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Friday thoughts: Not a good start

October 9, 2010

Well that was an abhorrent performance by any standard, but at least there’s some good news: there’s now an identifiable thing Lowell has to improve.

While the River Hawks exhibited some form of quality at times last night, it was the early minutes that killed them. Lowell surrendered goals to Maine in the first minute-plus of every period. Robbie Dee opened his account for the season just 1:09 into it. Joey Diamond put the finishing touches on his two-goal effort 1:16 in the second. Tanner House and Spencer Abbott scored 21 seconds apart, at 0:55 and 1:16 of the third period.

And that’s going to kill you every time.

We’re not necessarily upset or surprised at the results of last night’s game. After all, we warned that this is exactly the kind of thing that would occur if Lowell allowed the game to get away from it. But the problem was that it happened so early, for a confluence of reasons, that what could have been a minor disaster if the goals had come later in the night, quickly devolved into a major one.

Doug Carr did not have a good start to his career, as he gave up four goals on the first 15 or so shots he faced, and looked to be struggling in water well above his head; we’re talking TJ Massie-against-BU levels of unpreparedness. He was letting every shot rebound into the slot, which was what led to Dee’s goal and his rebound control on the Adam Shemansky was nothing short of embarrassing. He then overplayed the angle on Kyle Beattie’s game-winner and got beat five-hole on a Joey Diamond breakaway shot — from between the circles.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Carr was atrocious in his college debut. Four goals in his first 13:36. And now he’s got a 12.00 GAA and .750 save percentage for the next week.

We thought that Marc Boulanger acquitted himself better between the pipes than did Carr, though that’s faint praise if there ever was any. We don’t recall any of the four goals he gave up over two periods to have been specifically mortifying, and such is not the case with the game’s starter.

But it’s not like they had any kind of help in front of them.

Maury Edwards was, in every sense of the word, the worst player on the ice. We don’t care about the occasional poise he showed on the power play, as he was so bad in his defensive zone that we began to wonder if he knew he was meant to be the senior leader on this team. He finished the game a minus-4 but was on the ice for five goals against, including Maine’s first three. He was making bad decisions, he was standing around and he was allowing Maine players to come and go when they pleased. We expected poor performances from the freshmen tonight, but from one of the seniors? And one who happens to be a former All-American? That’s totally unacceptable. And by the way, you get bonus points if you noticed David Vallorani once last night.

We’re certainly not calling for anyone’s heads after this loss, because there were certainly highlights. For example, Lowell’s power play looked dominant at times. Particularly on its first chance of the season. Lowell’s top power play unit of Edwards, Scott Campbell, Riley Wetmore, Derek Arnold and quarterback Chris Ickert swung the puck around at breakneck speed and with expert precision. Ickert in particular looked born for the role Jeremy Dehner used to play: ladling nice little passes for Edwards and Arnold, who make up the sides of the umbrella, and occasionally bombing it himself. In fact, Ickert was probably the best River Hawk last night (though obviously that’s a relative term), escaping with a minus-2 rating despite being partnered with Edwards and thus logging big minutes.

There’s not much else to say after an effort like that. Allowing early goals that often is going to kill you, especially in a place like Orono. Now Lowell has to regroup and do all this again next week. Long road trip, sleeping in hotels, playing in a hostile environment (they’re expecting 10,000 in Rochester), and probably getting bombed out of the building.

They say that traumatic events sometimes bring people together. And if that’s true, then Lowell’s about to be the tightest-knit team in the history of organized sport.

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