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Midweek preview: Put yourselves in a win coma

November 24, 2009

The No. 3 Lowell River Hawks (8-2-1, 4-1-1 HE) vs. the Providence College Friars (6-4-1, 1-3-1 HE)

7 p.m. Tuesday at Schneider Arena, Providence, R.I.

Lowell is third in Hockey East with nine points from six games and Providence is last in Hockey East with three points from five games.

Last three games
Lowell — 6-3 vs. Merrimack, 4-0 at Alabama-Huntsville, 3-1 at Alabama-Huntsville
Providence — 3-3 vs. Northeastern, 1-4 at Northeastern, 4-3 vs. Brown

Prior meetings
Lowell trails Providence 35-45-9 all-time.

Season series
Nothing to report.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Scott Campbell — 11 GP, 5-8-13 (6, 2-3-5 HE)
Nick Schaus — 9, 4-8-12 (6 GP, 3-6-9)
Paul Worthington — 11, 6-5-11 (6, 5-4-9)
David Vallorani — 11, 4-7-11 (6, 1-6-7)
Kory Falite — 11, 5-5-10 (6, 2-2-4)

Providence:
Matt Bergland — 11 GP, 7-3-10 (5 GP, 2-1-3 HE)
Matt Germain — 11, 3-6-9 (5, 0-4-4)
Daniel New — 11, 3-6-9 (5, 2-3-5)
Mark Fayne — 11, 2-5-7 (5, 1-2-3)
Kyle MacKinnon — 11, 2-5-7 (5, 1-1-2)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Carter Hutton (4-2-0) — 6 GP, 361:29 minutes, 2.16 GAA/.916 sv% (3 GP, 183:29 minutes, 2.94 GAA/.899 sv% HE)
Nevin Hamilton (4-0-1) — 5, 304:57, 2.36/.918 (3, 184:57, 2.60/.917 HE)

Merrimack:
Alex Beaudry (5-3-1) — 9 GP, 542:52 minutes, 2.32 GAA/.926 sv% (4 GP, 244:11, 2.70 GAA/.922 sv% HE)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (11 games) — 43 goals for (3.91/gm), 25 goals against (2.27/gm). Power play 16/66 (24.2%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 39/45 (86.7%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (6 games) — 25 goals for (4.17/gm), 17 goal against (2.83/gm). Power play 12/39 (30.8%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 24/29 (82.8%, 0 SHGF)

Providence:
Overall (11 games) — 29 goals for (2.64/gm), 27 goals against (2.45/gm). Power play 6/43 (14.0%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 47/58 (81.0%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (5 games) — 9 goals for (1.80/gm), 16 goals against (3.20/gm). Power play 4/20 (20.0%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 22/29 (75.9%, 0 SHGF)

Outlook

We believe in plain speaking, so here goes: Lowell needs to KILL Providence.

Why? Stats. Providence is an above-.500 team thanks to a weak out-of-conference schedule featuring 3-7-2 Holy Cross, 6-5-3 Notre Dame twice, 2-9-1 Bowling Green twice and 0-6-1. Notre Dame, which is having a down year, accounts for more than half of the wins their OOC opponents have netted this year. Take them out and PC’s opponents have a combined record of 5-22-4. Even with them, it’s 11-27-7. So that 27 goals allowed in 11 games looks decent, but it’s not. Especially considering that, even in allowing just 27 goals in 11 games, they’ve only scored 29. And EIGHT of those came in one game against Bowling Green.

The Hockey East schedule paints a more grim and therefore more appropriate picture of how bad the Friars actually are. At 1-3-1, they’re not even close to .500. They’ve scored just nine goals in five games, they’ve allowed 16. And they have allowed almost twice as many power play goals as they’ve scored because they only draw four man advantages a game while conceding close to six.

And they’re going to try to compete with Lowell? Even the good teams in Hockey East struggle to keep up, and Providence’s “Rush up the ice and shoot first, backcheck later” approach to the game isn’t going to do them too many favors tonight. Providence is good at draws, winning 53.1 percent in Hockey East games, but it’s not Lowell good (56.3). And what that, in conjunction with the above stats, tells us is that where Lowell gains meaningful possession and scoring chances off its draws, Providence wins them and does nothing with them.

And with that in mind, we’re picking Lowell to win by three and hold the Friars to one or none. Anything else would mean the River Hawks played like, we dunno, Northeastern or something.

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