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Weekend preview: What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?

December 11, 2009

The No. 9 Lowell River Hawks (9-5-1, 5-4-1 HE) vs. the Princeton Tigers (3-7-1, 2-6-1 ECAC)

7 p.m. Friday at Tsongas Arena, Lowell, Mass.
4 p.m. Saturday at Tsongas Arena, Lowell, Mass.

Lowell is fourth in Hockey East with 11 points from 10 games, Princeton is ninth in the ECAC with five points from nine games.

Last three games
Lowell — 5-3 vs. UMass, 1-2 at UNH, 1-3 vs. Maine
Princeton — 1-4 at Yale, 1-3 at Brown, 1-5 at Quinnipiac

Prior meetings
Lowell lead Princeton 3-0-0 all-time.

Season series
The teams have not met.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Nick Schaus — 13 GP, 4-12-16 (10 GP, 3-10-13 HE)
David Vallorani — 15, 7-7-14 (10, 4-6-10)
Scott Campbell — 15, 5-9-14 (10, 2-4-6)
Kory Falite — 15, 7-5-12 (10, 4-2-6)
Paul Worthington — 15, 7-5-12 (10, 6-4-10)

UNH:
Dan Bartlett — 11 GP, 5-4-9 (9 GP, 5-3-8 ECAC)
Mike Kramer — 11, 4-3-7 (9, 3-3-6)
Cam MacIntyre — 8, 4-2-6 (8, 4-2-6)
Jody Pederson [ed. note: lol “Jody”] — 11, 1-4-5 (9, 1-3-4)
Matt Arhontas — 11, 2-2-4 (9, 2-2-4)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Carter Hutton (4-4-0) — 8 GP, 478:36 minutes, 2.26 GAA/.921 sv% (5 GP, 300:36 minutes, 2.79 GAA/.914 sv% HE)
Nevin Hamilton (5-1-1) — 7, 423:01, 2.55/.912 (5, 303:01, 2.77/.910 HE)

UNH:
Zane Kalemba (1-5-1) — 7 GP, 386:33 minutes, 3.57 GAA/.891 sv% (5 GP, 268:06, 4.25 GAA/.868 sv% ECAC)
Alan Reynolds (2-2-0) — 4, 242:37, 2.72/.913 (same)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (15 games) — 52 goals for (3.47/gm), 37 goals against (2.47/gm). Power play 17/77 (22.1%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 49/60 (81.7%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (10 games) — 34 goals for (3.40/gm), 29 goal against (2.90/gm). Power play 13/50 (26.0%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 34/44 (77.3%, 0 SHGF)

Princeton:
Overall (11 games) — 23 goals for (2.09/gm), 37 goals against (3.36/gm). Power play 8/44 (18.2%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 41/49 (83.7%, 0 SHGF)
ECAC (9 games) — 20 goals for (2.22/gm), 32 goals against (3.56/gm). Power play 5/33 (15.2%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 34/41 (82.9%, 0 SHGF)

Outlook

How to put this delicately? Judging by their hockey team, Robert “Sideshow Bob” Terwilliger was correct to refer to Princeton, his brother Cecil’s alma mater as “Clown College.”

This is, in short, a stunningly bad hockey team. These games looked pretty great in September, sure. This was a team with one of the best goalies in the country and one that had made the last few NCAA tourneys. Good opponent for Lowell. But coming up on three straight months of terrible, terrible hockey later, and it looks more like this is going to be a savage beating.

Princeton scores 2.09 goals per game. That would have them last in Hockey East by far, and let’s just say the ECAC ain’t Hockey East-quality. Princeton also allows 3.36 goals per game. That would have them.. oh, well not last in Hockey East (thanks Vermont, BU and UNH) but certainly tied for eighth is an unenviable position as well.

Not surprisingly, that great goalie from last year has seen his career crumble. His absurd 1.82/.947 line has worsened to the numbers you see above: 3.57/.891. That’s an almost-unfathomable drop in play that tells us he was either the product of the greatest system in the history of hockey last year or Princeton is now so terrible words cannot begin to describe it. It’s an either-or situation. No one goes from that good to that bad on their own.

This is a weekend Lowell has to sweep, and handily. Earlier in the week we said to no one in particular that Lowell needed to win by five on aggregate, but having now seen the stats, and that Princeton has yet to win a game on the road, where they have been outscored 22-9 in FIVE GAMES (by Cornell, Colgate, Quinnipiac, Brown and Yale), this has to be at least seven on aggregate to the River Hawks. Lowell needs to have an average winning margin of 3.5 per night for us to be truly happy with the performances and not consider them tantamount to losses.

The chasm in relative quality between these teams is reminiscent of the Grand Canyon in another couple billion years. There’s literally nothing else to say.

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