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Saturday thoughts: fffffffffffffffffffffff

December 13, 2009

Losses like this are easy ones to figure out: it’s the goalie’s fault.

And by “the goalie,” we don’t mean Zane Kalemba, who looked every bit the Hobey Baker candidate he was last year in stopping an astonishing 45 shots and committing grand larceny on two in particular late in the game. We mean that this loss is Nevin Hamilton’s fault.

Sorry, it’s true.

Now bear with us here. We are typically big supporters of Hamilton’s. He may not play the prettiest game of all time, but his sacrificing dazzle for dependability goes noticed by us at least, and we think he gives Lowell a great chance to win in most games we’ve seen him play (which means, of course, more or less every start for the majority of his career). But tonight if last night’s performance was Lowell turning in a boxing champion’s effort, then the only fight that happened tonight was Hamilton going toe-to-toe with the puck for 60 minutes. It was ugly.

And you might say that three goals allowed on 30 shots is pretty decent. Certainly not worthy of heaping the entire blame on his shoulders. And you’d be wrong. Because Princeton did its best impression of Providence two nights in a row, shooting any time and from every angle and that’ll help pad the save percentage numbers for sure. So too will the circumstances in the run-up to the Tigers’ first goal, on the power play, for which we cannot actually fault Hamilton. The puck came across the top of the crease and Hamilton held the post while Princeton had two guys take three or four whacks at it apiece. Hamilton was credited with four saves in that three-second span and really, Eric Meland’s goal was an inevitability.

But we’ll start laying the blame here: Hamilton was so far out of position for Princeton’s second goal, which came just 10 seconds after the first, that we cannot even begin to fathom what in the hell happened. Literally, we have no explanation, or even possible explanation, for just how this fiasco of goaltending was allowed to transpire, and rather than dwell on it as we have been for some hours now, we’re just going to say that’s one of the three mind-bogglingly terrible goals Hamilton allows himself to give up per season and stop worrying about it because otherwise our brains will surely melt.

So Lowell’s down 2-0 just four and a half minutes into the game, but hey it was down to Amherst by the same deficit later in the game than that, so who cares, right? Except Kalemba, whose stats this season are less like his sub-2.00-near-.950 line of last year and more like Brian Foster’s in mid-November, is roughly 11 times the goaltender Paul Dainton is, and the onslaught he was about to face was plenty to prove that. That Lowell got two by him is some manner of miracle (he never saw Kory Falite’s goal, and Riley Wetmore’s was a third-chance play). But before Kalemba turned in his virtuoso performance worthy of a master thief, Hamilton had one more blunder through which to make us suffer, conceding to Kevin Lohry just over three minutes after Lowell pulled back within one.

And really, it could have been worse for Hamilton, and Lowell, if you can believe that. Princeton also had a goal waived off because the net happened to come off a split second before one Tiger forward tucked it past Hamilton. That play, though, was not his fault, as Ryan Blair (who had perhaps the worst game in his entire career this afternoon and shouldn’t have gotten a second of ice time in the third period) had a turnover that leaves even the term “egregiously awful” wanting for a way to properly convey just how egregious and awful it was.

This is, of course, an horrific end to what has been, overall, a somewhat disappointing start to the season. Each loss, when viewed in a vacuum, has been explainable. Hot goalie, late letdown, injury, Benedetto, lack of attention to the finer points, etc. But overall, we can’t be happy with a 10-6-1 record, especially when all but two of the losses (those to a not-so-good Maine and improving-if-unimpressive UNH) were to teams that are currently .500 or worse.

Oh, and did we mention Princeton only had 18 players dressed again tonight? Yeah. That too. Have a good weekend everyone. We’re going to spend our Sunday purchasing a gun and seeing if we can talk the guy at Walmart into letting us by one bullet each.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob permalink
    December 13, 2009 8:54 pm

    I’m not sure I would put all the blame for this loss on Hamilton. I agree about the second Princeton goal, but if the team played half the game with the intensity they showed in the third period Lowell would have won this game.
    The team better wake up and figure out how to play 60 minutes of hockey. Good teams take care of business and win the games they should.

  2. sevenzerokc permalink
    December 13, 2009 10:11 pm

    Thankfully, Kalemba didn’t start Friday night, Lowell won that game because of a freshman debut in net, otherwise we could be looking at a Princeton sweep.

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