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Saturday thoughts: They’re baaaaaaaack

March 14, 2010

Some free hockey tips for those of you, like Lowell apparently, that are unfamiliar with how to win games:

  1. Do not give up an ugly goal 23 seconds into the game when on the road.
  2. Do not give eight power plays to the team with the best power play in the nation.
  3. When you get three breakaways in a game, try scoring on one of them.
  4. Get more than 23 shots on goal.
  5. When we said Barry Goers took a good penalty on Friday, that didn’t mean we wanted everyone on the team to test what else we thought qualified as “good.”

We’d have thought you guys would know that by now, but apparently we’re once again dealing with the Lowell team that played from Jan. 29 to Feb. 19, so we thought it important to just go over some basics again.

You see, the thing is this: we don’t know what could possibly have changed between Friday night, when Lowell dominated the game and earned a 2-1 result that made Maine look far better than it was, and Saturday night, when Lowell was as inadequate in every facet imaginable as it has been all season.

It wasn’t that Maine played better tonight than it did last night, though it certainly had good moments as compared to the barren waste of a game on Friday, it’s that Lowell absolutely and positively did nothing that could even be construed as constructive despite ample opportunity to do so.

For instance: Maine gave Lowell five power plays and held them 0 for 5. No heroic feat given Lowell’s subpar play with the man advantage this year, but why don’t you go ahead and guess what the shot differential was during those 10 minutes? Did you guess five apiece? Of course you didn’t, because you would never assume that not only would a team with five power plays average a shot every two minutes, but they would CERTAINLY not give up an equal number of shots. No team could that embarrassingly bad, right?

No that team is Lowell. Lowell played that terribly tonight.

And the penalties the River Hawks took! You would think they were the Mighty Ducks in the District 5 days, before Gordon Bombay took over behind the bench. Let’s just run down the laundry list and go through the individual ways in which they were stupid:

The first of two Mike Budd penalties (two minutes for cross checking, 0:40 of the first period) was uniquely stupid because it came just 17 seconds after Maine scored the go-ahead goal less than half a minute into the game. No better way to put a team back in its place after it gets a quick goal than to give it a power play immediately, right Mikey?

The first of two Ben Holmstrom penalties (two minutes for interference, 6:34 of the first period) wasn’t so much a bad penalty — he engaged a Maine forward at the side of the net — as it was one that was always going to be noticed by the referees. If you shove a guy to the ice within two feet of the crease and the puck on the far wing, you’re asking for trouble. Great job by the captain here.

Steve Capraro’s lone penalty (two minutes for holding, 6:45 of the first period) was stupid because it gave Maine a two-man advantagefor 1:49. That, by the way, was the point at which we knew this game was a lost cause. Lowell clearly had its collective focus elsewhere, though on what we can’t, nay, won’t imagine.

And finally we come to the first Lowell penalty that was not ridiculous and costly, as Barry Goers (two minutes for hooking, 15:55 of the first period) was simply playing his position when Joey Diamond, who by the way is a scumbag, skated backwards into him and dove hilariously. It was so hilarious, in fact, that Diamond was assessed penalty for embellishing.

Ben Holmstrom’s second penalty (two minutes for interference, 11:59 of the second period) was only bad because that was the power play on which Maine scored the insurance goal it never actually needed.

Mike Budd’s second penalty (two minutes for interference, 17:01 of the second period) was such a clear and stupid hit on a guy 20 feet from the puck that several of the dimmer species of housecat would have had its paw up signaling a delayed call. “That’s sort of a mental mistake,” noted the color commentator on the broadcast, which, incidentally, will be the title of Mike Budd’s biography.

Kory Falite’s penalty (two minutes for high sticking, 9:50 of the third period) was remarkably daft because it came well after Diamond had folded up Nick Schaus with a hit from behind, that was actually just called boarding. We understand Falite sticking up for his teammates but no one on the planet didn’t see that tradeoff as a win for Maine, given how much of a Black Bear killer Falite has been historically — though not in this series — and how much of a cheap piece of garbage agitator with no other discernible skill Diamond is. Oh and it negated a power play for a team trailing by two goals with just over 10 minutes to go in the game. That too.

Maury Edwards’ penalty (two minutes for elbowing, 14:11 of the third period) was not only obvious, but was also not especially close to the play. And it put Lowell shorthanded with under six minutes to go in a game in which it trailed by two. Pretty great stuff from the former All-American, yessir.

Riley Wetmore’s penalty (two minutes for holding, 15:59 of the third period) was dimwitted because, of course, it gave Maine another 5-on-3 power play, though only for 12 seconds, and allowing Maine to drain another two minutes off the clock with relatively little challenge, although whether or not they would have faced one even with the River Hawks at full strength is debatable.

And finally, the coup de grace, Chris Auger’s penalty (two minutes for interference, 16:33 of the third period) gave Maine yet another two-man advantage, ran two minutes off the clock, and was the third penalty in two minutes and 22 seconds. It also effectively underscored just what a disaster the game had grown into for Lowell.

    There was absolutely, positively nothing to like about this game.

    For those wondering about the disallowed goal for the River Hawks, don’t worry, it was a legitimate call. The whistle had clearly blown before the puck crossed the line, though why it blew is anyone’s guess. Unfair? Perhaps, but not the incorrect call.

    Oh and also Mike Cornell’s crosschecking penalty should have been five and a game, because that was ridiculous and intent to injure. There could never have been a point at which he saw anything but the numbers on the back of Colin Wright’s jersey.

    See ya tomorrow for the last game of the season.

    P.S. Has anyone seen Scott Campbell?

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