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Weekend preview: Make like a tree and get outta here

October 28, 2010

The Lowell River Hawks (1-2-2, 1-2-0 HE) vs. the No. 5 Boston University Terriers (4-0-1, 2-0-1 HE)

7 p.m. Friday at Tsongas Center, Lowell, Massachusetts.
7 p.m. Saturday at Agganis Arena, Boston, Massachusetts.

Lowell is tied for third in Hockey East with two points from three games. BU is first in Hockey East with five points from three games.

Last three games
Lowell — 1-3 vs. Northeastern, 5-4 (ot) vs. Providence, 4-4 (ot) at RIT
BU — 2-1 vs. Providence, 4-3 at Amherst, 2-2 vs. Amherst

Prior meetings
Lowell trails BU 18-64-8, all-time.

Season series
Nothing to report.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Chad Ruhwedel — 5 GP, 1-5-6 (3 GP, 1-2-3 HE)
Riley Wetmore — 5, 2-2-4 (3, 1-1-2)
Scott Campbell — 5, 2-1-3 (3, 1-1-2)
David Vallorani — 5, 1-2-3 (3, 0-1-1)
Josh Holmstrom — 5, 0-0-3 (3, 0-1-1)

BU:
Sahir Gill — 5 GP, 2-4-6 (3 GP, 1-0-1 HE)
Joe Pereira — 5, 4-1-5 (3, 1-1-2)
David Warsofsky — 5, 2-3-5 (3, 0-0-0)
Charlie Coyle — 5, 2-3-5 (3, 1-2-3)
Chris Connolly — 5, 1-4-5 (3, 1-2-3)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Marc Boulanger (0-1-1) — 3 GP, 163:40, 3.67 GAA/.882 sv% (2 GP, 99:48, 3.61 GAA/.882 sv% HE)
Doug Carr (1-1-1) — 3, 145:36, 4.12/.888 (2, 80:36, 5.96/.849)

BU:
Kieran Millan (3-0-1) — 4 GP, 244:57, 2.20 GAA/.927 sv% (3 GP, 184:57, 1.95 GAA/.938 sv% HE)
Grant Rollheiser (1-0-0) — 1 GP, 60:00, 4.00/.882 (no stats HE)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (5 games) — 14 goals for (2.80/gm), 21 goals against (4.20/gm). Power play 5/28 (17.9%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 12/18 (66.7%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (3 games) — 8 goals for (2.67/gm), 15 goals against (5.00/gm). Power play 4/16 (25.0%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 7/9 (77.8%, 0 SHGF)

BU:
Overall (3 games) — 17 goals for (3.40/gm), 13 goals against (2.60/gm). Power play 4/21 (19.0%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 24/27 (88.9%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (3 games) — 8 goals for (2.67/gm), 6 goals against (2.00/gm). Power play 1/12 (8.3%, 0 SHGA), penalty kill 14/15 (93.3%, 0 SHGF)

Outlook
Those Lowell fans among us who have been around more than a few years will recall the struggles the Chiefs and River Hawks have had with BU over the course of their history. While the newer among us might look at Lowell’s record over the last, say, five years against the Terriers and say, “Well they may be well below .500 in that time, but Lowell was in most of them,” what they’re about to see this weekend is a window to the horrible past.

Lowell has a history of getting regularly shellacked by BU in a way it has against few other teams. Without actually looking up the numbers, we’d wager that of all the teams in Hockey East, no one has a better record or ratio of goals scored and allowed against Lowell than BU. Honestly, it can’t even be especially close. In fact, Lowell would have to win its next 46 consecutive tilts with the Terriers just to climb back to .500 all-time. And that run sure as hell isn’t going to start this weekend.

Two games with a Terriers team that defends staunchly and seems to have a bit of goalscoring about it? That’s just what Lowell didn’t need right now. We’ve privately discussed scorelines of 6-1 and 5-0 or otherwise ugly results for Lowell this weekend, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it get quite a bit worse than that. BU’s undefeated and have a couple guys who are picking up points for fun, and against Lowell’s goaltending situation, that’s something that could get messy in a hurry.

And it gets no easier on the back end, where Kieran Millan is once again turning in competent performances. How much this has to do with the solid defensive corps in front of him is something we’ve yet to determine, but we’ll get a close-up look at whether the goaltending has improved enough to make this team a legitimate NCAA contender once again. At the very least, he should be able to hold Lowell to just two or three goals on the weekend if all goes as planned.

But these are the games we knew we’d have to sit through, right? Gotta live through this replay of four years ago to get back to the future.

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