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Friday thoughts: So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night

February 28, 2009

So much for that.

Lowell needed its flatout best performance of the year against Northeastern last night and, if Blaise MacDonald‘s quote in the Boston Globe this morning is to be believed, instead turned in its absolute worst.

Fantastic. Glad to see that kind of effort on that kind of night. It’s good because it makes the rest of the season a complete anti-climax and now we don’t have to worry about saying, “Oh man, if we win and (other team) loses, then we can move within a point of (third team).” Now we just sit back and wait to see whether the team is headed to Durham or Burlington.

Yes, this is much better.

Right now we couldn’t be more disgusted with the River Hawks. After this stretch of fantastic results against top-notch opponents, its not that they got blown out of the building by the Huskies, it’s that they barely even bothered to come in. We can’t imagine what would possess a team that’s fighting for a home ice spot to just stay on the bus.

We don’t care about the details of the game; that Northeastern got two kind of flukey goals — one on a pair of blown defensive assignments, another on a deflection Nevin Hamilton never saw — and a third where Hamilton was far too deep in his net on a break; we don’t care that Northeastern somehow 9-2 in the first period (the Huskies had as many goals as the ‘Hawks had shots. Great.) or that Lowell went 0-fer on seven power plays.

We don’t care that this makes just four goals for the River Hawks in the last three games. We don’t care that Hamilton has now given up six goals on the last 49 shots he’s faced (an .877 save percentage) or that he needs to get out of the lineup and stay there now that Carter Hutton is seemingly back on track, or worse, neither is.

The only thing we care about is that Lowell is now four points back of a home ice spot and would need to more or less win out and have Vermont or UNH get swept in their remaining three games (two of which are against eachother in Burlington) to pull off this whole home ice thing. After last night’s putrid performance you have to question a number of things:

  1. Can they do it? The answer would seem to be “no.” Not after THAT disaster last night. Too many stupid penalties, too many missed opportunities, too many bad coverages, too many negatives. What positives could you take from last night? That ‘Hawks outshot the Huskies 14-6 in the second period? Great, because they got outscored 1-0 in that time, so who cares how well they carried play?
  2. Can they beat anyone the rest of the way? If the desparate situation in which Lowell found itself entering into last night’s game wasn’t motivating factor enough, what is? If you cannot be hungry for a win when you NEED one to get home ice, you don’t (and possibly never did) had the killer instinct to win a home ice spot in this league. After the play of the last few weeks, this was incredibly disheartening in a way that is difficult to phrase properly using blog-approrpriate language.
  3. What now? How does the team answer this incredible disappointment? If it doesn’t kick the door open and come out guns blazing right at the start of the first period tomorrow, then you can just stop attending games or caring about this team, because it is absolutely dead in the water. After this run, we could ALMOST forgive the team one bad performance like that, even given the circumstances. But two would be an outrage. An indescribable outrage. This team straight clowned Vermont in their barn last weekend, and this was the follow-up?

The good news is that this just might wake the team up. Certainly the lineup will get a fresh look tonight. Kory Falite, who has two goals and five points in six career games against the Huskies, will almost certainly be back after his extended stay in the doghouse. You might even see a kid like Jonathan Maniff (okay, probably not). But if this loss means the return of a motivated Falite, it might have almost been worth it. He is typically monstrous against Northeastern and Maine alike.

But as we say that, we also shake our heads in disdain. God, things really couldn’t get any worse right now.

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