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Saturday thoughts: The Lyceum Address

January 17, 2010

In January of 1838, just a few months after moving from his pioneer village to Springfield, Illinois, a 28-year-old Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech at a meeting of the Young Men’s Lyceum, which first earned him his deserved acclaim as an one of the great orators and thinkers of his time.

The speech, which became known as the Lyceum Address, was about the threats facing America that could eventually tear it down. By this time, the burgeoning young country, just barely over 60 years old, had grown strong and was a fearsome power that none dared oppose. The threat, Lincoln correctly pointed out, was therefore not foreign, but domestic.

“At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.”

It’s a very odd thing to say that Lowell completely dominated Amherst because, if you look at the score, there’s no way you should only score once in a game in which you “completely dominated.” But we saw the game and we think we’re being pretty objective when we say that Amherst should have lost by about four goals and never been close.

Lowell scored just a few seconds into the game, but the goal was taken back because this is, after all, Hockey East and there was no way any goal by a River Hawk is going to stand up to the scrutiny of video replay because that’s just not how things go. And from just about that point on, Lowell, which suffers, we think, more from a crisis of confidence than anything else at this point, was resigned to its offensive fate.

This team, which came with so much promise, is now officially done. And destruction, then, is Lowell’s lot after all. We’ve said many times this year that the losses on the schedule have not been fair results for the team, which deserves to have won far more than its 12 wins to date. This was indeed one of those games, and the same is true, though less so, of Friday’s game.

There is no earthly reason for Amherst to have won that game of its own accord. The Minutemen were on their heels from the get-go, scoring once in transition early in the first period and then not doing so again for more than 50 minutes, and even then needing a 5-on-3 power play complete the task with just over a minute on the clock. This wasn’t some mutual-strangulation defensive struggle, and it sure wasn’t pretty. Amherst was pretty much useless in attack until Lowell took its typical string of 30 third-period penalties which once again cost it the game.

Shots through two periods were an absurdly lopsided 24-6 in Lowell’s favor. For the entire game, Lowell put on a shotblocking clinic, getting in front of 19 attempts from the Minutemen and, even in the third period filled with penalties, allowed just nine shots despite 6:56 of PK time, over a third of a period.

Lowell was indomitable in this game. While there were moments of concern, of course, this never struck us as a game Lowell would actually lose until it took the back-to-back penalties, bordering on moronic, in the game’s dying minutes.

But this is what Lowell has done. Home ice may not look, or indeed be, impossible at this point, but not team with any aspirations of a league title, let alone a cup, can come through these games having so many times shot itself in the foot. There are games one can chalk up as “learning experiences,” not to be repeated again, and there are games where you must accept that these learning experiences are no longer lessons being taught but rather just the way events will run their course from now until forever.

We are, of course, upset that Lowell has now been swept by a not-so-good Amherst team, and that its repugnant fans can act as though their program is better than Lowell’s with a semi-legitimate argument at least until Lowell actually does something to once again separate wheat from chaff (as for when that will be, who knows?). But we’re more upset that this was not Amherst’s doing. It was almost a bystander as Lowell laid itself to an uncomfortable rest.

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

As true today as it was in 170 years ago.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt (OutlawPete) permalink
    January 17, 2010 6:25 pm

    keep saying we didn’t deserve it. we still won.

    • RHHB permalink*
      January 17, 2010 6:26 pm

      right, but you (where “you” does not mean you so much as it does the team you support) didn’t deserve to do so.

  2. Smitty permalink
    January 17, 2010 6:39 pm

    Agree and disagree. I was at both games, and I completely agree with you in that Lowell dominated most of that game (most notably the second period) last night. Statistically, Lowell was absolutely the best team on the ice. But you talk out of both sides of your mouth. You claim Lowell was the better team on the ice in both games, even though Friday, despite getting outshot and trailing for much of the game. You can call Amherst not so good, but that’s just biased and untrue.

    • RHHB permalink*
      January 17, 2010 6:44 pm

      lowell’s lack of discipline giftwrapped both games for amherst. you’re welcome, by the way.

  3. Ryan permalink
    January 17, 2010 7:13 pm

    You say “There is no earthly reason for Amherst to have won that game of its own accord.” I think Paul Dainton would disagree with you.

  4. Ryan permalink
    January 17, 2010 7:24 pm

    I also love your comments about this being a “not so good Amherst team.” James Marcou leads the country in points, and Wellman is tied for first in goals scored. Dainton outplayed both Hutton and Hamilton this weekend, and Lowell’s powerplay is absolutely horrendous going 0/10 on the weekend. I’m not saying UMass’ powerplay is amazing, but id take our total of almost 25% success to Lowell’s 20.9. You simply cannot write that Lowell is a better team than UMass. Where were your key guys this weekend like Falite, Schaus, and Scheu? That’s right, I didn’t see them either besides Schaus in the box a couple of times. Instead we watched as guys like Dehner and Auger played well and did their part, but this supposedly so good Lowell team watched as two guys worked their asses off without any support. All I can say is, have fun sitting in 22nd place in the pairwise, it’s gonna be a big mountain to climb fellas.

  5. stevo permalink
    January 17, 2010 7:49 pm

    The one thing that Umass is very good is selling penalties, they fall down, buckel at the knees, and basically play like a girls team.
    (ouch he hit me). They will be found out in the stretch. I have a funny feeling that they will play Lowell in the first round, and it wont matter who has home ice.

    • Ryan permalink
      January 17, 2010 7:51 pm

      ya your right especially since we swept you this weekend we will win in the playoffs at either venue. you obviously don’t watch much college hockey when you talk about selling penalties as the only one I can think of is the Edwards highstick against Marcou. Clearly there was head contact which is a penalty, regardless of how good or not Marcou “sold” it. I’m sure you are one of those guys who told Chay Genoway to get up and skate it off to weren’t you!?

  6. dan permalink
    January 17, 2010 9:23 pm

    Marcou collided with a stationary Maury Edwards. It looked like it hurt, and I almost felt bad for him as he was crying on the ice, until he got up and played like nothing happened, not even missing a shift. It obviously wasn’t that bad. I’m glad they finally called him for embellishment, since he tried diving on and drawing at least 3 weak penalties

    • January 17, 2010 10:17 pm

      they called him for embellishment….on a play where his face was bleeding and he had to go to the locker room to get the cut cleaned. that makes sense.

  7. January 18, 2010 6:38 am

    No love for Paul Dainton*?

    • RHHB permalink*
      January 18, 2010 6:41 am

      no, and none for anyone else. this post was obviously about the failures of a group rather than any individuals.

  8. Keith permalink
    January 18, 2010 7:58 pm

    I am disheartened and a little disillusioned by a team, with what appears on paper and by my (non-expert) visual observations, loaded with potential. Expectations for this season, as we all know, were high; meeting expectations set by others often results is disappointment. The season is not over yet over, although will be quickly. I will forever continue to support Lowell’s program, grit and recruiting efforts.

    I only wish what appears to be a lack of discipline and commitment as a team could be honestly addressed and realigned. This team’s inconsistent play, period to period, game to game, seems to do have an underlying physiological component, in my non-professional opinion. If this is true and is not addressed, such issues will continue to permeate to further detriment in later contests, if not properly addressed.

    The disrespect banner, although not entirely unwarranted, is showing signs of ignoring larger factors. Respect is gained through points, wins and final standings, the rest are just a pile of excuses for losers.

    You can tell me to relax; that seems to be a common these on this blog. But some of use care about this team and its greater context and symbolic status to the city, school and program itself.

    That is all.

  9. Riverhawk permalink
    January 19, 2010 12:21 am

    Well put Keith

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