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Loose pucks: A long way back from Hell

November 14, 2012

Three things that aren’t crummy:
1) A league win.

Well it had to come eventually and Lowell’s just lucky the worst Hockey East team we’ve seen in years came to town to provide it. Two points is two points, and that win, meager and uninteresting and not especially deserved though it may have been, at least proved that we weren’t going to live through a nightmarish hellscape of a season. There are building blocks here even in this pathetic weekend split, so that’s not the worst thing in the world.

2) A little bit of offense.

We’re not going to sit here and act as though seeing this team score five goals in a weekend is something to really crow about, because last year’s squad would have done that on a per-night basis against this garbage Maine team, but it, too, is at least a step in the right direction. Five is more than the three last weekend, or the four the weekend before that, and so we have to take it. At least it’s all coming from more than just Josh Holmstrom at this point. The team now has four multiple-goal scorers this season, compared to the one with which it entered the weekend. Still not nearly good enough, but not nearly as bad either.

3) The return of Riley Wetmore.

There’s the captain we know and love. Well, at least in form of scoring big and important (or indeed any goals). It was very disappointing to see him start the year with no goals in five games, but two in the last two should instill some confidence that he and the team itself seemed to sorely lack. Let’s hope he and his linemates can continue building on this. He has not yet begun to dominate his opponents at the dot, as was his wont last year (he was 25 of 48 this weekend), but this is at least something.

Two things that definitely are:
1) The continued absence of Scott Wilson and Terrence Wallin.

Riley Wetmore might have broken his duck on the weekend, but apart from a tap-in goal that was going in anyway from Wilson, on which Wallin assisted, the two sophomores have been extraordinarily, vexingly ineffective, even beyond the fact that they have two combined points in 14 man-games. Wilson’s shooting has been reluctant (he passed up many a clear lane this weekend), and Wallin’s has been non-existent (just 12 shots in seven games). Not to pin the 13-goals-in-seven-games problem entirely on them, you can probably trace a lot of the team’s woes back to these two not contributing much of anything.

2) Losing to a legitimately awful team.

Maine stinks. They’re really bad. It’s kind of shocking, actually. So of course Lowell lost to these putrid Black Bears, who were without their best offensive player for the majority of the six periods played this weekend. Just so discouraging. Which leads us to…

Stat of the Week
Of course, Lowell has a bit of tendency to lose to the worst teams in the league. It happens pretty much every year, in fact. Let’s look at the history.

Year: Team, Total points (Points from Lowell – percentage)
2011-12: Vermont, 7 (2 – 28.5)
2010-11: Lowell was the worst team (but would likely have found a way to lose to itself if a head-to-head game were organized).
2009-10: Providence, 14 (3 – 21.4)
2008-09: Providence, 13 (2 – 15.4)
2007-08: Merrimack, 15 (2 – 13.3)
2006-07: Merrimack, 8 (0 – 0)
2005-06: Merrimack, 11 (1 – 9.1)
2004-05: Merrimack, 3 (0 – 0)
2003-04: Northeastern, 16 (1 – 6.3)
2002-03: Northeastern, 12 (2 – 16.7)
2001-02: UMass Amherst, 8 (1 – 12.5)
2000-01: UMass Amherst, 16 (2 – 12.5)

So in the last 12 seasons, Lowell has conceded 16 points to teams that won a combined 123 points, an average of 1.33 per year to teams that won a combined 10.25 a season. That’s about 13 percent of all points earned by those worst teams in the league. And in only two of those seasons did Lowell not concede at least one point to the last-place team, which is a pretty astonishing feat if you think about it.

Back at it
We can’t exactly muster much in the way of excitement to see UNH come to town on Friday, but as always we’re very excited to see Lowell go out to the Mullins Center and pummel the Minutemen, because Amherst sucks.

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