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Weekend in review: Frozen Fennui

January 9, 2012

Lowell had one game this weekend and it mattered as much as Vermont’s will in late February: Not at all. But unlike how Vermont will inevitably perform in its inconsequential games, Lowell emerged victorious in a 6-4 win over the Russian Red Stars last Thursday.

Speaking of Vermont, they were once again terrible this week, losing at Maine 3-1 on Wednesday and 3-2 in overtime to Amherst at Fenway to the shock of no people at all. Earlier in the week, Amherst drew Providence on the road, 4-4, on Thursday. In the other Fenway game, Maine beat UNH 5-4, also in overtime.

Then we have Merrimack, which finished its week with just one point from two games as it continues its plunge toward the mediocrity we all could have reasonably expected. On Friday it lost to BU 4-2 at Agganis and followed that up with a 2-all Sunday matinee draw at Boston College. BU also tied the U.S. Under 18 Team 3-all at Agganis that day, which pummeled Northeastern the previous night, 7-4.

Our Weekly Awards
Player of the Week
Malcom Lyles (junior defenseman) — Sure it was only an exhibition game and a bunch of guys on other teams played actual Hockey East games but Lowell’s worst exhibition game is more important than any other game any other team in any other part of the country will play in all year. Unless they’re playing Lowell, in which case it’s, like, tied or something? Anyway Lyles was a force in the win over the Russian Red Stars and we sure do hope he carries that into the Vermont game next week and everyone in the Green Mountain State cries.
(Honorable mention: David Vallorani, Lowell; Riley Wetmore, Lowell)

Rookie of the Week
Scott Wilson (freshman forward) — Two more points, no big deal. The kid is unbelievable.
(Honorable mention: Stephen Buco, Lowell)

Ham n Egger of the Weak
Joe Bertagna — Against our better judgment we watched every rotten second of those Fenway games and they were as dreadful as we’d expected them to be. An embarrassing day to be a fan of a team that is unfortunately associated with Hockey East. But that was not the worst part. The worst part was that Joe Bertagna went on television between games, probably as part of some sort of contractual demand, and said with a straight face that Lowell, Merrimack and Providence would like to play at Fenway one day as well, but that “at the same time you have to sell tickets.” Hmm, yes, the clamor for tickets to this year’s Frozen Fenway must surely have been the result of everyone in New England’s undying desire to take in games between the fifth- and eighth-, and ninth- and 10th- best teams in the conference. Scintillating hockey it promised, and failed to provide. Not that anyone paying attention was taken aback by the development that Maine, UNH, Vermont and Amherst are hot turd sandwiches.

After all, if you’re talking about selling tickets, let’s just have a looksie at the Hockey East home attendance stats for the year. BC and BU go first and second, respectively. Reasonable enough. UNH is third because there’s nothing to do in Durham. And hmm this is so strange. Lowell is fourth. Fourth at 5,087 fans per home date. Almost 25 percent better than the Hockey East average of 4,080. Amherst is more than 600 tickets per game behind the River Hawks at 4,448. Maine is at just 4,307. Vermont, laughably, clocks in at 3,492. So don’t tell us it’s about the ability to sell tickets.

But now we at least see Bertagna’s devilish and evil plan developing: have so many outdoor games at Fenway that no one cares about them any more, then invite the previously-shunned teams one at a time until Lowell is last and then saddle them with a who-cares opponent like the Minutemen. But then it’s at least a self-fulfilling prophecy that Bertagna can point to and say, “See Lowell didn’t sell any tickets?” while conveniently ignoring his dilution of the marketplace for any sort of outdoor hockey at all. It would all be brilliant if it wasn’t being carried out by someone who is so plainly biased.

(Honorable mention: Vermont)

Noteworthy Hockey East Weekly Awards
Hockey East took forever to put out their list and we got sick of waiting.

Weekend Results (Home team bolded)
Maine 3, Vermont 1

Lowell 6, Russian Red Stars 4 (exh.)
Providence 4, UMass Amherst 4 (OT)

BU 4, Merrimack 2

UMass Amherst 3, Vermont 2 (OT)
Maine 5, UNH 4 (OT)
U.S. Under 18 Team 7, Northeastern 4

BC 2, Merrimack 2 (OT)
BU 3, U.S. Under 18 Team 3 (OT) (exh.)

How we voted
For every home game, wants to know who your three stars of the game for the River Hawks are. All this voting is counted up and given as the Player of the Year award at the end of the season, so let’s take it super-seriously and just see if we can’t get those vote totals boosted this year, eh?

1) Malcolm Lyles
2) Riley Wetmore
3) David Vallorani

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