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Saturday thoughts: Depthless

November 5, 2011

How much fun was that?

We entered this game not knowing exactly what to expect from the River Hawks. They had pressed top-ranked BC hard at Tsongas Center the previous Friday but were generally poor the following night, and BU had a bit of a reason to get motivated given two subpar performances against Amherst. And when BU scored just 16 seconds into the game, we began frantically searching for our belongings so we could beat a hasty path to the nearest exit.

But we stayed instead, and were treated to a 7-1 massacre that made the Red Wedding look like the work of generous and gracious hosts. After Corey Trivino tipped in Adam Clendenning’s point shot (and we have a theory as to why that happened: let’s just say it rhymes with Barting Bhe Beiserman Bairing), Lowell evened the contest 5:27 later. Then it took the lead it never came close to surrendering 55 seconds after that. If last Friday’s loss to Boston College was the result of Lowell having none of the finish, then this was that game completely flipped on its head. Lowell finished every opportunity it had on the way to a 7-1 win that could have been even wider if not for a disallowed goal.

Although, maybe that’s not entirely accurate. It’s really tough to determine whether Lowell just had an embarrassment of riches around the netfront and were able to pump in goal after grin-inducing goal due to their determination, or if Kieran Millan was just THAT bad. Honestly, we’re leaning toward the latter. Look, seven goals is a lot no matter how poor the opposing goaltending is, especially for a team that had a very specific problem burying a dearth second chances. But Millan was so bad — so, so, so, so, so, so bad — that it’s hard to say that Lowell’s rededication to finish was entirely the cause behind this hysterical result. His performance was so ugly, in fact, that a Dan Furlong goal scored from the corner and along the goal line elicited shrugs of acceptance from us, rather than what it probably deserved: wide-eyed incredulity.

Not that we won’t take it, of course. We will take it very happily in fact. It was in many ways the result they should have gotten against the Eagles, and then some. Once again, Lowell’s shot advantage was cavernous at 44-16. But it did the little things right in a way that was so comprehensive that we have to give credit pretty much individually.

First and foremost, how about Matt Ferreira? We said at the beginning of the year that the team needed this kid — an offensive dynamo in juniors and very much the opposite here at Lowell — to step up his game big-time. Now he has seven points in six games, three of which were assists here tonight (he also would have had the waived-off goal if not for his alleged high stick, which we’ll point out was ruled a goal by the official next to the net). Ferreira was more or less omnipresent in the attacking zone, which is good because that’s where he and linemates Joe Pendenza and Terrence Wallin spent nearly every shift. They worked the pucks masterfully along the boards, and Ferreira’s no-look backhand pass to find Pendenza streaking through the slot to open Lowell’s account was as pretty as you like. He was Lowell’s best player on the ice once again and looks to be the scoring threat we hoped he would mature into.

And speaking of his linemates: Wow. Pendenza shares Ferreira’s team lead in points at seven, five of which have come in his last three games, and none of which seem like the work of a guy who’s going to be slowing down any time soon. Incisive finish? Yes. Speed up and down the wings? Yes. Yeoman spadework along the boards? Yes. And Wallin still has to learn a few things about playing well at the college level on a nightly basis, but one thing he seems to have down already is scoring. Real swell goal from him tonight and a secondary assist on the second-period goal that blew the game wide open.

That goal, of course, was scored by Scott Wilson, who himself had a three-point night and now has six in as many games, which isn’t bad for a freshman. He just brings so much offensive poise to whichever line he’s on that it’s often difficult to remember he’s half a dozen games into his NCAA career. That’s not to say he turns in Riley Wetmore-type shifts every time he hops over the boards, but he poses a real threat most of the time, and that’s not the kind of thing you can always say about Lowell forwards.

We’re also seeing a lot more of that quality this season from Derek Arnold, who pumped in two of Lowell’s goals (the game-winner and the PAT). Both came on heavy, heavy shots. On the first one, he had literally the entire net to shoot at because Millan seriously overcommitted to a point shot from Chad Ruhwedel, and he got it off in a hurry. Nice to see him recognize the immediacy of the situation and just put everything he had behind it. The final goal was not unlike the first of the night, as Stephen Buco found him rumbling through the slot after a change and he rifled it past Grant Rollheiser, who mercifully came on in relief of Millan and acquitted himself admirably enough.

Doug Carr was also pretty good tonight, and that’s something that typically gets overlooked when a team puts up a touchdown. He had no chance to stop BU’s only goal of the game, a shot tipped upwards about three feet in front of him, and otherwise did well enough in the game’s remaining 59:44 to get in front of any of BU’s precious few Grade-A chances. One save he made that particularly overjoyed us came in the second period, when he gloved a very nice shot from BU’s 12-point, goalscoring superforward Matt Nieto, who was looking to tie Chris Drury’s school record for consecutive games with a goal. Nieto may have been BU’s best player in any respect, but he and his teammate’s never mustered a chance better than that, and Carr was more than up for stopping it, and spoiling Nieto’s 19th birthday on that and any subsequent, lesser chances he generated. It’s not easy for a goalie to make saves when he sees just 16 shots in a game, but Carr made them no matter how steeply Lowell tilted the ice after the opening gaffe. Very strong game from the kid who is clearly the team’s No. 1 netminder.

And of course, we have to give all the plaudits in the world to Kieran Millan, without whom Lowell wouldn’t have accomplished any of this.

But maybe that goes without saying.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Monty permalink
    November 6, 2011 5:12 pm

    Wonderful win. It’s been a long long long long time since we’ve walked away from a Lowell game, not only with a win … but a win that was so one-sided, there was no fear in the third period at all about this game being blown.

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