they could go anywhere from BU (which clinched second last night despite an awful first 3/4 year) to Vermont (which needs points from UNH tonight to clinch third). BC is also a possible destination if they beat Northeastern and some things break their way.

Now the bad news: Maine is still fighting to stay in the playoff picture. A UMass win over Merrimack last night bounced the Warriors, but now they will be looking to return the favor against the Minutemen tonight. Maine is two points back of UMass and hold the tiebreaker, so a Maine win and UMass loss puts Maine in the playoffs.

We don’t like a lot of things. We don’t like that Maine has something very important to play for tonight. We don’t like that the game to decide something big is at Alfond. We don’t like that we’re going to Orono.

What we would like is to end Maine’s season and walk out of stupid Alfond Arena with a smug “Have a nice summer” to every hayseed we see.

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