When was the last time we got this deep into the season and UMass Lowell was not ranked?
So what’s the problem? They’re a positive possession team, after all. There’s two reasons: One is that the offense took a step back, but that’s to be expected after losing CJ Smith, Joe Gambardella, and Michael Kapla. The other, we’ll get to in Three Things. They don’t have a single standout star offensively, but rather rely on their ability to roll four lines and get contribution anywhere in the lineup.
Expected to be a favorite in HE and a national contender as they usually have been under Norm Bazin, Lowell flopped to an 0-3 start, including being swept by UNH. Then they started to turn it around…or so we thought. BOOM. Loss to Bentley, then a 9-3 hammering at the hands of BU, and then getting shut out by a St. Lawrence team that had been slumping in the Catamount Cup.
Three Things to Look Out For:
- In Goal: Either #31, Dr. Jekyll, or #33, Mr. Hyde. Goaltending has long been a strength of Bazin’s teams. Doug Carr. Connor Hellebuyck. Kevin Boyle. Last year, it looked like Tyler Wall would continue the trend as he led the River Hawks to a Hockey East double. On the contrary, he’s been next-tier awful. An .823 SV% and 5.71 GAA in 6 games, all of which he took the L in and only finishing three of them. Christoffer Hernberg has done well to put out some of Wall’s fires with a .928 SV% (T-4th nationally) and 1.94 GAA (7th). If Wall starts, UVM has a chance with how dreadful he’s been. If he doesn’t…well, UVM’s gonna be stuck up the creek without a paddle.
- Powerless Play. Only BC and UMass Amherst have a worse PP in Hockey East than the River Hawks. UVM’s 15th-ranked PK has been one of the few bright spots this year, so that could be an interesting matchup to watch.
- Don’t Expect Many of Your Own, Though. UMass Lowell is the sixth-least penalized team in the nation. Norm Bazin’s men are very disciplined. Their PK is averaged, but that means nothing when they rarely need it.
Game is 7pm tomorrow at Tsongas Center. It’ll be streamed on the River Hawk site which costs money. BOOOOO!