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Friday thoughts: Perhaps we overstated things

November 28, 2009

Okay so Lowell didn’t beat Maine. What’s the big deal?

With all due respect to Maine (and they are, of course, due none, but we’ll get to that in a little while), Lowell couldn’t have beaten a high school team tonight. And when we say high school team, we don’t even mean a very good one.

If you want to look at it from a pro-Maine perspective, Lowell did a lot of things well tonight. It had maybe three successful breakouts all night. It had four clean looks at the net. It failed to string together more than three passes without an egregious turnover. It put a ton of pucks on Maine sticks. It put 28 shots on Scott Darling that were benign as to be laughable. It made a ton of mistakes that junior mite teams don’t make. It did everything in such a clumsy, Clouseauesque manner as to make us wonder just how long ago those dominant wins against Merrimack and UNH and BU really were.

We didn’t personally witness what was reportedly a horror show in Providence on Tuesday, but if it was anything like this game was tonight, then we pity the brave few that gutted it out through both games.

It’s kind of funny that Lowell went up 1-0 considering just how badly it was outplayed for the majority of the first period. Shots were, at one point, 11-3, and Lowell went a good six minutes into the game without registering a shot on goal, and the one first few shots on goal were, in a word, completely harmless. They were only shots in the technical sense that, had Darling not been physically standing in the crease, then yes, they would have rolled lazily into the net. And to really highlight how bad the Lowell goal was, let’s just say it took about 12 whacks at the puck from a number of different Lowell players before it finally crossed the line.

Now, you might go so far as to call that will, that Lowell outcompeted Maine at the point of attack and earned a hard-fought goal. And you would be wrong, because it was more the ineptitude of Darling and the Maine defense at covering or clearing the puck and letting Kory Falite, Joe Caveney and Ben Holmstrom swing wildly at it for a good three to five seconds than anything Lowell did.

The first Maine goal (you might know it better as the one that ensured Lowell would lose) came just about six minutes later and Tanner House took advantage of Lowell’s lack of desire to clear the puck from its defensive zone and whipped what was an admittedly very nice turnaround shot off the top of Nevin Hamilton’s shoulder pad and in to level at one apiece. And Lowell could have used that as a wakeup call.

Instead, Maine outdrew the River Hawks 11-3 in the rest of the second period, outshot them 11-4 and drew a pair of penalties that can only be described as incredibly stupid. The first was to Joe Caveney for a trip on a play where we can’t even begin to understand what he was thinking, and Maine scored 16 seconds after he went into the box thanks to Adam Shemansky beautifully tipping a point shot into the roof of the net. That’s how you draw it up, we guess. The second penalty came to David Vallorani for a dumb roughing call at the very end of the period as he shoved some Maine defender in the face in the dying seconds. Real smart plays both.

Maine made it academic with House’s second goal of the game late in the third, but Lowell had made it official long before that when it had one good chance in the entire period, that being a turnaround shot from the middle of the slot by Holmstrom that hit Darling in the shoulder and deflected high off the glass. From our vantage point behind that net, it looked like Darling never even saw it.

(An aside: Late in the game Maine defenseman Mike Cornell picked up a five-minute major for hitting from behind. An aside: This play, obviously, came with Lowell down 3-1 and Maine under no threat of being scored upon, which really just underscores what a disgusting move this is. Cornell had been chirping Lowell players all night, pushing and shoving on faceoffs and generally trying to agitate Lowell forwards with little to no success. So he did the next best thing to drawing a penalty, which is deck a Lowell player we believe to have been Joe Caveney (but we could be wrong) from behind while he was battling another Black Bear for possession along the halfboards in the attacking zone. Even if the game had been close, the hit was unnecessary and clearly illegal. But for him to look at the situation, where the opponent is clearly engaged already, and say that this was a good time to drill someone from behind is revolting. But frankly, “revolting” is pretty much par for the course for the Black Bears, from whom we’ve come to expect this type of thing. We revel in their gutless program, full of gutless players and led by a gutless and ineffectual coach, dying a joyously slow and torturous death, but one that will never never be slow and torturous enough for our liking.)

In the wake of the Cornell penalty, Lowell pulled Hamilton and in the remaining 1:56 of game time, all of which was played 6-on-4 mind you, managed maaaaaybe 15 seconds of offensive-zone possession. In fact, as if it wasn’t eye-rollingly bad enough, Maine actually came closer to scoring than Lowell ever did because at least they hit a post on a soft dump from the neutral zone.

The only soft dump Lowell took, meanwhile, was in its fans’ faces.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. justin permalink
    November 28, 2009 7:23 am

    Well, you have the right opponent coming up next week. I’ll be there, but I have no doubt that Lowell decides to wake the [cuss] up and play 60 minutes on saturday, which will be bad for my team.

  2. keith permalink
    November 28, 2009 8:29 am

    I was hoping that Tuesday’s lackluster performance was due to Lowell focusing on a Maine beating…looks like they were too.

  3. Bob permalink
    November 28, 2009 3:39 pm

    At least at Providence the team showed some effort. Last night was a complete no show. I blame the 1st Maine goal on Hamilton. His defensemen where there to play the puck but he decided to send it around the boards. It went right to a Maine player and one pass later it was in the net.

    I believe it was Sheu who took the hit from Cornell.

    The team should be ready go next weekend since they took this week off.

  4. Jon permalink
    November 29, 2009 9:56 pm

    That was such a pathetic performance I thought that we had retro’d back to freshman year. We were speculating in Section L that the coaching staff beat hell out of them after the Providence loss because collectively they all had no energy. So I blame the coaching staff for that loss, you don’t see a whole team that lethargic unless they all got the same treatment or food poisoning.

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