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Loose pucks: Dancin’ in the streets

February 7, 2012

Three things that rule as much as Lowell does:
1) Winning games in hand.

Lowell went into last weekend with two or three games in hand on nearly everyone in Hockey East, and came out closer than that by virtue of all of the Beanpot schools playing either one game (BU, NU) or none at all (BC). Of course, it picked up the four points it desperately needed to remain on pace with everyone else, and in doing so climbed to sole possession of second in the conference, just one point back of league-leading BU, and still with a game in hand. Merrimack and BC, though, lurk one point apiece behind, though Lowell has a game in hand on the Eagles as well.

2) Freshmen forwards whose surnames start with W.

Scott Wilson and Terrence Wallin. You really can’t say enough good things about these kids. Start savoring the memories now because it looks like these kids could turn out to be some of the best River Hawks in recent memory. As we noted yesterday, they’ve given out 16 Hockey East Rookie of the Week awards, and Wilson and Wallin have combined to win seven of them. Wilson also got screwed out of at least one. Is there even a discussion we should be having at this point about who are the best two freshmen in the conference? No, of course we shouldn’t. Wilson leads the nation in points per game. The defense rests.

3) Where Lowell’s at.

This week, Lowell is ranked No. 7 overall in both national polls, and higher than that in some power rankings. No, it’s not high enough. But why is that important? Because Lowell was picked to finish ninth in its CONFERENCE. Lowell has two more wins than anyone in Hockey East at 18. No one on earth could have foreseen this, but we’ve very glad it’s happening.

Two things that are worse than Vermont:
1) Penalties.

Lowell has in the past few weeks shown a tendency toward ill-timed penalties that put them in a very bad position, and that was certainly true in both games this past weekend. Chad Ruhwedel took a tripping penalty with just over two minutes remaining in a two-goal game on Friday and it took a furious and determined penalty killing effort to keep things under control and ensure the final score. Things were considerably worse on Saturday when neither Mike Buco nor Riley Wetmore seemed the least bit interested in doing anything in the third period besides taking penalties. It put the team in a really bad position and resulted in two Vermont power play goals to make what was a blowout into a bit of a nailbiter.

2) A big weekend.

Friday and Saturday are massively massive games for Lowell and we’re all nervous about it even though we know the River Hawks can clown both Merrimack and Maine in their home rink. We agree this is stretching for a negative but what do you want from us? This team is awesome.

Stat of the Week
Well as you know we’ve been singing Scott Wilson’s praises for a while now and it’s starting to look like he’s going to lead the team in scoring as a freshman. That’s mighty impressive for any school, and it hasn’t happened for Lowell in quite some time. In fact, it’s been 18 years.

The last Lowell freshman to lead the Chiefs/River Hawks in scoring was, it should come as little surprise, Greg Bullock. In 1993-94 (coincidentally the second-to-last time Lowell made the NCAA tournament, as it seems likely to do again this year), Bullock played in 38 games and scored — get this — 24 goals and 35 assists. Yes, really. Here, then, are the highest-scoring freshmen on each Lowell team since then.

94-95: David Dartsch (F, 37 GP, 9-16-25, seventh on the team)
95-96: Wil Tormey (D, 34, 2-9-11, 16th)
96-97: Greg Koehler (F, 37, 16-20-36, third)
97-98: Brad Rooney (F, 36, 11-14-25, fifth) [ed. note: he was 17 years old for this season]
98-99: Yorick Treille (F, 32, 6-5-11, 10th)
99-00: Ed McGrane (F, 33, 10-12-22, third)
00-01: Laurent Meunier (F, 35, 10-23-33, fourth)
01-02: Baptiste Amar (D, 31, 3-8-11, 14th)
02-03: Andrew Martin (F, 36, 10-12-22, third)
03-04: Jason Tejchma (F, 9-14-23, fourth)
04-05: Grant Farrell (D, 21, 2-5-7, tied for 13th)
05-06: Mark Roebothan (F, 31, 5-3-8, t-12th)
06-07: Kory Falite (F, 34, 10-8-18, second)
07-08: Maury Edwards (D, 37, 8-11-19, sixth)
08-09: David Vallorani (F, 38, 9-18-27, third)
09-10: Riley Wetmore (F, 39, 6-9-15, t-9th)
10-11:  Chad Ruhwedel (D, 32, 2-13-15, fifth)

Teach us how to Dougie
Vermont was the fifth season series Lowell has won this year, out of a possible six. BC is the only team to hold that tiebreaker over the River Hawks, with Maine, UNH, Northeastern, Amherst and Vermont having lost two or, in Amherst’s case, three. Those still to be decided are against BU (x2), Providence (x2) and Merrimack (x3), with Lowell only being behind the 8-ball against the Friars for some awful reason.

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