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Friday thoughts: Well well

January 17, 2009

We certainly didn’t expect that.

It’s not often that Lowell goes into BC and wins (though we suppose it did happen last year as well), but given the recent and obvious spate of poor play, the fact that BC scored first and very early in the game, and the fact that Lowell had two goals disallowed by video replay, we were once again resigning ourselves to the fact that this would be loss No. 7 in a row.

But then something wonderful happened: Lowell found its long-absent scoring touch and resiliency. We’re not sure exactly what started it (though the 13:48 of power play time provided by BC cannot have hurt), but we were certainly glad to welcome it back. Lowell scored twice on its six power plays and also picked up an extra-attacker goal with 45 seconds to go that leveled the game at 3-all and forced overtime.

More than the three special-situation goals, though, it was that resiliency that stole the game from Boston College. Lowell could have gone up 2-1 in the second period on a near-goal for Mark Roebothan, but the goal was unjustly disallowed (and why wouldn’t it be? Lowell was playing a Big Four team, after all). Same thing happened minutes later when the puck might have crossed the goal line, though that was much more of a borderline call and we can see why it would have been called one way or the other, but again, Lowell would never get a call like that from a Hockey East official.

So with two goals taken away from them, the River Hawks could’ve hung their heads and felt like it was all just another sad chapter in this already woeful January swoon. But then Lowell got its third power play of the period and Maury Edwards (who else?) stepped into a shot that put Lowell up 2-1. Big, big goal. And even if BC scored just over a minute later, Lowell had to enter the dressing room feeling as though it had at least not closed up shop and surrendered in the face of a pair of disallowed goals that ranged from iffy to outrageous.

Of course, when BC went up 3-2 on a bad Lowell turnover, we figured that’d just about do it. There was no way this team was answering that bell with the way it had played in the preceding weeks. Three goals, we had reason to believe, was entirely too much to handle, especially against BC. But what we had forgotten, obviously, was that the Eagles had recently gotten themselves into the habit of giving away points. Last week it gave up a goal to Vermont with a second left to force overtime and surrender two points and the next night gave up two goals in the final eight minutes to lose 4-2 after leading 2-0 at the end of the first period.

So when Nick Petrecki was whistled for an horribly questionable five-minute hitting from behind major with just 25 seconds left, we began to feel very good about how everything was going to work out. Lowell would have more or less the entire overtime to work a man up, and needed almost all of it. Nick Schaus‘ goal on a GORGEOUS cross-box feed from David Vallorani gave the ‘Hawks the win and, hopefully, a little bit of that swagger the ‘Hawks were rockin’ back in November.

Lowell, it should be noted, actually outshot BC by a good margin (not something to which we are accustomed) 40-31, though the power plays certainly helped there. But it was a very good all-around game for most ‘Hawks, and we were especially impressed with Jeremy Dehner (three assists), and both Vallorani (two assists) as well as fellow freshman Matt Ferreira. Ferreira, especially, looked supremely confident in his game despite not getting any points. He led all players with six shots, got to just about every 50/50 puck he saw, and generally used his speed and to great effect all night. Scott Campbell, who scored the extra-attacker goal, also looked very good. Carter Hutton had a perfectly Huttony night, making 28 saves on 31 shots and having another of those normal ho-hum nights of above-average play we’ve come to expect of him, but considering BC’s 3.8 goals per game at home entering the contest, you have to weight the three goals against properly and acknowledge Hutton’s fine performance.

This win, coupled with UMass Amherst’s 5-4 loss to Providence — and how ’bout those Friars, who have won three in a row — means that the Minutemen can now exit the weekend with no more than 12 league points, a total Lowell has met already. This is all very encouraging and now we feel as though the River Hawks should take at least a point tonight.

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