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Friday thoughts: Head for the storm cellar

February 27, 2010

Poor Alex Beaudry.

In his career against Lowell coming into last night, Beaudry had been stellar against the River Hawks. Two games, four goals against on 56 shots, unbeaten and untied by the River Hawks. Very strong. In fact, uncharacteristically strong. Because this was Providence, after all, and Nature’s first green being its hardest hue to hold, all beauty, especially where the Friars are concerned, must wither and die and have its ashes scattered to the four corners of the earth by hurried winds.

The River Hawks saw to that with genuine ease, assaulting Beaudry with 38 shots and four goals through two periods en route to a breezy 4-0 win that was just what this team needed.

It wasn’t that Beaudry was bad, per se, he was just under siege from the first puck drop and in fact he held back the onslaught for longer than anyone could have reasonably expected.

Lowell’s first goal came on its on its second shot (and congratulations to Steve Capraro, a very nice young man, for his first-ever college goal in 103 games) but after that Beaudry held back the flood almost by himself. He stopped the next 26 shots he saw, which is a pretty good night’s work. Problem is the night wasn’t even half over. At 9:26 of the second period Scott Campbell picked up his 12th goal of the season and the game quickly turned into a bloodbath. Beaudry had been strong against the first 27 shots (though Lowell had another goal disallowed), but with the floodgates now open, Lowell began to score at will. Just 1:49 after Campbell made it 2-0, Chris Auger widened the lead again. And 4:41 after that, it was 4-0 on a goal by Jonathan Maniff.

Three goals in 6:30 on nine shots, plus another that went off the pipe. By the end of the second period, Lowell was easily carrying play and outshooting the Friars 38-18 and the third period was a formality in the same way that the second and third had been for the United States/Finland Olympic semifinal just hours before.

When the dust had settled and the game reached its logical conclusion, final shots were 51-30. And that’s a Providence 30, meaning that those shots were from everywhere on the ice and therefore not necessarily indicative of the quality of the Friars’ chances. If they get a shooting lane from the far faceoff circles they might just take the shot. And that’s not to say Carter Hutton didn’t make some pretty strong saves or anything, but if you were to ask who had the far easier night, we’ll just let this number do the talking: there was a stretch in the first period where Lowell had 12 consecutive shot attempts, another where they had 10. That’s not exactly the hallmark of a team hoping its goaltender will make big saves under duress.

There’s really not much more to say about the game. It was ugly from the start. But it was the kind of ugly Lowell needed, the kind of win Lowell hasn’t had since before the last time it played Providence. Lowell exhibited no small amount of brutality last night and all of its Hockey East competitors quaked with fear. BU, just two points up on Lowell at the start of the game, folded up its tent in a 7-3 loss to Vermont. Northeastern, one point up, blew a 3-0 lead against UNH and only salvaged a draw. Maine, four points up, allowed five goals in the third against Merrimack to lose 6-3. Amherst, tied with Lowell, clawed back from a 1-0 deficit against BC but lost in overtime.

The results were as close to perfect as they could have gotten for Lowell, which is now tied for fourth with BU and Northeastern, two points down on Maine for third place. Lowell would help itself even more with a win tonight. And given the violence it visited upon the Friars last night, that doesn’t seem anything less than probable.

(Oh yeah, and by the way, we would like to extend to Myles Harvey our sincerest gratitude for reminding us exactly why we hate the gutless, cheapshotting pukes from Providence so much. Late in the game with another flurry of activity around the Friars’ net, Fayne saw fit to butt end Paul Worthington right in the midsection, sending the senior off the ice hunched over in pain, though a penalty was never called. For this heinous act he is most definitely On the Radar and, we hope, put through the glass by Nick Schaus tonight. What a scumbag.)

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