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Friday preview: Here we go again

October 7, 2010

The Lowell River Hawks (0-0-0, 0-0-0 HE) vs. the No. 7 Maine Black Bears (0-0-0, 0-0-0 HE)

7 p.m. Friday at Alfond Arena, Orono, Maine.

Lowell and Maine both tied with BU for third in Hockey East with 28 points from 27 games.

Last three games
Lowell — 3-0 vs. St. Francis Xavier (exh.)
Maine — 5-1 vs. Acadia (exh.)

Prior meetings
Lowell trails Maine 29-71-3, all-time.

Season series
Nothing to report.

Top scorers
Lowell:
None

Maine:
None

Goaltending
Lowell:
None

Maine:
None

Team stats
Lowell:
None

Maine:
None

Outlook
In theory, this is going to get ugly in a hurry.

A Lowell team that is almost totally bereft of notable experience as far as the whole roster goes, heads up to Alfond damn Arena for the first game of what may very well prove to be a horrifying campaign to be watched exclusively through the cracks in River Hawk fans’ fingers.

It seems almost a cruel joke by the Hockey East schedule makers that Lowell would have to return to the site of the most humiliating defeat in its history, a house of horrors pretty much unrivaled since the program jumped to Division 1. “This,” they seem to say, “is what you get for having the audacity to almost be good that one time.”

And so now it’s the Black Bears, because who else was it going to be? Lowell’s young goalies will be assailed by the likes of Gustav Nyquist and Brian Flynn and Tanner House, who on their best days could torture even the most experienced of netminders. Could be Doug Carr getting the start and trying to survive that hail of rubber bullets. Could be Jeff Boulanger dropped straight onto the hostile Orono and asked to play two periods beneath a seething crowd of angry Mainuhs, probing for any way into his head short of actually using a crowbar.

It’ll definitely be Derek Arnold trying to solve a Maine defense that’s much tougher than any he’s ever faced before. It’ll definitely be Shayne Thompson bumping shoulders along the boards with forwards bigger, meaner and better than anyone playing in Junior A. It’ll definitely be Chad Ruhwedel trying to corral a slam-dunk Hobey Baker nominee.

Not that there isn’t some experience. David Vallorani and Scott Campbell and Maury Edwards and Ryan Blair have all been up to Orono. They’ve all won a surprising number of games there for Lowell fans, at least when viewed historically. And it will be their job, along with the coaching staff’s, to impart the wisdom of how to silence the crowd, stymie the opposition and slay the beast in the most inscrutable building in Hockey East.

This is a baptism by fire if there ever was one. One gets the feeling that any kind of solid performance in that building should count as some sort of win. Of course, if the goal is “don’t get blown out,” then that’s setting the bar a bit low, even by the standards of these already-low expectations.

But by this time Saturday, we’ll know this team’s mettle one way or another, and we’ll have a slightly better idea of what to expect going forward.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Monty permalink
    October 7, 2010 5:46 pm

    If nothing else, they learn quickly what HE home-ice means, as this is the toughest arena to play in as far as I’m concerned. For the freshmen, just play to the best of your abilities at this point … better nights will come.

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