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Loose pucks: Forget-Me-Now

November 12, 2008

We’re going to change things around a little bit here today. We racked our brains trying to think of three things to be happy about and came well short.

One thing we’re cheering about:
1) The first two periods against BU.

One rockhead penalty that led to a BU power play goal late in the second period aside, Lowell played BU perfectly for 40 minutes on Friday and had just about everyone in the building believing that the River Hawks were just 1,200 seconds away from knocking off the No. 3 team in the country with relative ease. Carter Hutton was playing well and all four forward lines were clicking very well together and so were the three defensive pairings. Lowell joined UNH as the only team to hold a lead over BU for any amount of time this season, so that’s very encouraging.

Three things we’re grumbling about:
1) The third period against BU.

We understand there were extenuating circumstances, but Lowell had that game in the bag if it continued to play like it did the first two periods. The defense in front of T.J. Massie was just a gong show against Colin Wilson‘s line. Was it a situation where you can only hold back the dam so long before the pressure gets to be too much? There was a lot to like about that Friday game but the River Hawks’ play in final five minutes wasn’t one of them. The defense looked like a mid-level EJHL squad against grown men, and we know from two-plus years of experience that it’s so much better than that.

2) The entire Vermont game.

What a snoozefest, and what a well-deserved loss. Lowell’s even-strength play was pathetic, just as it was against Vermont at the Tsongas last year. We like the ‘Hawks’ chances of winning at the Gutt a lot better in Lowell. Because Lowell had trouble establishing its speed game against Vermont’s big defensemen, it never established any flow through the neutral zone. And yes, we will acknowledge that the power play did everything but put the puck in the net, but going 1 for 9 against a team that had a PK in the mid-70s headed into the game is totally unacceptable.

3) The Hutton injury.

The last thing we needed for sure. You knew Hutton was going to get hurt at some point this year because it always happens, and we’d rather see it in November than February. And, it’s important to note, we assign no blame here. But we were very sad to see it happen during a very winnable game and create a situation where a freshman with one game (against an awful Quinnipiac team) of college experience under his belt get thrown out there against a team that had scored 14 goals in their previous two games. That BU scored four times in that 20 minutes wasn’t surprising so much as it was undeserved. Lowell absolutely deserved better than to lose, and especially like that. One supposes we’ll see what Lowell, and Massie, AND Nevin Hamilton really has now. With games at home against UNH, Northeastern, Providence and RIT and at UMass and Merrimack, we think this is a good chance for Lowell to test its backups against some.. shall we say.. less imposing Hockey East and non-league opponents. We just hope Hutts can be back before the home-and-home with UNH on Dec. 5 and 6. Don’t wanna play all three games against the Wildcats with your backups.

Stat of the Week
It’s crazy, but BU led that game on Friday for all of 15 seconds. That’s it. The game was tied for another 13:24, and UML led for the entirety of the remaining 46:21. That’s over 75 percent of the game. It sucks losing games like that.

I’m still eatin’ at Fat Ammie’s
Once again we devote the space for miscellany to our beloved Lowell River Hawks men’s soccer program. They’re playing in the NCAA tournament against Molloy at the fabulous campus of Manchester, N.H. Southern New Hampshire University at 3 p.m. Take a day off from work and skip your Exploring the Universe quiz (or better yet have a friend circle the answers for you!) to go cheer on the ‘Hawks as they beat up on these Long Island pukes. We will judge you harshly if you don’t.

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