Monday, February 25, 2013
Previewing the UMass Lowell River Hawks
The biggest thing that has changed between then and now for Lowell is freshman Connor Hellebuyck who has taken over the starting job in net, defeating last year's playoff hero, Doug Carr. In fact, Hellebuyck has not lost a game since 11/30 @ New Hampshire. This weekend, he stopped 39 of 40 BU shots, with Friday being a 3-0 shutout win for Hellebuyck and the River Hawks. When I look at this Lowell team, I see a squad that has a really deep group of forwards (as mentioned above), a defensive corps that ranks up with the best in Hockey East, led by Jr Chad Ruwhedel and So Jake Suter. The River Hawks are currently third in the league in goals given up per game (2.34) and are also third in goals scored per game (3.07) Lowell is as complete a team as BC will see all season long. They can score, they can defend, they are solid both on the PK and the PP, and they continue to get great goaltending night in and night out. This all makes for a pretty lethal combination.
When I take a look at this matchup, I see two teams that are very even. I mean they're two of the best teams not just in Hockey East but in the whole country. I look for tomorrow to be a tough, up tempo style game with more goals scored than you saw in BC vs Merrimack. Lowell plays a style similar to Boston College. They skate well north-south and they can create something out of nothing, much like BC can. This isn't going to be a game like Sunday's where we had a whistle every 15 seconds with a ton of dumping and changing. I expect to see a really entertaining style of hockey between two very good hockey teams come 7 O'clock tomorrow night.
Keys for the Eagles-
1. Staying out of the box. I might as well copy and paste this to every preview. The only two goal's given up vs Merrimack the past two weeks were power play goals. Can't be giving teams 5 on 3s for over a minute late in the third period, such as BC did Sunday.
2. Containing Lowell's big guns. This is something BU did just a horrible job of this weekend. Wilson and Pendenza lit O'Connor and Maguire up like Christmas trees on Friday and Saturday. Obviously, they're facing a different beast this time around with BC's two big lines.
3. I'd like to see BC open things up and get some more offensive chances tomorrow night. It was hard for the Eagles to get things rolling until the midway point last night. I'd like to see them get going and generating chances right from the get-go.
Pairwise Rank- 11th
Hockey East rank- 4th
Season series vs BC- 0-2
Leading Scorer- Joe Pendenza-28 points
Best wins- vs Providence @ Colorado College
Worst Loss- None really. Lost 2 vs Maine.
Go Eagles !