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Friday thoughts: Don’t believe the hype

November 8, 2008

BU’s comeback last night was remarkable, but it never should have happened.

This morning we read a lot of chatter about BU’s whole “good teams find a way to win” talk after the game, which is probably true enough. But when that way to win is simply one of the best goalies in Hockey East getting injured part of the way through the second period and being replaced by a freshman with all of one win under his belt, you’ll excuse us if we’re less than blown away by the vaunted Terriers of Boston University.

Put simply, what Jack Parker has on his hands is a one-line, one-pairing team. We’re happy to give Colin Wilson, Jason Lawrence, Chris Higgins, Matt Gilroy and Brian Strait tons of credit. Very good hockey players all — two of them are flat-out great — and the reason BU’s been so, so good to this point. But beyond that, we didn’t really see a lot to like about the Terriers.

When the top line and top pairing were on the ice, we spent their entire shift very nervous that something bad was about to happen. Not so with the Brandon Yip line, the Johnny McCarthy line, or the Luke Popko line. For all the talk of BU’s scoring depth, not one of those lines provided any actual menace with consistency, or indeed even semi-frenquency. And every time we saw big Eric Gryba lumber over the boards like Kevin Nash on skates, we were actually looking forward to his boneheaded plays turning into chances for Lowell. He did not disappoint.

That the No. 3 Terriers with their big-show offense, physical defense and competent goaltending came to Lowell and were lucky to baaaaaarely escaped with two points (and that, once again, by virtue only of injury) shows us two things: 1) BU’s mostly hype — and as a great man once said, “Hype is something that’s not for real,” and 2) Lowell squad is better than people give it credit for. Let’s not forget that before the meltdown with five minutes to go, Lowell was clearly carrying play in the third period.

Apart from BU’s top line, which is clearly the best in Hockey East and fully deserving of the boatload of postseason awards headed their way come March, the best troika of players on the ice was Lowell’s No. 2 group, the CPR line. Mike Potacco popped two greasy goals past the thoroughly pedestrian Kieran Millan, who got the win but really only made one or two difficult stops and gave up a pair of softies the likes of which haven’t been seen in Hockey East since the halcyon days of Matti Kaltiainen. Meanwhile, linemates Scott Campbell and Mark Roebothan had a pair of assists.

Lowell did everything it wanted to do and more, and were it not for Carter Hutton, who was solid (and that was all he really had to be) through two periods, spraining his ankle, the River Hawks should have had what many not in attendance would have considered a stunning victory. But bad things happen in hockey, and both Hutton’s injury T.J. Massie‘s play in the third period stood as shining examples of that. It’s hard to blame him, of course. You come into just your fourth period of college hockey against friggin’ Colin Wilson and Matt Gilroy, you’re gonna have a shaky start. Four goals on 12 shots is probably not where you want to be with your play.

One other problem Lowell had was that its top line, while okay, didn’t live up to its previous performances against the Terriers. Ben Holmstrom did a great job of agitating the hell out of Wilson, but the penalty he took that led to BU’s only goal on the previously-scary power play (1 for 3 on the night! Oh the might it showed!) was massively idiotic. Paul Worthington was very good at moving the puck tonight and the stop Millan made on his breakaway chance was a game-saver. But where was Kory Falite? No shots all night and a -2? That’s not what you want from last year’s leading goalscorer in Hockey East.

Maury Edwards, though, held up his end of the bargain, scoring his fifth goal in seven games against the Terriers with a wobbly wrist shot from the point that, unlike his typical point shot, had all the menance and speed of a feather caught in an updraft. No idea what Millan was thinking there. And congratulations are once again in order for David Vallorani, who picked up his first career goal.

This was a very good game for Lowell in all aspects but the final score. However, the ‘Hawks can’t afford to deal in moral victories, because relying on those means you lost. But either BU isn’t nearly as good as advertised no matter what points the pundits make to the contrary or Lowell is much better than expected by everyone except us. BU got lucky last night, and that’s the end of it.

The fact is Lowell is going to make a serious bid for home ice this year, and it starts tonight with a must-win game against Vermont. If Lowell plays anything like they did last night, Vermont, which coughed up a two-goal lead to an awful Providence team, is going to need therapy for post-traumatic stress.

One Comment leave one →
  1. warrior_man15 permalink
    November 10, 2008 4:06 am

    Really, after that you wanna say that that team had no scoring depth? Connolly had 2 assists, that 3rd line scored on UML twice. The second pair is also up near the top in HE scoring for d-men. I hope it was sarcasm. UML should have had that game, and no doubt it’s a huge weight to place on a young kid’s shoulders, but the defense was nowhere to be found on those goals either.

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