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Friday thoughts: It had to happen sometime

January 16, 2010

Strike up the band and start the parade. UMass Amherst beat Lowell in Amherst. Will wonders never cease?

We’re not as frazzled by this loss as some might be, nor are we ready to give up the ship and move to a mountain somewhere like some Lowell fans seem to be. Yes, we thought Lowell deserved to get four points this weekend and now, obviously, that isn’t going to happen. We just don’t feel like Amherst won the game so much as Lowell lost it and so while Amherst fans everywhere surely celebrated what they believe was their hard-fought victory, we think it was a bit hollow and, you guessed it, undeserved.

The difference in the game, obviously, was special teams. Lowell continued to take too many penalties and continued to fail when it came to capitalizing on its opponents’. It’s not that five is a lot of penalties for which to be whistled, we guess, but it was more the timing of the penalties that irked us. The first negated the final five seconds of a power play, the second led to Amherst’s first goal, the third came soon after that (but proved harmless). That was just the first period. Lowell didn’t take a penalty at all in the second period and, wouldn’t you know it, that ended up being the only period in which it was clearly better than Amherst.

The third period, then, was a disaster, at least as far as the penalties go. There may only have been two Minutemen power plays, but again, the timing was simply awful. The first shorthanded situation of the third period, a call against Ben Holmstrom, came with one man apiece already in the box to reduce play to 4-on-3. Hint: You do not want to give a team with a lethal power play like Amherst the chance to play 4-on-3 on an Olympic-sized ice sheet. Granted, the Minutemen failed to score on it but this was tempting fate, and the next time Lowell did it proved one time too many.

Lowell had come back to tie it with a little over five minutes to go and, just as it did last week against Northeastern, took another penalty that allowed its opponent to score on the resultant power play with very little time left on the clock and, without having the benefit of netting five goals prior to that event, Lowell let this one slip gracelessly from its hands.

Were it not for the three points last weekend, we’d be just about ready to go into crisis-of-faith mode. Losing to Amherst is a thing that shouldn’t happen. These River Hawks are so much better than that. But they are apparently not so much better that missing empty nets and sending shots over the bar and agonizingly wide hasn’t been plaguing this team since November. Apart from a few games here and there (the wins over Merrimack, Amherst and Northeastern), Lowell has scored two goals or fewer in seven of its last 12 games. All night we heard the names “Falite,” “Campbell,” and “Scheu” over and over but it all meant less than nothing when all had come to be.

Instead, Lowell’s scoring was provided by Jeremy Dehner, who has three goals this year, on an end-to-end rush (that might be the first time in years anyone in a River Hawks sweater pulled off that feat) and Chris Auger, who seems to be heating up again. Imagine what would happen if everyone on this team were playing well at the same time. Why, Lowell might even put it in the net more than twice against a team that allows as many goals as it scores.

Yeah, this goes into the record book as a win for Amherst, but it should, more accurately, go in as a not-loss. Lowell, however, should still get the L.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2010 7:01 pm

    Need a smart, well played rebound win tonight Lowell.

  2. smitty permalink
    January 17, 2010 3:00 pm

    What game did you watch? Lowell dominated the second period but amherst dominated the first and parts of the third. They deserved to win that game. This whole post is sour grapes. You complain about taking five penalties but so did amherst!

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