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Loose pucks: No no days off

January 10, 2012

Three things that we’re jacked for:
1) Malcolm Lyles and Tyler Brickler.

These guys were, in our estimation, very very good against the Russian Red Stars, which was nice because they filled roles vacated by players we’ve heaped praise on all season. Lyles’ play was something we highlighted after the game and then again yesterday, but Brickler’s is worthy of attention as well. He may have only had a goal when a slew of other players had two points, but we liked what we saw given our first extended looks, and just thought we should mention it.

2) It all matters now.

Finally, we’re out of the seemingly interminable minefield of meaningless exhibitions and dull non-conference games. The remaining 16 games on the River Hawks’ regular-season schedule are exclusively against Hockey East teams (not that having three against Vermont, six points fait accompli, really counts as “mattering.”) But we can’t be more excited to see the team open the second half strong.

3) Being right.

We tried to warn the hockey world. Frozen Fenway was always bound to be two dull games played between four bad teams and indeed, that was borne out on Saturday. Vermont is so bad it lost to Amherst, Amherst is so bad it allowed Vermont to take it to overtime. Likewise, Maine is so bad it let UNH put four in the back of the net, and UNH is so bad it lost to Maine. All in all, two hideous hockey games. Just like we said.

Two things that are deflating:
1) Russians.

Who would have thought that a group of young hockey players who dropped out of school in their early teens would be such punks? Sure, playing Lowell can be frustrating, but sad-sack teams like RPI, Amherst and UNH at least have the decorum to leave with heads hanging with appropriate amounts of grace. These kids were way worse than that, and a shame to their nation. But we would like to remind everyone that they beat Vermont handily, and thus cannot be all bad.

2)  No home games.

Friday is Lowell’s first meaningful game in two weeks, but the sad fact for us is that it’s not at home. In fact, Lowell hasn’t played a home game against an NCAA team in more than a month. We know that those reading this who aren’t Lowell fans don’t know the life-lighting experience of seeing guys like Doug Carr, Chad Ruhwedel, Matt Ferreira, Riley Wetmore, David Vallorani, Terrence Wallin, Scott Wilson, Jake Suter, etc. etc. etc. play in front of their adoring home fans (marred as it is by your favorite teams getting positively steamrolled) but it’s a joy. And now we have to wait until Jan. 20? This truly tests our mettle.

Stat of the Week
As we mentioned earlier in the post, Lowell is heading to Vermont on Friday for its first meaningful game of the year, and perhaps you scoffed when we said that Vermont is a terribly bad team. But we have the numbers to back it up.

Take, for instance, Lowell’s season last year. Dreadful stuff, we can all agree. Those River Hawks pulled just 10 points out of a possible 54 from its Hockey East games last year. And of those, THREE came from Vermont. That is really bad.

But how bad are the Catamounts this year? If Lowell’s season was disastrous last year, this is considerably worse. Well they have just three league points from 13 games. For you Amherst fans that flunked arithmetic, that’s a pace for just — oh no — 6.23 points this season. Lowell had six points by around 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 12.

And how hopeless are the Catamounts’ chances to take points from Lowell now? Well, we mentioned last year that Lowell took three of a possible six points from them last year despite playing two on the road there to end the season. Lowell has lost exactly one season series to the Catamounts in the entire time it’s been in Hockey East (2007-08). In the team’s entire history in the conference, Vermont has taken just 19 points out of a possible 40 despite playing 11 at home. And again, six of those came in one bad year.

In the last three seasons, Lowell has won five, tied four and lost just two, giving it 14 points from an available 22. Which isn’t great or anything, but one must also consider both how bad Lowell was last year (again, extremely) and how many of those games were played not at Lowell, but at the supposed-fortress of Gutterson Field House (seven of 11). And at the Gutt, where Lowell will play on Friday, the River Hawks have lost just one of their last seven games, taking nine points from their needlessly generous hosts.

So yes, Vermont really is that bad.

An apology in advance
We originally planned to live blog the game with you on Friday but things have come up beyond our control and we’re not instead. The good news is we have been led to believe that streams of Vermont games are free, so you have that going for you.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave Daverson permalink
    January 10, 2012 1:53 pm

    NO LIVE BLOG!??!?! this is bullcrap

  2. January 12, 2012 7:45 pm

    Vermont feed is free. UMass @ Vermont was free the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I also watched a bit of their holiday tournament while listening to UMass vs Cornell this past year.

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