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Weekend preview: Leave your legacy

March 4, 2010

The Lowell River Hawks (17-14-3, 11-11-3 HE) vs. the No. 16 Vermont Catamounts (15-11-6, 9-10-6 HE)

7 p.m. Friday at Tsongas Center, Lowell, Mass.
7 p.m. Saturday at Tsongas Center, Lowell, Mass.

Lowell is tied for fourth in Hockey East with 25 points from 25 games and Vermont tied for fifth in Hockey East with 24 points from 25 games.

Last three games
Lowell — 2-2 (ot) at Providence, 4-0 vs. Providence, 4-2 at Maine
Vermont — 3-2 vs. BU, 7-3 vs. BU, 3-3 (ot) at UNH

Prior meetings
Lowell trails Vermont 11-12-3, all-time.

Season series
Lowell drew the Catamounts 3-3 on Nov. 6.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Kory Falite — 34 GP, 17-14-31 (25 GP, 11-10-21 HE)
Scott Campbell — 34, 13-16-29 (25, 9-11-20)
David Vallorani — 34, 9-15-24 (25, 6-11-17)
Nick Schaus — 32, 4-18-22 (25, 3-13-16)
Chris Auger — 31, 7-14-21 (25, 7-13-20)

Vermont:
Brayden Irwin — 32 GP, 14-19-33 (25 GP, 10-14-24 HE)
Colin Vock — 32, 10-16-26 (25, 8-11-19)
Brian Roloff — 32, 8-17-25 (25, 5-14-19)
Jack Downing — 29, 9-12-21 (22, 5-10-15)
Wahsontiio Stacey — 19, 9-9-18 (13, 7-6-13)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Carter Hutton (11-10-1) — 22 GP, 1,304:44 minutes, 2.12 GAA/.927 sv% (16 GP, 947:53 minutes, 2.47 GAA/.918 sv% HE)
Nevin Hamilton (6-4-2) — 13, 742:46, 2.91/.905 (10, 563:54, 3.09/.902 HE)

Vermont:
Rob Madore (11-9-6) — 27 GP, 1,587:50 minutes, 2.72 GAA/.906 sv% (22 GP, 1,289:08 minutes, 2.70 GAA/.904 sv% HE)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (34 games) — 104 goals for (3.06/gm), 83 goals against (2.44/gm). Power play 32/158 (20.3%, 4 SHGA), penalty kill 121/148 (81.8%, 1 SHGF)
Hockey East (25 games) — 76 goals for (3.04/gm), 69 goal against (2.76/gm). Power play 23/117 (19.7%, 4 SHGA), penalty kill 87/110 (79.1%, 0 SHGF)

Vermont:
Overall (32 games) — 102 goals for (3.19/gm), 93 goals against (2.91/gm). Power play 25/134 (18.7%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 125/156 (80.1%, 1 SHGF)
HE (25 games) — 75 goals for (3.00/gm), 76 goals against (3.04/gm). Power play 18/102 (17.6%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 98/125 (78.4%, 1 SHGF)

Outlook
It all comes down to this.

With the dream of a regular-season title having evaporated in early December, and the hope for a guaranteed NCAA tournament bid smeared by the perilous rocks of  not long after that, the final campaign for Lowell’s beleaguered seniors was battered almost beyond repair. But, through some stroke of fortune, a season of great promise squandered can be half-salvaged.

The league as a whole was just as perhaps worse than we expected it to be but we didn’t think Lowell would be mixed up in that “bad” category. And, to a certain extent, it’s not. Unlike BU and Northeastern, it is capable of securing home ice without help from anyone else in the league. Four points may be a big ask given that Vermont has taken five of eight points from BU and UNH in their last four games (and forced OT in both games it didn’t win), but it’s the only ask we can muster.

For Lowell to not win home ice at all would be disastrous, not only for all the goodwill the program has built up in the community, but also personally. These seniors have worked for nearly four full seasons for this moment.

The River Hawks have defended the Tsongas Arena/Center this season like the fortress it should be, winning eight of its 12 Hockey East games and outscoring opponents 44-29 in those contests. It’s the kind of building where teams can no longer go in banking on an easy win (road games, of course, are a different story, as Lowell is 3-7-3 in-league away from home).

And if all that stand between the River Hawks and home ice is a team to which it hasn’t lost in over 16 months, well then that’s more than enough convincing for us. The phrase “must-win” gets tossed around annoyingly often, but this is as close to a must-win as Lowell will ever get in the regular season.

You say you want to leave a legacy, boys? Four points and the first home playoff series in eight years is a nice way to start.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2010 5:16 am

    8 years. but who’s counting.

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