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Tuesday thoughts: A Nashua nightmare

October 18, 2011

“Say, I have a great idea,” said whoever put together this hideous scheduling disaster, whenever the foul idea came into their head. “We’re playing in Minnesota on Friday and Saturday. So what if we came back to Lowell as fast as we could and, instead of playing our next game during the completely vacant following weekend, we played it two days after we got home? And what if we played it in a terrible facility that seats just 1,050 people and completely sucks? I wonder if we can get the nets to come off their moorings every time you look at them crosseyed. Yes, this is a great idea!

“Oh but jeez we couldn’t go and schedule someone good, could we? Hmm. How about UConn? They’re terrible and it’s not like this will be like the Super Bowl, Champions League Final and man’s first flight to the moon all rolled into one for them! Get me whatever idiot coaches their team on the phone, we’ve got a win to schedule!”

And thus, the most embarrassing loss of the last several years at least was born.

Lowell actually lost to UConn 3-2 in overtime. We can’t believe it either.

Proponents of the team will say the River Hawks brought their up-tempo attacking style to the dismal Conway Arena and just didn’t get lucky.

Realists who watched Friday and Saturday’s gangland executions out west will say the team left their brains in Mankato.

This game was, in every way, a cacophony of bad decisions, misplayed pucks and poor timing, and that’s what led Lowell to a 3-2 scoreline that was, to be honest, flattering to the hosts.

Oh yes, the boosters are right in their belief that Lowell brought oodles of pressure from the outset, but for all the possession they had, their shots were largely limited to the perimeter and Garrett Bartus spent most of the night untested.

But aggression is only well-used if it’s approached intelligently, and Lowell clearly forgot that aspect of things. Too often guys would call for passes or carry the puck into the zone with what seemed to be an intention to, you know, do something, and then decidedly make no decision at all.

Holding passes until lanes disappeared under backchecking forwards? Check. Failing to get off a shot until a body had thrown itself into the lane? Check. Attempting to deke through two and even three guys at a time? Check. And that was just David Vallorani.

We shudder to think of the number of blocked shots UConn came up with tonight but we’d guess it’s at least as many as Lowell put on net.

Lowell’s decision-making issues extended to defense as well, as blown assignments piled up at an alarming rate and often led to penalties. Particularly guilty? Billy Eiserman, who took three penalties all by himself and seemed completely at sea more often than not. Even in his most composed moments, he at least seemed waist-deep in wide-eyed panic. He didn’t get much of a chance to climb over the boards in the third period, and that wasn’t a coincidence.

And as for the ‘Hawks giving up three to UConn? Well it would be easy to hang it on Brian Robbins, but we can’t do it in good conscience. The first was right off a draw on a turnaround shot that was lucky to have been wired to the top of the net. The second was a blown backdoor assignment on the penalty kill. The third was a listless backcheck that rolled up his right arm and into the net.

We will note that it’s good to see Riley Wetmore score again, this time from a dirty area, but if people besides him wanted to start chipping in a bit more, that would be great too. Mike Budd’s goal was fine and also off a scrum, but if all the offense you’re going to muster against a team with no scholarships is two garbage goals, then there are some far deeper problems that we don’t quite understand.

There’s not really much more to say about this game except that Lowell embarrassed themselves and did indeed look very tired. But we can’t even excuse that because it wasn’t like they didn’t know what was happening, with regard to the schedule, months ago.

Given what we saw with our own eyes from the Minnesota State series, we are almost willing to write off the loss as an exhausted and road-weary team playing an opponent that won’t play a bigger game all year. But the River Hawks were so shocking in every area against UCONN that we’ll just settle for being furious.

The good news is the team has a week and a half to figure out what went wrong before their next game. The terrible, awful, horrible news is that the game is against BC and they’re going to lose by 50 if they play anything like they did tonight.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Monty permalink
    October 19, 2011 5:19 am

    That was disappointing … is putting it mildly. Sloppy to start, picked up play at times, but between the extremely sloppy ice and the damn net going off the moorings every three seconds … just a tough game to watch all around.

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