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Weekend preview: Not something you hear from us often

October 14, 2010

The Lowell River Hawks (0-1-0, 0-1-0 HE) vs. the Niagara Purple Eagles (0-0-1, 0-0-0 AH) and the RIT Tigers (0-2-0, 0-0-0 AH)

7:05 p.m. Friday at Dwyer Arena, Niagara Falls, New York.
7:05 p.m. Saturday at Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, New York.

Lowell is tied for last in Hockey East with 0 points from one game. Neither Niagara nor RIT have played a league game yet.

Last three games
Lowell — 2-8 at Maine, 3-0 vs. St. Francis Xavier (exh.)
Niagara — 4-4 vs. Merrimack, 9-0 vs. York (exh.)
RIT — 3-5 at Nebraska-Omaha, 1-3 vs. St. Cloud, 3-1 vs. Wilfrid Laurier (exh.)

Prior meetings
Lowell leads Niagara 6-1 and RIT 4-1, all-time.

Season series
Nothing to report.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Scott Campbell — 1 GP, 1-1-2 (1 GP, 1-1-2 HE)
Mike Budd — 1, 1-0-1 (1, 1-0-1)
Maury Edwards — 1, 0-1-1 (1, 0-1-1)
Joe Caveney — 1, 0-1-1 (1, 0-1-1)
Derek Arnold — 1, 0-1-1 (1, 0-1-1)

Niagara:
Ryan Annesley — 1 GP, 1-2-3
David Ross — 1, 1-0-1
Paul Zanette — 1, 1-0-1
Ryan Rashid — 1, 1-0-1
Jeff Hannan — 1, 0-1-1

RIT:
Andrew Favot — 2 GP, 1-1-2
Mike Janda — 1, 1-0-1
Adam Hartley — 2, 1-0-1
Tyler Brenner — 2, 1-0-1
Taylor McReynolds — 2, 0-1-1

Goaltending
Lowell:
Marc Boulanger (0-0-0) — 1 GP, 40:00, 6.00 GAA/.846 sv% (same HE)
Doug Carr (0-1-0) — 1, 20:00, 12.00/.750 (same HE)

Niagara:
Chris Noonan (0-0-1) — 1 GP, 64:58, 3.69 GAA/.892 sv%

RIT:
Jan Ropponen (0-1-0) — 1 GP, 59:31, 2.02 GAA/.939 sv%
Josh Watson (0-1-0) — 1, 59:32, 4.03/.900

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (1 game) — 2 goals for (2.00/gm), 8 goals against (8.00/gm). Power play 1/6 (16.7%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 3/4 (75.0%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (1 game) — 2 goals for (2.00/gm), 8 goals against (8.00/gm). Power play 1/6 (16.7%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 3/4 (75.0%, 0 SHGF)

Niagara:
Overall (1 game) — 4 goals for (4.00/gm), 4 goals against (4.00/gm). Power play 0/6 (0.0%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 3/4 (75.0%, 1 SHGF)

RIT:
Overall (2 games) — 4 goals for (2.00/gm), 8 goals against (4.00/gm). Power play 0/5 (0.0%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 9/12 (75.0%, 0 SHGF)

Outlook
Two more games on the road, two more chances for Lowell to disappoint us terribly. No, just kidding.

These are, instead, two more chances for Lowell to learn what college hockey is really all about. There’s the long road trips, great for team building (though psychologists say that shared traumatic experiences bring people together, so they may not need much help in that regard). There’s the hostile environments, great for steeling oneself against the pressures presented by raucous crowds. There’s…

Wait, we said all this last week and Lowell went up to Orono and got handed its lunch. So what makes this weekend any different?

Well for one thing, Niagara and RIT are no Maine. It’s unlikely that many teams in all of college hockey are like Maine, but for sure, Lowell’s opponents this weekend don’t fall anywhere near that category. Now, we only have box scores and game reports to go from, but we can’t feel too nervous about what these teams could theoretically do to Lowell. They don’t seem to have the stifling defense, having both conceded an average of four goals a game (never mind the eight-spot behind Lowell’s curtain), and they don’t show Maine’s ability to score at will, though Niagara’s hanging four on a very good Merrimack team has us a bit nervous.

It’s awful tough to call games like this right now. We not only don’t know much about the opponent, but we also know very little, beyond what a lazy shutout over a Canadian nobody school and a complete shelling in Orono can tell you. We know the Lowell power play can move the puck. We know Maury Edwards needs to get it together in a hurry. We even know Scott Campbell did pretty well last weekend despite the hideous result.

But we don’t know who starts in net — do they go back to Carr and try to help him regain his confidence, or do they give Boulanger the chance to win the job, or hell, do they rotate like the days of old? We don’t know what this team can do against squads less formidable than a very good Maine side. We don’t know what to expect from most of the players on the roster.

We’ll just keep taking this season as it comes, we suppose. Doing anything else seems kinda pointless.

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