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Weekend preview: That’s no moon…

November 28, 2008

Lowell River Hawks (7-5-0, 5-3-0 HE) vs. the RIT Tigers (5-7-1, 4-3-1 Atlantic Hockey)

4 p.m. Saturday at Tsongas Arena, Lowell Mass.

All-time head-to-head Lowell leads 3-1-0, but the teams haven’t met since March 18, 1983

Lowell is fourth in Hockey East with 10 points from eight games and RIT is tied for second in Atlantic Hockey with nine points from eight games.

Last three games
Lowell — 3-1 at Merrimack, 3-4 vs. Northeastern, 6-1 vs. Providence
RIT — 5-4 at UConn, 1-2 at UConn, 6-3 vs. Army

Prior meetings
Lowell and RIT have not met this season.

Season series
Lowell and RIT have not met this season.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Kory Falite — 12 GP, 9-3-12 (8 GP, 6-1-7 HE)
Ben Holmstrom — 12, 2-9-11 (8, 1-7-8)
David Vallorani — 12, 2-9-11 (8, 2-6-8)
Maury Edwards — 12, 3-7-10 (8, 2-6-8)
Jeremy Dehner — 12, 0-9-9 (8, 0-6-6)

RIT:
Dan Ringwald — 13 GP, 1-12-13 (8 GP, 0-11-11 AH)
Tyler Brenner — 13, 6-4-10 (8, 3-4-7)
Brennan Sarazin — 13, 6-4-10 (8, 4-2-6)
Jesse Newman — 13, 4-5-9 (8, 2-5-7)
Cameron Burt — 13, 4-4-8 (8, 4-2-6)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Nevil Hamilton (4-2-0) — 6 GP, 356:46 minutes, 2.02 GAA/.929 sv% (same HE)
Carter Hutton (2-2-0) — 5, 278:39, 1.51/.940 (2, 100:00, 1.80/.939)
T.J. Massie (1-1-0) — 2, 79:44, 3.76/.875 (1, 19:52, 12.08/.667)

RIT:
Jared DeMichiel (3-3-0) — 7 GP, 329:49 minutes, 2.75 GAA/.903 sv% (5 GP, 273:31 minutes, 3.29 GAA/.880 sv% AH)
Louis Menard (2-5-0) — 7, 385:43, 3.42/.867 (4, 207:52, 2.31/.912)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (12 games) — 40 goals for (3.33/gm), 24 goals against (2.00/gm). Power play 13/62 (21.0%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 50/58 (86.2%, 1 SHGF)
Hockey East (8 games) — 31 GF (3.88/gm), 19 GA (2.38/gm). Power play 9/35 (25.7%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 35/40 (87.5%, 1 SHGF)

RIT:
Overall (13 games) — 41 goals for (3.15/gm), 43 goals against (3.31/gm). Power play 14/87 (16.1%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 66/85 (77.6%, 0 SHGF)
Atlantic Hockey (8 games) — 30 GF (3.75/gm), 24 GA (3.00/gm). Power play 11/49 (22.4%, 1 SHGA), 42/54 (77.8%, 0 SHGF)

Outlook
Ah the annual late-November cupcake game. Who can’t get excited for a 4 p.m.-on-a-Saturday date with a team that’s middle-of-the-road in Atlantic Hockey?

In short, despite RIT fans’ endearing insistence that their Tigers can keep this one close, they can’t. Period. All you need to know is that Lowell is Lowell and RIT is RIT. We could end the preview right now. But we won’t, because we want to make this perfectly clear.

This is an RIT team that’s one game above .500 in the AHA and is giving up 3.31 goals a game. They’ve given up EIGHT to Army in two games, SEVEN to Sacred Heart in two games, and SIX to UConn in two games. By basis of comparison, that vaunted Army offense was held scoreless by Merrimack, and Sacred Heart lost to Quinnipiac 4-1. Lowell beat those two teams a combined 7-2. The Tigers, against a slew of squads that don’t get much better than “quite awful,” are 47th in the country in team defense. And despite being tied for 12th in the nation in offensive output, they’ve allowed more goals than they’ve scored. Try to wrap your head around that. The team’s combined goalie stats are 3.29/.878.

But hey, maybe the AHA is a high-scoring league, right? So let’s just look at out of conference opponents. They might have played someone good there. They lost 4-2 to Bowling Green (currently eighth in the CCHA and 5-7-2), picked up a 2-1 win over Western Michigan (11th in the CCHA and 2-7-3), lost 6-4 to Clarkson (10th in the ECAC and 2-6-2), lost 2-1 to St. Lawrence (eighth in the ECAC and 4-6-1), and lost 6-2 to Niagara (fourth in the CHA and 5-6-1).

In total, that’s a 1-4-0 record against teams that are a combined 18-32-9 (a big, big winning percentage of .381!) and have scored 11 (2.2/game) while giving up 21 (4.2/game). These opponents are, on average, in about sixth place in the conference, and that obviously is buoyed by Niagara’s fourth-place standing in the CHA, which has five teams, one of which hasn’t played a conference game yet. Summary: Of the 18 wins RIT’s out-of-conference opponents have this year, almost 25 percent have been against the Tigers.

So that’s out of the way. Now for the actual RIT/Lowell game itself.

Lowell’s going to do to these guys what the Death Star did to Alderaan. RIT comes in with the 52nd-ranked penalty kill in the country, while Lowell’s power play is fifth-best. Think Kory Falite and Maury Edwards are going to try to put a couple pucks into hyperspace during a large portion of the 15.9 PIMs RIT takes a game? Whichever goalie gets the start for RIT might come out of this one with post-traumatic stress, telling people, “I’ve SEEN things!”

Say the Tigers somehow take no penalties in the game; Lowell still kills them. The ‘Hawks didn’t even play well at Merrimack and won by two in fairly convincing fasion. Start Hamilton, start Massie, start some kid from the intramural league, it doesn’t matter. Defense isn’t the question for Lowell, it’s how much are they going to score?

Simply put, Lowell is one of the best teams in Hockey East. RIT is mediocre by Atlantic Hockey standards. This Blitzkreig won’t have been this violent and one-sided. If Lowell wins by anything less than four, we’ll be mortified.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Meggie permalink
    November 29, 2008 7:43 pm

    Hate to tell you, you’re a douche. You obviously have an idealistic view of your team, and your league and as we say in AHA, “I’d like to see your view, but I can’t get my head that far up my ass.” Hockey East is very different than AHA. Yes, we’re on the same level, but right now RIT is playing in a division with 10-0 Airforce. Can UMass Lowell compete with that in Hockey East? I think not. We’ll play today… and we’ll see the outcome.

  2. The 'Hawks blog permalink
    November 30, 2008 1:50 am

    We fail to see your point. Hockey East is indeed very different from the AHA, and much better. We’d guess about 3/4 of the AHA could come to Hockey East and do just as poorly as Providence this year. Air Force almost certainly wouldn’t be unbeaten and untied in Hockey East through 10 games. However, half the teams in Hockey East could come close to doing that in the AHA.

    The MASSIVE talent gap between the AHA and Hockey East is irrefutable. A similar gap between Lowell and RIT was made evident today as Lowell played poorly for half the game and still popped in six goals.

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