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Saturday thoughts: One bad minute

February 28, 2010

There were stretches of last night’s game where Lowell looked like the team from Friday night.

The River Hawks were dominant, they beat Providence to every puck, they got it to the net quickly and effectively, and they were able to control every aspect of the game. That kind of play made up about 60 percent of the night, and that’s why the effort wasn’t nearly enough to earn the win this team so desperately needed.

It would be one thing if Lowell played badly for the majority of the game and won. We’d have less beef than what actually happened: playing well for the majority of the game and managing just a draw, splitting the season series with the runaway worst team in Hockey East. It wasn’t that the Friars did anything particularly well either. Lowell was often able to exploit their mistimed line changes to get odd-man rushes (this is, in fact, what led to Scott Campbell’s second-period goal) and Providence usually seemed a half-step behind the play.

But recognition is owed to Providence for doing a couple things well: it blocked 18 shots (Lowell, to its credit, blocked 15) and typically directed those blocks to safe areas. Take, for example, a second-period power play in which Lowell attempted four shots, only one of which got to the net because Providence blocked-and-cleared three others. It also dictated the pace of the game, and in scoring greasy goals twice in 29 seconds, put Lowell in an uncomfortable spot.

But the main reason Lowell didn’t win is that it made far too many mistakes. Alex Beaudry was fighting the puck something fierce in the first period, and every shot produced a good-sized rebound that could have created additional opportunities if only a Lowell player was there to sweep up the pieces, but there was never a River Hawk within two sticks’ lengths of the puck and Providence was able to ferry it out of trouble with ease each time. Lowell also missed a number of wide-open, yawning nets, and it was most notably Kory Falite missing two (and not missing and getting the puck saved, but easy tap-in goals that were put well wide) that cost the River Hawks the game.

Nick Schaus also over-committed to the puck carrier on Providence’s second goal, allowing an easy goal for the Friars. Lowell was also without Maury Edwards (mild concussion) and Scott Campbell was very obviously in discomfort for the majority of the game with an injury to the right side of his body, be it in his shoulder or abdomen. At one point Campbell won a draw waited for a stoppage in play and then hustled down the hallway to the dressing room to have his issues addressed.

We can give Lowell credit for working its way back into the game, but it never should have been in that situation in the first place, and it completely went away in the latter stages of the third period and overtime. From the last five minutes of the third until the final buzzer, Providence outattempted Lowell 17-7, and that’s completely unacceptable.

It’s hard to look at a three-point weekend as one that was not entirely successful, but here we are. This was the worst team in the league taking up arms against a Lowell side with everything to play for, and after Lowell won the first leg of the home-and-home so convincingly, we figured it was perfectly reasonable to expect no less than four points, which is what we’d called for on Thursday. And now, thanks to just three points instead of four, Lowell becomes increasingly dependent upon other teams to secure a home ice berth.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Mary Sunday permalink
    February 28, 2010 7:20 pm

    Where my dogsies at dogsie?!?

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