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Weekend in Review: Nothing’s ever gonna stand in my

March 4, 2013

Lowell continues to be the best team in the country, neatly boxing up three consecutive wins against top opponents while the rest of Hockey East bumbles along clumsily. The week of carnage started with a 4-2 win at BC that came a lot easier than the relatively close score might indicate, and came to a climax with a 3-0 shutout of Merrimack at Tsongas Center Friday, and came to a merciful end (for Lowell’s opponents) with a 3-1 win at Merrimack to solidify Lowell’s standing as the best team in the league headed into its final weekend.

Those two losses came at rather an inopportune time for the Warriors, who just Tuesday had gotten it handed to them 5-2 at BU. And for BC, the trouble was a bit more sporadic, as they took down Providence 3-2 on Friday at Schneider Arena, but got routed on senior night at the Heights, 5-1. Speaking of BU as we just were, they also split with Vermont at home for some weird reason, winning 3-1 on Friday but getting crushed 5-2 the next night.

The only other team in contention for the league’s top spot was UNH, which gave away a point to Amherst at home, but still took three points to stay ahead of the rest of the dismal, starving pack. The 2-all draw at the Whitt on Friday took many by surprise given that Amherst is terrible, but the Wildcats rebounded with a more convincing 4-0 win the next night.

And finally, in the series that mattered not at all to anyone, Northeastern had its playoff chances effectively ended by Maine as the Black Bears took three of four points in Orono, with a 3-1 win Friday and 4-4 tie the next night.

Our Weekly Awards
Player of the Week
Josh Holmstrom, Lowell (junior forward) — He may not have had any points in Friday night’s crucial victory over Merrimack, but we felt that game was always going to be pretty well in hand; Merrimack rarely plays well at Tsongas Center. However, the opposite is true of Volpe Center, where Lowell has been rather bad in the Bazin era, and so to see Holmstrom break the game open so early with a pair of goals (he could have easily had four in the opening 20 minutes), and put seven shots on poor Rasmus Tirronen, well, that’s fine by us. That was a grade-A performance, perhaps the best by any Lowell forward this year outside Joe Pendenza’s four-point night. And on such a big stage? Sure thing. Oh, and he also had that big goal at BC on Tuesday, so this wasn’t even that much of a contest.
(Honorable mention: Joe Pendenza, Lowell; Derek Arnold, Lowell)

Rookie of the Week
Connor Hellebuyck, Lowell (freshman goaltender) — He played all 180 minutes for Lowell between Tuesday and the weekend, which was something we suspected might happen, and allowed three goals in that time, including just one in two games against Merrimack and two at BC. Three goals allowed on 84 shots from a pair of nationally-ranked teams, with two of three games played on the road.  This kid is unstoppable.
(Honorable mention: Greg Amlong, Lowell; Ryan McGrath, Lowell)

Ham n Egger of the Weak
Everyone who’s not Lowell — Why didn’t anyone else think to clinch a home ice spot before the last weekend of the season? Seems like that’s a pretty easy strategy to master.
(Honorable mention: Amherst, just because)

Noteworthy Hockey East Weekly Awards
Connor Hellebuyck was Rookie of the Week, and Lowell was Team of the Week, while Joe Pendenza and Ryan McGrath were Top Performers.

Weekend Results (Home team bolded)
Lowell 4, BC 2
BU 5, Merrimack 2

Lowell 4, Merrimack 0
BC 3, Providence 2
BU 3, Vermont 1
UNH 2, Amherst 2 (ot)
Maine 3, Northeastern 1

Providence 5, BC 2
Vermont 5, BU 2
UNH 4, Amherst 0
Maine 4, Northeastern 4 (ot)

Lowell 3, Merrimack 1

Your Three Stars
For every game this season, home and , we want to know YOUR Three Stars. Please leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to tally everything up at the end of the year.

1. _____________
2. _____________
3. _____________

1. _____________
2. _____________
3. _____________

1. _____________
2. _____________
3. _____________

How we voted
Here were our picks for the stars this week’s game(s).

1. Riley Wetmore
2. Joe Pendenza
3. Christian Folin

1. Derek Arnold
2. Connor Hellebuyck
3. Ryan McGrath

1. Josh Holmstrom
2. Joe Pendenza
3. Connor Hellebuyck

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