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Weekend preview: Catcalls

November 5, 2009

The No. 8 Lowell River Hawks (4-2-0, 2-1-0 HE) vs. the No. 15 Vermont Catamounts (2-3-0, 1-2-0 HE) and the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (2-4-1, 2-0-0 HE)

7 p.m. Friday at Gutterson Fieldhouse, Burlington, Vt.
5p.m. Sunday at Tsongas Arena, Lowell, Mass.

Lowell is tied for second in Hockey East last year with four points from three games, Vermont is tied for fifth in Hockey East with two points from three games and UNH is tied for second in Hockey East with four points from two games.

Last three games
Lowell — 3-2 at BU, 5-4 vs. BU (ot), 3-1 vs. Northeastern
Vermont — 1-4 at Maine, 2-5 at Merrimack, 4-1 vs. BC
UNH — 1-6 at Wisconsin, 1-4 at Wisconsin, 5-2 vs. Maine

Prior meetings
Lowell trails Vermont 11-12-2 all-time and trails UNH 29-50-14.

Season series
Nothing to report.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Kory Falite — 6 GP, 2-4-6 (3 GP, 0-2-2 HE)
David Vallorani — 6, 2-4-6 (3, 1-3-4)
Paul Worthington — 6, 3-2-5 (3, 2-2-4)
Scott Campbell — 6, 3-2-5 (3, 0-0-0)
Nick Schaus — 4, 2-3-5 (3, 1-2-3)

Vermont:
Brayden Irwin — 5 GP, 3-4-7 (3 GP, 1-2-3 HE)
Wahsontiio Stacey — 4, 2-3-5 (2, 1-2-3)
Jack Downing — 5, 2-3-5 (3, 0-2-2)
Colin Vock — 5, 2-1-3 (3, 1-1-2)
Patrick Cullity — 5, 1-2-3 (3, 0-1-1)

UNH:
Blake Kessel — 6 GP, 3-7-10 (2 GP, 1-4-5 HE)
Bobby Butler — 7, 4-4-8 (2, 1-2-3)
Mike Borisenok — 7, 3-4-7 (2, 1-2-3)
Peter LeBlanc — 7, 1-5-6 (2, 0-1-1)
Paul Thompson — 7, 1-3-4 (2, 0-2-2)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Carter Hutton (2-2-0) — 4 GP, 241:54 minutes, 2.48 GAA/.900 sv% (2 GP, 123:29 minutes, 2.92 GAA/.887 sv% HE)
Nevin Hamilton (2-0-0) — 2, 120:00, 2.50/.911 (1, 60:00, 2.00/.923 HE)

Vermont:
Rob Madore (2-3-0) — 5 GP, 297:29 minutes, 3.63 GAA/.895 sv% (3 GP, 178:47, 3.02 GAA/.905 sv% HE)

UNH:
Brian Foster (2-4-1) — 7 GP, 390:35 minutes, 3.99 GAA/.875 sv% (2 GP, 119:44 minutes, 2.00 GAA/.900 sv% HE)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (6 games) — 21 goals for (3.50/gm), 15 goals against (2.50/gm). Power play 8/33 (24.2%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 22/26 (84.6%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (3 games) — 10 goals for (3.33/gm), 8 goal against (2.67/gm). Power play 4/19 (21.1%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 14/17 (82.4%, 0 SHGF)

Vermont:
Overall (5 games) — 17 goals for (3.40/gm), 19 goals against (3.80/gm). Power play 2/9 (10.5%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 25/32 (78.1%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (3 game) — 7 goals for (2.33/gm), 10 goals against (3.33). Power play 1/16 (6.2%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 19/24 (79.2%, 0 SHGF)

UNH:
Overall (7 games) — 20 goals for (2.86/gm), 28 goals against (4.00/gm). Power play 6/38 (15.8%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 30/36 (83.3%, 1 SHGF)
Hockey East (2 games) — 9 goals for (4.50/gm), 4 goal against (2.00/gm). Power play 3/10 (30.0%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 10/13 (76.9%, 0 SHGF)

Outlook

Lowell faces a pair of teams this weekend that it should, by rights, absolutely bludgeon. Look at Vermont and UNH’s last two results. Combined, they are 0-4 and 19-5 losers on aggregate. Which is to say that they are dreadful.

But it’s also difficult to say with any degree of certainty that Lowell will be able to dominate them on the ice as they should on paper. Both teams are somewhat talented and indeed, both have had a bit of a bad run that most, one suspects, would not have guessed either capable back in, say, early October.

Vermont was, after all, a team that nearly swept Denver, scoring nine goals — against a defense that has, in the intervening time, proved rather stingy — in the process. The next weekend the Catamounts pummeled Boston College 4-1 in Burlington. Not unimpressive, certainly. But after that these bums go down to Merrimack and score twice in the opening few minutes before they cough up five straight and never recover, then go up to visit a TERRIBLE Maine team and lose 4-1. So we don’t know what to make of Vermont really. We thought they wouldn’t live up to the Frozen Four-based hype and while we were right (of course), we also didn’t think they’d be this epically bad. Wins against Denver and BC, losses to Denver, Merrimack and Maine. We wouldn’t have pegged that on Oct. 1. If the team that gave Denver a pair of games and beat BC shows up, then Lowell might almost have its hands full. But if the team that gave up nine goals to Maine and Merrimack shows up, then Lowell will do what Lowell always does in Burlington: waltz to another W.

There’s talk that perhaps Kevin Sneddon would turn to Mike “2.87/.889 career” Spillane, but that seems foolish. Rob Madore has, after all, proven he can beat Lowell (once), and even with the garbage statline this season, he has to be a better option. The same, unfortunately for them, cannot be said of the vaunted Vermont defense*, which is allowing 3.8 goals a game. (Told ya.)

Two days later, things get even more befuddling, as the UNH Wildcats will limp into the Tsongas Arena and likely have a nice bagged lunch pressed happily into their hands by our dear River Hawks. But again, there is a paradox.

UNH has been absolute, drizzling, pea-soup thick garbage for most of the season. The numbers speak for themselves: 2.86 goals for a game, 4.00 allowed, 2-4-1. They just finished up a series with Wisconsin in which they were outshot by 60 and gave up 10 goals. They stink on the road, going 0-3-0, scoring once per game and allowing 4.33. Not so good.

But on the other hand, their Hockey East record is rather impressive. The Wildcats are 2-0-0, beating Northeastern 4-2 and Maine 5-2. The same Maine team that flattened Vermont. So it’s difficult to know what to expect.

We know what to think though: Lowell’s going to steamroll both of these teams because it is now confident and battle-tested. Four points this weekend is a must.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. sevenzerokc permalink
    November 6, 2009 5:28 pm

    I know none of us are happy with the split from last weekend, but you forgot to update Lowell’s current record, we wouldn’t want any UNH fans to get the idea that they have more league wins.

    I agree about VT, they seem to be a bit of a mystery so far, but I like Lowell’s chances in their rink. Any word on Goers? USCHO suggested he may be missing for a while.

  2. John Maple permalink
    November 7, 2009 5:15 pm

    Wow UML tied UVM? I thought UML was going undefeated this year? UML must be the best team to not make the NCAA’s in the last decade and a half?

  3. RHHB permalink
    November 7, 2009 5:18 pm

    leave it to a person with an @uvm.edu email address to not understand that a tie doesn’t count as a defeat

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