Loose pucks: Book your flights
Three things that would win their bracket:
1) Punching a ticket to Pittsburgh.
It’s almost surreal to say and difficult to believe on some level, except we were in the building for every one of these playoff wins and, as we’ve said many times, the idea that Lowell might lose any of them never really occurred to us. That we got to see it with our own two eyes, though, is something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. And look, we’re very happy this is happening, but we’re not going to act like Lowell will be one of those bright-eyed young teams that is just happy to have been invited to the dance. We fully believe Lowell can and will obliterate the teams left standing with it. What have we seen to dissuade us?
2) Winning two ways.
We knew for a while now that Lowell was able to play the boa constrictor and slowly choke the life out of its prey with the best teams in college hockey history, but seeing what they did to Wisconsin sated whatever bloodlust we had to see them rip the absolute guts out of a team’s defense and splash around in them like the unrepentant moor Aaron. It hadn’t done that, arguably, since the second game at Amherst, which wasn’t the best competition against which to judge Lowell’s offensive prowess. What that told us, and the rest of the college hockey world, is that if you’re going to try to cheat your defensemen up in the play, you’re going to get your stomach opened up. And good luck unspilling them against this Lowell defense.
3) Feeling good.
Money couldn’t buy the joy we feel as a result of what this team is doing. We’ll be floating for the next week and a half. We’ll only descend to see Lowell trample Yale underfoot.
Two things that can spend the offseason with UNH:
1) A week off.
Hell, we don’t like a week without Lowell hockey in November when the schedule dictates. A week off with the Frozen Four looming? It’s a fate worse going to Amherst.
2) The Verizon Wireless Arena.
We outlined the many reasons the Whittemore Center is a repugnant hellhole in Two Minutes’ Hate over the weekend, and basically all of what we said about that cesspool extends to the VWA as well. There was nothing to like about that place, from the sherpa-assisted ascent into the balcony to the garbage sightlines to the awful scoreboard to the fact that the place was crawling with UNH fans — and how is that not a health code violation? — there’s absolutely nothing to like about it, except that it is the place where Lowell put its enemies’ heads on pikes and stood laughing for the entire nation to see.
Stat of the Week
In its now six postseason games, Lowell has allowed just five goals (two to Maine in the playoff opener, one in their elimination, one to Providence, none to BU, one to Wisconsin, and none to UNH). That, like pretty much everything else that’s happened in the last few weeks, is amazing, considering the level of competition these defensive performances have come against. On the other hand, we got to thinking: Is it the best all-time run in Lowell’s Div. 1 postseason history? The answer is, “Yes, for a little while more at least.”
The current five goals allowed is indeed an all-time low for the Chiefs/River Hawks, tying records set in 1986-87 and 1990-91. The caveat there is that Lowell’s only conceding five goals in those runs was the result of Hockey East’s old single-elimination format, because they gave up five goals in losses and got bounced. The all-time record for a multiple-game playoff run, apart from this one they’re on now, which obviously isn’t done yet, is six goals allowed. That was set in 2009-10, when Lowell lost in three games at Alfond Arena during the Hockey East quarterfinals.
Among four-game playoff runs, Lowell’s best defensive showing came in 2008-09, as they allowed just eight in making it all the way to the Hockey East final before getting screwed. Lowell’s only five-game postseason came last year, when it allowed 15 goals.
And finally, just as a means of comparing the defensive capability of this team against the other three teams that played in six postseason games, we’ll leave you with the 20 allowed in six in 1987-88, just 11 in 1993-94 (which is a very good number, especially for that era), and 25 in 1995-96. Unless things go disastrously in Pittsburgh, it seems unlikely that Lowell gets their goals against total anywhere near as high as their other records.
Can you believe it?
This is all really happening, in real life. Lowell is in the Frozen Four. Imagine if someone told you that two years ago. Or before this season started. Or in November. It’s the absolute best.