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Weekend preview: It’s like that George Thorogood album

November 25, 2010

The Lowell River Hawks (2-6-2, 2-6-0 HE) vs. the Minnesota State Mavericks (2-6-4, 2-6-2 WCHA)

7 p.m. Friday at Tsongas Center, Lowell, Massachusetts.
4 p.m. Saturday at Tsongas Center, Lowell, Massachusetts.

Lowell is tied for ninths in Hockey East with four points from 10 games. MSU is eighth in the WCHA with six points from 10 games.

Last three games
Lowell — 2-3 at Merrimack, 3-4 vs. Merrimack, 1-2 vs. UNH
MSU — 1-6 at Denver, 2-3 at Denver, 2-5 at Nebraska-Omaha

Prior meetings
Lowell leads Makato 2-1-0, all-time.

Season series
Nothing to report.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Riley Wetmore — 12 GP, 4-5-9 (10 GP, 3-4-7 HE)
David Vallorani — 12, 3-4-7 (10, 2-3-5)
Chad Ruhwedel — 12, 1-6-7 (10, 1-3-4)
Josh Holmstrom — 12, 0-6-6 (10, 0-4-4)
Joe Pendenza — 12, 5-0-5 (10, 5-0-4)

MSU:
Kurt Davis — 12 GP, 2-8-10 (10 GP, 2-6-8 WCHA)
Andrew Sackrison — 12, 2-4-6 (10, 2-2-4)
Michael Dorr — 12, 2-4-6 (10, 1-3-4)
Eriah Hayes — 12, 4-1-5 (10, 4-1-5)
Eli Zuck — 10, 3-2-5 (8, 2-1-3)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Doug Carr (2-5-1) — 9 GP, 423:09, 3.12 GAA/.910 sv% (8 GP, 358:09, 3.35 GAA/.904 sv% HE)
Marc Boulanger (0-3-1) — 6, 300:00, 3.80/.879 (5, 236:08, 3.81/.878)

MSU:
Phil Cook (2-6-2) — 10 GP, 571:20, 3.47 GAA/.898 sv% (9 GP, 506:20, 3.32 GAA/.904 sv% HE)
Austin Lee (0-0-2) — 4, 165:10, 3.27/.885 (3, 100:10, 4.79/.852)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (12 games) — 27 goals for (2.25/gm), 43 goals against (3.58/gm). Power play 10/61 (16.4%, 5 SHGA), penalty kill 39/46 (84.8%, 2 SHGF)
Hockey East (10 games) — 21 goals for (2.10/gm), 37 goals against (3.70/gm). Power play 9/49 (18.4%, 5 SHGA), penalty kill 34/37 (91.9%, 2 SHGF)

MSU:
Overall (12 games) — 29 goals for (2.42/gm), 44 goals against (3.67/gm). Power play 8/66 (12.1%, 3 SHGA), penalty kill 54/68 (79.4%, 2 SHGF)
WCHA (10 games) — 23 goals for (2.30/gm), 38 goals against (3.80/gm). Power play 7/56 (12.5%, 3 SHGA), penalty kill 49/60 (81.7%, 2 SHGF)

Outlook
In theory this is yet another weekend where Lowell could earn a few points, but let’s be honest: it probably won’t.

At the risk of running out the season like a couple of real Negative Nellies, there’s not much we can expect from this team until it shows us the little something that we saw flashes of against BU (the second game, obviously), Vermont and UNH. This is a team that (possibly) isn’t as terrible as the results would indicate, though the stats tell a considerably different story.

The good news is that Mankato is just about as bad as Lowell, with no goaltending and weak special teams. At least Lowell has the latter going in its favor, eh? That 91.9 percent penalty kill in-league is awful impressive, though the power play has given up more goals than the PK has.

MSU’s defense has been fairly abject, with two goalies “boasting” sub-.900 save percentages (though neither is as bad as Marc Boulanger) and a defense that actually keeps that puck out of the net worse than Lowell does. But they also score a little better against steeper competition, so to say that anything can be considered an advantage is, well, probably not true.

The problem with playing Mankato is we’ve seen this before. Can you actually sit back and think about the last time Lowell beat a WCHA team, no matter how bad? Well, the answer is 2002-03 at Colorado College the night after having lost to them. So that is, basically, a nice way of saying that Lowell is pretty crap against WCHA teams, and we saw nothing last week that would indicate otherwise.

We’ll say we’d like to see two points this weekend, but privately, we’d settle for a good performance.

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