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Giving thanks: Got on our eatin’ pants

November 23, 2011

With Thanksgiving upon us, we thought we’d give you an extra post this week, as per tradition, and thus…

Eight things for which we are thankful
1) A fresh look.

If we’re being honest, we weren’t quite sure what to expect from a new coach. For one thing we hadn’t seen a new one for nearly a decade, and we were a little dubious that he could provide any kind of positive shift for the program in the short term. The less-than-inspiring performance in the exhibition game didn’t help matters.

But clearly the kids have bought into the new system hard and wins are coming far quicker than we’d expected. Bazin’s preferred style is immensely fun to watch and more importantly, smothering to opponents when it’s executed properly. Fortunately, Lowell has executed it properly far more often than not.

Speaking of which…

2) This good start.

With more wins on Nov. 19 than the team picked up all of last year, things have improved appreciably and immediately. The first glimpse we got of what this team could do to its opponents with the new puck possession system it runs came in Mankato in the first weekend of the season. No team had swept the Mavericks in their own building in years but Lowell did it and made it look easy. Add in a strong performance in a loss to BC, a 7-1 thrashing of BU, a sweep in Maine and an easily-predicted steamrolling of Amherst. We’ll definitely take six wins before Thanksgiving. That’s great stuff.

3) Matt Ferreira.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The way Ferreira is playing this year has been one of our favorite things to watch. He’s gone two games without a point now, but he was also instrumental in at least the first goal for Lowell on Saturday, and to have him second on the team in scoring behind only Riley Wetmore is just phenomenal. Plus his performance in Orono was one of our all-time favorite things if only because of the result it yielded. Great leadership from the senior, and hopefully we can expect more of that in the future as well.

4) The kids.

Enough can’t be said about the play of Scott Wilson and Terrence Wallin. They were made to play Lowell hockey. Wilson has shown so much skill that it’s difficult to comprehend how good he could one day be for this hockey club, and Wallin has himself showed individual moments of brilliance and mixed in a very comprehensive all-around game. Where can they go from this hot start? The sky may very well be the limit.

5) Sweeping Maine.

We can’t begin to tell you how important this was to us on a few levels. Are the four points great? Of course, but we feel like they should count double or triple since they came in a venue where Lowell hadn’t taken that many since we were in diapers. That’s how important for us those wins were on a mental level. If beating Maine twice in a row in Alfond is possible, we’re left to wonder what else this team can achieve in the next few years. The possibilities that have been opened to us just seem limitless.

6) Doug Carr.

It’s really nice having a strong performance out of Carr after he struggled so much last year. Not that we really hung much of that on him, necessarily, since the whole team was bad, but this kind of rebound has been really great to see. As of today he’s among the best goaltenders in the conference and has rewarded our confidence in his abilities with five wins in six games. The team plays so well in front of him that we can’t even imagine where people would begin to think that’s a coincidence. He’s been at once understated and phenomenal, and we weep for whichever poor opponent he chooses to actually stand on his head against. They may never score again.

7) The continuing emergence of Riley Wetmore.

When he wants to be, he’s the most dominant power forward in Hockey East, and he can do anything he wants. He’s big, strong, physical, and immensely skilled, capable of scoring as he pleases. Want proof? Go look up his goal against Amherst on Saturday: Started behind the net, put a backhand on net, worked past two defenders as if they weren’t even there, turned, got his own rebound and scored on the forehand. It was unbelievable

8) The future.

It’s also really important to remember that the success this team has had so far this year has come largely on the shoulders of work by players who are freshmen, sophomores and juniors. The only seniors who are regular contributors are David Vallorani, Mike Budd and obviously Matt Ferreira. That means everyone else has at least one year left after this one, and most of them have three or more. With the way they’re playing now and what a pleasure they are to watch, the next few years should be fun.

Have a good Thanksgiving, gang. We’ll see ya tomorrow.

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