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Weekend preview: Well, we SHOULD do it, but… y’know.

January 30, 2009

Lowell River Hawks (9-12-0, 6-8-0 HE) vs. the Maine Black Bears (10-11-3, 5-8-2 HE)

at Maine 7 p.m. Friday at Alfond Arena, Orono, Me.

All-time head-to-head Lowell trails Maine 24-67-3

Lowell is sixth in Hockey East with 16 points from 16 games and Maine is eighth in Hockey East with 12 points from 15 games.

Last three games
Lowell — 3-2 at Merrimack, 3-2 vs. Merrimack, 3-4 vs. UMass Amherst
Maine — 1-4 at BC, 3-6 at BC, 2-2 vs. Providence

Prior meetings
Lowell has yet to play Maine this year.

Season series
Lowell has yet to play Maine this year.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Maury Edwards — 23, 8-10-18 (16, 7-9-16)
Kory Falite — 22 GP, 11-6-17 (15 GP, 7-3-10 HE)
Scott Campbell — 23, 8-9-17 (16, 3-7-10)
David Vallorani — 23, 4-13-17 (16, 3-9-12)
Jeremy Dehner — 23, 2-15-17 (16, 2-12-14)

Maine:
Gustav Nyquist — 24 GP, 9-11-20 (15 GP, 5-4-9 HE)
Brian Flynn — 23, 8-7-15 (15, 4-5-9)
Tanner House — 24, 6-7-13 (15, 3-3-6)
Christopher Hahn — 24, 5-8-13 (15, 2-5-7)
Jeff Dimmen — 23, 4-6-10 (14, 2-5-7)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Carter Hutton (4-6-0) — 11 GP, 601:36 minutes, 1.99 GAA/.924 sv% (6 GP, 304:59 minutes, 2.36 GAA/.918 sv% HE)
Nevil Hamilton (6-5-0) — 12, 690:47, 2.35/.920 (11, 630:51, 2.28/.925)

Maine:
Scott Darling (8-7-3) — 18 GP, 1,072:50 minutes, 2.18 GAA/.915 sv% (12 GP, 702:51 minutes, 2.56 GAA/.900 sv% HE)
Dave Wilson (2-4-0) — 7, 383:44, 2.81/.893 (4, 205:25, 3.21/.862)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (23 games) — 67 goals for (2.91/gm), 54 goals against (2.35/gm). Power play 24/120 (20.0%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 89/103 (86.4%, 1 SHGF)
Hockey East (16 games) — 50 GF (3.12/gm), 42 GA (2.62/gm). Power play 16/76 (21.1%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 67/76 (88.2%, 1 SHGF)

Maine:
Overall (24 games) — 55 goals for (2.29/gm), 58 goals against (2.42/gm). Power play 24/140 (17.1%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 110/123 (89.4%, 3 SHGF)
Hockey East (15 games) — 30 GF (2.00/gm), 41 GA (2.73/gm). Power play 14/84 (16.7%, 1 SHGA), 66/74 (89.2%, 2 SHGF)

Outlook
One look at this article from up Maine’s way should tell you everything you wanted to know about how badly this team has played after its pretty decent start. The Black Bears are a team in complete and utter disarray.

When words like “limited” and “troubling” and “poor” and “dreary” are strewn throughout the article, seemingly part of what we could have only assumed to be some macabre ruse to fool us into thinking Maine’s actually doing badly. But the stats don’t lie.

Maine is 0-6-2 in its last eight games, former star goaltender Scott Darling has a line of 3.77/.859 save percentage in those games, the bottom 12 forwards have just 20 goals this year combined.

The dressing room, too, must be a mess, since Tim Whitehead, in his infinite wisdom, has revealed that several current Black Bears will not be back with the team next year. Yes, he said this in January.

What we think this means, of course, is that Lowell will go up to Orono tonight and get embarrassed by an awful team. Now, don’t get us wrong. We think Lowell is superior to Maine in every conceivable way. Its best players are better, its depth players are better, its coaching is better (if only by virtue of not telling kids they’re off the team in mid-season), its goaltending and defense is better. But it’s still that goddamn Alfond Arena.

Lowell hasn’t won there since the Clinton administration, alright? Few, if any, of the current River Hawks had even entered HIGH SCHOOL when Lowell last eked out a win in Orono. David Vallorani, Lowell’s youngest player, celebrated his 11th birthday about a month after that.

So forgive us, please, for our pessimism. No amount of message board complainery and newspaper bemoanancy is going to disabuse us of our belief that we will never again see Lowell win in Orono. One of those “won’t believe it til we see it” type things. Believe us, we’d LOVE to be wrong here. We’d love for Lowell to go up there and lay a 4-1 beating on the Black Bears then just laugh and laugh about it for weeks. But history isn’t on our side here, and so it is with heavy hearts that we must predict a Lowell loss.

Ugh.

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