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Weekend preview: Have no fear?

November 10, 2011

The Lowell River Hawks (3-3-0, 1-2-0 HE) vs. the Maine Black Bears (3-4-1, 3-3-0 HE)

7 p.m. Friday at Alfond Arena, Orono, Me.
7 p.m. Saturday at Alfond Arena, Orono, Me.

Lowell is ninth in Hockey East with two points from three games. Maine is tied for fourth in Hockey East with six points from six games.

Last three games
Lowell — 7-1 vs. BU, 3-6 at BC, 2-4 vs. BC.
Maine — 2-3 at UNH, 1-5 at BC, 3-1 vs. Providence.

Prior meetings
Lowell trails Maine 29-74-3, all-time.

Season series
Nothing to report.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Matt Ferreira — 6 GP, 3-4-7 (3 GP, 1-3-4 HE)
Joseph Pendenza — 6, 3-4-7 (3, 2-3-5)
Derek Arnold — 6, 4-2-6 (3, 2-0-2)
Riley Wetmore — 6, 3-3-6 (3, 0-1-1)
Scott Wilson — 6, 2-4-6 (3, 2-2-4)

Maine:
Spencer Abbott — 8 GP, 5-5-10 (6 GP, 4-2-6 HE)
Brian Flynn — 8, 3-7-10 (6, 2-6-8)
Joey Diamond — 7, 3-4-7 (6, 3-4-7)
Kyle Beattie — 8, 2-5-7 (6, 2-3-5)
Matt Mangene — 8, 1-5-6 (6, 1-5-6)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Doug Carr (2-1-0) — 3 GP, 179:46, 1.67 GAA/.917 sv% (1 GP, 244:00, 2.00 GAA/.886 sv% HE)
Brian Robbins (1-2-0) — 3, 137:51, 3.92/.852 (1, 16:57, 14.16/.692 sv%)
Marc Boulanger (0-0-0) — 1, 43:03, 2.79/.818 (same)

Maine:
Martin Ouellette (1-3-0) — 5 GP, 278:23, 2.80 GAA/.891 sv% (4 GP, 219:12, 2.74 GAA/.898 sv% HE)
Dan Sullivan (2-1-1) — 4, 206:41, 3.19/.882  (3, 142:04, 3.38/.879)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (6 games) — 22 goals for (3.67/gm), 17 goals against (2.83/gm). Power play 7/38 (18.4%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 20/24 (83.3%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (3 games) — 12 goals for (4.00/gm), 11 goals against (3.67/gm). Power play 3/20 (15.0%, 1 SHGA), penalty kill 11/14 (78.6%, 0 SHGF)

Maine:
Overall (8 games) — 22 goals for (2.75/gm), 24 goals against (3.00/gm). Power play 5/38 (13.2%, 5 SHGA), penalty kill 32/40 (80.0%, 0 SHGF)
Hockey East (6 games) — 18 goals for (3.00/gm), 18 goals against (3.00/gm). Power play 2/30 (6.7%, 4 SHGA), penalty kill 24/29 (82.8%, 0 SHGF)

Outlook
This will be interesting.

Maine is, by all accounts, a not-very-good team and comes into the weekend having been swept on the road by a very good BC team and also UNH. Lowell is probably a little better than its 3-3-0 record indicates, as last Saturday’s 7-1 beatdown of BU can be viewed (ACCURATELY!) as a serious statistical correction considering the team is tops in the league in both generating and preventing shots.

But that ignores that these games are being played at Alfond Arena, where statistical probability goes completely out the window. Put simply, we never watch Lowell go up to Alfond for a weekend series and expect anything better than a pair of losses. It doesn’t matter that Maine can’t score power play goals under any circumstance or that its goalies can’t stop shots especially well, Lowell historically can’t win in Orono. That’s how it goes.

Now, with that having been said, if Lowell can play, let’s say, 70 percent as well as it did in both its games at Tsongas Center so far this season, or 85 percent as well as it did in Minnesota, it’s going to roll over the Black Bears. In those four games, Lowell outshot its opponents 155-88 and appropriately outscored them 16-8. That’s about as fair as results get in those circumstances (shoot twice as much, score twice as much, etc.), but we also don’t think you can count on Lowell scoring four goals a game at Alfond, or allowing just two.

It will be of interest, as always, to see how the freshmen, most of whom have been quite good so far this season, fare going to Orono for the first time. Scott Wilson and Terrence Wallin didn’t exactly shrink from the competition against two of the more historic and successful programs in the league, and going into its what is traditionally the toughest road venue in the league, we hope that will continue.

And for the love of god, start Doug Carr both nights.

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