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Weekend preview: You’re braver than I thought

December 28, 2012

The Lowell River Hawks (6-7-1, 3-6-1 Hockey East) vs. the Bentley Falcons (6-8-1, 5-5-1 AH)

4 p.m. Sunday at Tsongas Center, Lowell, Mass.

Lowell is tied for eighth in Hockey East with seven points from 10 games, Bentley is fifth in Atlantic Hockey with 11 points from 11 games.

Last three games
Lowell  — 5-0 vs. Harvard, 2-0 vs. Northeastern, 2-5 vs. UNH.
Bentley — 2-2 vs. Air Force, 4-7 vs. Air Force, 2-5 at Dartmouth.

Prior meetings
Lowell leads Bentley 4-0-0, all-time.

Season series
Lowell has not played Bentley this season.

Top scorers
Lowell:
Scott Wilson — 14 GP, 3-9-12 (10 GP, 2-7-9 HE)
Joe Pendenza — 14, 6-5-11 (10, 3-4-7)
Josh Holmstrom — 14, 4-6-10 (10, 3-3-6)
Derek Arnold — 14, 2-7-9 (10, 2-3-5)
Riley Wetmore — 14, 5-2-7 (10, 5-1-6)

Bentley:
Brett Gensler — 15 GP, 10-16-26 (11 GP, 8-14-22 AHA)
Andre Gladiuk — 15, 9-7-16 (11, 6-6-12)
Alex Grieve — 15, 6-10-16 (11, 6-8-14)
Steve Weinstein — 15, 5-10-15 (11, 5-9-14)
Matt Blomquist — 15, 2-12-14 (11, 2-11-13)

Goaltending
Lowell:
Doug Carr (3-6-1) — 11 GP, 591:40, 2.74 GAA/.902 sv% (9 GP, 522:04, 2.99 GAA/.893 sv% HE)
Connor Hellebuyck (3-1-0) — 5, 250:14, 1.68/.939 (2, 80:00, 0.75/.971)

Bentley:
Branden Komm (5-7-0) — 13 GP, 758:36, 3.48 GAA/.898 sv% (9 GP, 518:38, 3.12 GAA/.900 sv% HE)

Team stats
Lowell:
Overall (14 games) — 35 goals for (2.50/gm), 35 goals against (2.50/gm). Power play 7/55 (12.7, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 44/54 (81.5%, 1 SHGF)
Hockey East (10 games) — 23 goals for (2.30/gm), 28 goals against (2.80/gm). Power play 4/44 (9.1%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 33/41 (80.5%, 1 SHGF)

Bentley:
Overall (15 games) — 57 goals for (3.80/gm), 51 goals against (3.40/gm). Power play 15/58 (25.9%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 45/58 (77.6%, 4 SHGF)
Atlantic Hockey (11 games) — 43 goals for (3.91/gm), 34 goals against (3.09/gm). Power play 15/45 (33.3%, 2 SHGA), penalty kill 36/45 (80.0%, 4 SHGF)

Outlook
“Wow,” said everyone on earth simultaneously any time they mentioned Bentley this season, “They sure do score a lot of goals.”

With 57 in 15 games, that’s 3.8 a night and that’s a lot. Most in the nation, as it turns out. But what very few people mention is that this production is coming against Atlantic Hockey, which is terrible in every way, and moreover, even all those goals aren’t enough to actually win them a game most of the time.

Let’s look at the in- and out-of-conference breakdown of exactly how good Bentley is.

It has played 11 games in its conference, scoring 43 times. That’s 3.91 goals a night. Of course, that means that in four non-conference games, it’s scored “just” 14 goals, which is still a lot, but just 3.5 a night, and not as impressive. BC scores that much. Oh, and did we mention nine of those goals came in a win over Alabama-Huntsville (i.e., the worst team in the country), so it’s really more like to five goals for in three games, which is 1.67 a night, and sucks.

Then there’s the already-abysmal overall defense of allowing 3.4 goals a night. Very bad. But when you parse it out, that’s 34 against in 11 games against AHA teams (3.09 per) and 17 against in four games against teams that don’t suck (4.25 a night).

Power play? Sure, let’s talk about it. It’s at 25.9 overall, third-best in the country, but it’s even better in-conference at 15 of 45 (33.3 percent). Of course, that’s literally all the power play goals the Falcons have scored this year. So in four out-of-conference games, they’re 0-for-13. We’ll do the math for you there, too: It’s 0.000000000000000000000 percent.

Penalty killing, though. Gotta be real good, right? Nope, not even in the awful AHA. They’re just 36 of 45, which is 80 percent, and lower than Lowell’s. They’re also just 9 of 13 in four non-conference games (69.2 percent) which is clearly terrible. They allowed a power play goal to Huntsville, for crying out loud.

Maybe it’s a waste of our time to point this out, but the Falcons are just 1-3-0 outside AHA competition, and in three games not involving Huntsville, they’ve been outscored 16-5, including getting shutout 5-0 by the Harvard team Lowell just picked apart. Shots in those games? You don’t want to know. But if you do, they were outshot a combined 137-76. That’s 45.67-25.3 a game. And it’s pitiful.

Oh and finally, as for that Gensler kid everyone is raving over because he has 26 points in 15 games, it’s more of the same. Of his 26 points, 8-14-22 have come against AHA teams. Another 1-1-2 came against Huntsville. His final 1-1-2 came against Michigan (not exactly a great team this year). Dartmouth held him off the scoresheet, and we know no one on Bentley scored against Harvard. So that’s two games of three against legitimate teams in which he did jack. Pardon us for being unimpressed.

Lowell will roll in this game, which is a complete waste of time for all involved, except Bentley, because its players might be able to get Norm Bazin’s autograph after someone comes out with a squeegee to scrape them off the ice.

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