Loose pucks: Gobble gobble
Three things that have us feeling better:
1) Eight friggin’ goals.
The fact that Lowell went out to Amherst of all places and rung up eight on a woebegone Minutemen side fearing the kind of three-games-in-five-days joke scheduling Hockey East would never dare level at a BC or BU is really great. But more importantly, it will hopefully make Riley Wetmore and Scott Wilson feel like they can go out and hang three points on just about anyone, which is the kind of hockey they haven’t been playing for pretty much this entire season. Again, it’s all statistical correction on some level but when even Norm Bazin, the league’s king of coachtalk, is saying, “Yeah everyone bought their own hype and we gotta figure this out,” to the media, then you know he did some serious stick-throwing and foot-stomping in the dressing room after that UNH loss. Hopefully these guys are so terrified of getting shut out again this season that they a) never do it, and b) score silly amounts of goals just to make sure Bazin doesn’t look at ’em funny.
2) Two points.
We went into the weekend more or less prepared to see the team concede the points to UNH at home, though perhaps not in so ugly and hapless a fashion as played out in front of Lowell fans’ horrified faces. Thus, getting two points on Sunday against Amherst was absolutely crucial. We believed they could do it, but we perhaps didn’t believe the win would be quite so emphatic. Perhaps you feel like these first two entries here should be combined into one, which isn’t unfair we suppose, but the two points, nearly doubling Lowell’s total for the season, are a positive step forward.
3) A little solace in the polls.
Something we noticed in this week’s poll — apart from the fact that Lowell was very deservedly not in it, but still, bafflingly, getting votes — is that the top three teams in the country are now Boston College, Denver, and UNH. You’ll also notice that those are the teams which delivered Lowell four of its five losses this season. Losses are losses and losses are bad, but it’s not like Lowell’s getting clobbered by awful teams every night. Just Maine. And just that once. Hopefully. Anyway, you see the point we’re making.
Two things that are ruining our Thanksgiving:
1) That effort against UNH.
Hoo boy did it ever stink. Maybe the worst in a season full of genuinely bad efforts.
2) Still not in great shape.
Even with four points in the last two weekends, Lowell is still only in a three-way tie for seventh with five points. However, it’s certainly (obviously) trending up, and has games in hand, but when you take into account that everyone on earth thought this team would be sitting in a nice little hammock with BC at the top of the standings, five points in seven games is still a hot-garbage showing.
Stat of the Week
As you might imagine, it’s really, really rare for Lowell to score eight or more goals in a game. How rare? It usually takes playing the bottom of the bottom of the bottom of the barrel in college hockey for it to become a remote possibility. Hell, it played a genuinely bad RPI team last year and only (“only”) got to seven goals. So you can see why we’re a little excited here to see this kind of emphatic offensive outburst.
So exactly how rare is it for Lowell to score eight or more goals against a Hockey East opponent? Well, it’s only happened 20 times, if you include the most recent one.
Oddly, the last eight-goal game before Sunday came against UNH in an 8-3 win on Nov. 14, 2008. Lowell also hung eight on BC in 2001-02 (the infamous “I’m sick and tired of losing to bleeping Lowell”/Kevin Kotyluk goal game). Those are the only two since the turn of the century.
The performance against Amherst was also the first time Lowell scored eight on the road in-league since 1998.
Here are the rest:
Feb. 19, 1984: 10-4 at Merrimack
Oct. 31, 1984: 8-6 vs. Providence
Feb. 19, 1985: 8-5 vs. Northeastern
March 15, 1985: 8-5 vs. Providence
Feb. 24, 1987: 8-4 at UNH
Dec. 8, 1987: 8-7 at Northeastern
Feb. 27, 1990: 9-10 (ot) at Merrimack (yes, a 10-9 overtime loss!)
Nov. 9, 1990: 8-8 (ot) at Northeastern
Nov. 16, 1991: 8-6 at Providence
Jan. 16, 1993: 8-3 vs. Merrimack
Jan. 23, 1993: 8-5 at Northeastern
Jan. 3, 1995: 8-3 vs. Merrimack
Jan. 15, 1995: 9-0 vs. Merrimack
Dec. 2, 1995: 8-3 vs. BC
Jan. 26, 1996: 8-6 at BU
Jan. 8, 1998: 8-4 vs. Merrimack
March 12, 1998: 8-2 at Northeastern
Jan. 12, 2002: 8-4 vs. BC
Nov. 14, 2008: 8-3 vs. Northeastern
Going back for seconds
Are we willing to clamber back onto the bandwagon for this team’s home ice hopes just yet? No we are not. Are we now, in the light of day, feeling as though it’s not dead in the water, as we might have said at this time on, say, Saturday morning? Yes. Absolutely yes. A solid performance against Princeton on Saturday afternoon will only serve to further cement our feelings that this team is anywhere near as good as we once swore up and down that it would be. So, y’know, that’s what we’d be thankful for this year.