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Loose Pucks: Remember that summer in Sumatra?

October 27, 2010

Three things we’d classify as the cat’s pajamas:

1) The Tsongas Center.

Lowell’s home is now a place we can all be proud of. The video board is fantastic (we find the shot of Rowdy in front of the flames particularly awesome), the new pavilion is the definition of class and the crowds were large and lively. We’d be fools if we failed to mention the Wall of Fame – just another nice touch in what we consider to be the best arena in Hockey East.

2) Wins!

Well, a win. Nothing tops off a spectacular opening night like a big big W — except of course, a dramatic come-from-behind overtime win. Lowell was far from perfect, and we stick to our guns that this is going to be a long, brutal season. But because this team is going to have to find ways to scrape wins together, getting the first one during the home opener felt super.

3) Excellent freshmen.

The River Hawks have had their fair share of great players over the past couple of years. Obviously when you graduate a large class like Lowell has, you’re wagering large that the recruiting will pay off on a few of the players in a big way. Wel;, don’t look now but the ‘Hawks have some serious talent in this freshman class. We love everything about Chad Ruhwedel. We love Pendenza’s speed and tenacity. We love the pure ability and scoring touch of Derek Arnold. We love Shane Thompson’s… well, we’ll figure that one out down the road. We think this group has a lot of talent, and it should be a fun four years with this group.

Two things that can sit on it:

1) The Tsongas Center’s problems.

For all the good, there’s still plenty that needs to be worked on. With the change in location of the student section, you’d think the promotion staff would have a sign or banner pointing out the correct location. Not so much. What they did do, was have security ruin the first and second period of the Providence game by routinely kicking out kids who sat in the old student section, not caring that there was a hockey game going on and the rest of the paying customers couldn’t see. Additionally, as of last weekend there was no Fried Dough Stand or Nutty Bavarian. Unacceptable. 

2) Lack of scoring.

While this hasn’t been a consistent problem so far this season, the inability to put the puck in the net reared its ugly head again on Saturday. Lowell peppered Chris Rawlings with 40 shots, but could only manage to get one of them by the kid. This is an issue that has plagued the River Hawks for years, and we hope it’s not a concern that we have to become re-accustomed to. Besides, Give Boulanger Some Help just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Stat of the Week
The overtime win against Providence marked the third straight game in which Lowell had to play extra hockey to earn a result. The last time that happened was the 2007-08 season, when Lowell drew in three straight league contests: at UNH (2-2), hosting Amherst (3-3) and at Providence (2-2). That year, Lowell went to OT eight(!) times, but it wasn’t until the sixth extra period that they picked up their first win. That game was also a win in Lowell against Providence, 3-2.

Just like that business in Borneo, remember?
Lowell has a real rough stretch ahead of them. Two games against BU, one each against BC, UNH and Vermont before a home/home with Merrimack (and Stephane Da Costa). Points are going to be at a premium for the ‘Hawks this season, and if Lowell can find the will to scrape together a win (or two), and avoid a lengthy slide, we’ll certainly sleep better at night.

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