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Saturday thoughts: Okay get excited then

January 24, 2010

Well that’s more like it.

Lowell played about 50 minutes of good, solid hockey in an evenly-played and exciting hockey game. It was all the good stuff from the last few weeks and none of the bad stuff. For what more could we possibly ask?

Well to begin with, we’d have preferred a better start, for obvious reasons. BC took it to Lowell right out of the gates, putting six shots on net to Lowell’s two, hitting a pipe, and drawing a penalty on Maury Edwards about eight minutes in. This was a very nervy time for us, as we’d seen this little song and dance play out before. Lowell gets dominated, Lowell goes to the box, Lowell concedes a power play goal. Like clockwork.

Except… what’s this? Despite BC pressuring to the tune of four shot attempts, only one got on net and Edwards escaped the penalty box after the full two minutes had run its course. This was not the kind of thing to which we had grown accustomed. After that, Lowell very much carried play in the period and actually escaped with a 9-8 shot advantage, meaning that after the expiration of Edwards’ penalty, it outshot BC 6-2 (though Lowell also had the benefit of a power play in which it put four shots on John Muse).

Now normally a nine-shot period would be nothing over which to jump up and down in celebration but this was an offensively-skilled BC team (their breakouts were both beautiful and incisive all night) and this was a Lowell side that hadn’t quite played with anything resembling aplomb in all three of attack, defense and discipline for a while. So we happily accepted the better of play in the period and a goalless scoreline.

The second period was where Lowell began to actually take over the game, though once again not really in the shot differential department. Totals were 10-9 but Lowell once again marshaled itself well in the defensive zone and made timely and judicious decisions with the puck in transition. In this way it drew penalties and while not outwardly dominating play in the ways it did in the early stages against, say, Merrimack last night or Northeastern two weeks ago, it was at least denying BC chances of its own. Baby steps are still steps, after all.

And then Mike Budd took a dopey hooking call late in the period and we had that same feeling wash over us again. Surely a Mike Budd penalty would result in a goal for Boston College. How could it not? But about 40 seconds into said penalty kill, Scott Campbell broke up a pass attempt and, with Chris Auger, broke up ice. Auger received a pass at the attacking blue line and was promptly mauled by Carl Sneep, and that was the end of the Lowell PK. So let’s review: two penalties called against Lowell, one of which was on Budd, and it resulted in exactly one BC shot and a BC penalty. This was the point at which we began to feel that Lowell might just cobble together a complete effort. Eventually Scott Campbell scored late in the period just four seconds after a BC penalty expired and as we alluded, the 1-0 lead was well-deserved.

The third period, despite the apparent evenness in goalscoring and, once again, shots, was pretty much all Lowell. Some might disagree with that, but if you can think of a 50-50 puck to which Lowell didn’t arrive first, or for which it did not win a battle, we’d like to hear about it. Case in point: Lowell’s on a penalty kill and softly dumps it behind BC’s net. Both Paul Worthington, who later scored a cracker of a semi-breakaway goal to put Lowell up for good, and Ben Holmstrom pour into the attacking zone in pursuit and eventually Holmstrom ties it up in the corner against three Eagles and holds his ground for a good 10 or 15 seconds. It’s little things like that, and two or three big hits at the start of the second, and dominating at the faceoff dot at a 61.3 percent clip, that add up to wins.

If the difference was indeed as simple as determination, then we’d love to see that determination carry on for the rest of the season. Perhaps the Amherst sweep was a bit of a wakeup call, and the Merrimack win a groggy giant lazily shaking off the cobwebs. Whatever it was, Lowell was clearly very intent on earning four points and getting back in the home ice conversation again. Perhaps this is the start of the late-season run we’d long ago abandoned as no longer possible.

P.S. This is us right now.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Spanky permalink
    January 24, 2010 2:12 pm

    Smug Hawk. Deal with it.

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