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Weekend preview: Who knows?

November 14, 2008

Lowell River Hawks (3-4-0, 1-2-0 HE) vs. No. 6 UNH Wildcats (4-2-3, 2-0-2 HE) and at No. 20 UMass Amherst Minutemen (4-2-1, 2-1-1 HE)

vs. UNH 7 p.m. Friday at Tsongas Arena, Lowell, Mass.
at UMass Amherst 7 p.m. Saturday at Mullins Center, Amherst, Mass.

All-time head-to-head Lowell trails 28-48-14 and leads UMass 28-18-6

Lowell is eighth in Hockey East with two points from three games, UNH is third with six points from four games, and UMass Amherst is fifth with five points from four games.

Prior meetings
Lowell has not played either team this year.

Season series
Lowell has not played either team this year.

Top scorers
David Vallorani — 7 GP, 1-5-6 (3 GP, 1-2-3 HE)
Kory Falite — 7, 3-2-5 (3, 0-0-0)
Ben Holmstrom — 7, 2-2-4 (3, 1-0-1)
Scott Campbell — 7, 2-2-4 (3, 1-0-1)
Maury Edwards — 7, 2-2-4 (3, 1-1-2)

New Hampshire:
James van Riemsdyk — 9 GP, 5-5-10 (4 GP, 3-2-5 HE)
Peter LeBlanc — 9, 4-2-6 (4, 1-2-3)
Phil DeSimone — 9, 4-2-6 (4, 2-0-2)
Danny Dries — 7, 1-4-5 (3, 0-0-0)
Bobby Butler — 9, 1-3-4 (4, 1-2-3)

UMass Amherst:
James Marcou — 7 GP, 5-6-11 (4 GP, 3-5-8 HE)
Alex Berry — 7, 2-7-9 (4, 2-4-6)
Cory Quirk — 7, 1-7-8 (4, 1-4-5)
Chase Langeraap — 5, 2-3-5 (4, 2-1-3)
Justin Braun — 7, 1-4-5 (4, 1-3-4)

Carter Hutton (2-2-0) — 5 GP, 278:39 minutes, 1.51 GAA/.940 sv% (2 GP, 100:00 minutes, 1.80 GAA/.939 sv% HE)
T.J. Massie (1-1-0) — 2, 79:44, 3.76/.875 (1, 19:52, 12.08/.667)
Nevil Hamilton (0-1-0) — 1, 58:40, 3.07/.842 (same HE)

New Hampshire:
Brian Foster (4-2-2) — 8 GP, 488:05 minutes, 2.09 GAA/.934 sv% (3 GP, 185:00 minutes, 1.30 GAA/.960 sv% HE)
Matt DiGirolamo (0-0-1) — 1, 64:51, 1.85/.917 (same HE)

UMass Amherst:
Dan Meyers (2-1-1) — 5 GP, 266:29 minutes, 2.25 GAA/.923 sv% (2 GP, 87:08 minutes, 3.44 GAA/.894 sv% HE)
Paul Dainton* (2-1-0) — 3, 157:31, 1.14/.951 (same HE)

Team stats
Overall (7 games) — 18 goals for (2.57/gm), 15 goals against (2.14/gm). Power play 7/43 (16.3%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 29/35 (82.9%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (3 games) — 9 GF (3.00/gm), 10 GA (3.33/gm). Power play 3/16 (18.8%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 14/17 (82.4%, 0 SHGF)

New Hampshire:
Overall (9 games) — 20 goals for (2.22/gm), 19 goals against (2.11/gm). Power play 5/61 (8.2%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 53/64 (82.8%, 1 SHGF)
Hockey East (4 games) — 9 GF (2.25/gm), 6 GA (1.50/gm). 3/29 (10.3%, 0 SHGA), 23/28 (82.1%, 1 SHGF)

UMass Amherst:
Overall (7 games) — 26 goals for (3.71/gm), 14 goals against (2.00/gm). Power play 8/37 (21.6%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 31/33 (93.9%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (4 games) — 16 GF (4.00/gm), 9 GA (2.25/gm). Power play (5/23, 21.7%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 22/22 (100.0%, 0 SHGF)

This is a weekend shrouded in mystery, near as we can tell.

All three teams are coming off disappointing losses on Saturday in which Lowell was there in body only against Vermont, UNH choked big-time against the Gophers (who would’ve guessed?) and UMass Amherst was handed a not-so-delicious lunch by Merrimack.

The difference is that both UNH and Amherst come in with their No. 1 goalies, and Lowell does not, and that creates a situation that’s difficult to predict at best.

One has to assume that Nevin Hamilton gets the start tonight against UNH. It would be hard to argue in favor of a start from T.J. Massie against the Wildcats after his 4-goals-on-12-shots performance last weekend in the final 20 minutes of the BU game, especially not with the skill UNH brings on every line. Hamilton, too, has history on his side with UNH, posting a 2.52/.932 in two career games against the Wildcats. Both games were in the weekend split last year where Hamilton posted a 3-2 loss at the Whitt in which he made 38 saves, and a 3-2 win the following night at home in which he made 30.

Same goes for UMass Amherst, a favorite foe of Hamilton’s. Six games, 2-1-2, 2.43/.906. That’s solid. But does Lowell come in looking to split the goaltending duties to see what each provides? Does it give the nod to Hamilton due to his historical success against the Minutemen? Tough to say and thus tough to make a call as to how these games, the results of which, we suspect, will largely be predicated upon Lowell’s goaltending.

For right now, we’d prefer Lowell not chance it with Massie. His confidence has to be a little bruised after that third period against BU, and UNH, for all their offensive mediocrity so far this season, is still UN f’n H led by James van f’n Riemsdyk. And UMass Amherst, oddly, is scoring goals by the barrel. The Minutemen have scored 16 goals in just four conference games (and sure, 14 of those were against Providence, but the point remains) and thus can surely unleash a maelstrom of scoring opportunities the likes of which are rarely seen out of UMass Amherst squads. The Minuteman defense, too, has been very good, and in fact has not allowed a power play goal in Hockey East this season. But depending upon how a Friday date with top-ranked BU, which Lowell has proven it can skate with, shakes out, the Minutemen could either be shellshocked or emboldened and we think the results of that game will have a bearing on Saturday’s tilt. Let’s keep in mind, too, that UMass Amherst’s Hockey East opponents so far this year have been UNH (1-1 draw), Providence (wins of 9-4 and 5-1) and Merrimack (3-1 loss, haha). Can’t be especially encouraging to know that’s their preparation for the BU team we saw last week.

To win either of these games, Lowell will need the continued production from the CPR and the first line absolutely HAS TO show up and play big games both nights. It’s also important to open up a lead on both teams, obviously. Lowell did it against BU and for the most part carried play for the vast majority of the night (we feel UNH and BU are reasonable comparables in the skill department), and we consider UMass Amherst to be a team that’s a lot like the Vermont team we saw last weekend that will sit on any lead it can possibly get.

What we want here is a two-point weekend, but, once again, if Lowell manages any points Friday, then you can put Saturday down as a must-win.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jay permalink
    November 15, 2008 3:34 pm

    Great win against UNH on friday night. A solid ass kicking.

    Only problem is they left too many good opportunities for UNH, luckily Hamilton played well and UNH was unable to capitalize.

    Should be a fun one out in cow country tonight.

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