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11-12 Preview: #10 Lowell River Hawks

Hockey East Preview:  #10 Lowell River Hawks

2010-11 Storyline:  Young River Hawk team manages just 5 wins on the season.

2011-12 Storyline:  Alum takes the reigns at his alma mater.

Player To Watch:  Riley Wetmore

Player Missed Most:  Scott Campbell

Newcomer To Keep An Eye On:  Scott Wilson

Random Fact:  Lowell plays its home games in Tsongas Tsenter Center in Lowell and previously called Tully Forum in Chelmsford home.  This year the Hawks will play a home game in Nashua, New Hampshire’s Conway Arena against UConn.

Usual Beer The Triangle Pre-game Spot:  Lowell Beer Works

Yep, I picked them to finish last again.  Let me tell you this though, I tried really hard not to.  I tried to do everything I could to not only justify a 9th place finish, but even thought about picking them 8th.  Obviously they struggled to get wins, but last year’s freshman class for Lowell is very talented and deep.  And with a year under their belt I am anticipating them to progress and be a group that opposing defenses will have a tough time with.  So why are they picked last?  Goaltending.  I think with Doug Carr and Marc Boulanger coming back, and T.J. Massie to back them up, Lowell is going to lose a lot of games by a score of 3 to 4.  The goaltending is just poor and in just my non-professional opinion had very bad form in net.  Losing senior defensemen Maury Edwards and Ryan Blair will not help the situation.

Still, this team will win more than five games, will scare the hell out of some top level teams in Hockey East, and has a chance to do pretty well against a soft non-conference schedule.  I think River Hawk  fans realize they’re in rebuilding mode and will focus more on what’s going on behind the bench this season than the ice.  After last season’s historically low win total current UMass assistant Blaise MacDonald was let go after 10 years on the job.  Some River Hawk faithful immediately seized upon the idea of a former Lowell star riding into the mill city to rescue the program.  Of course they were dreaming of Craig MacTavish, he of the no helmet.  What they got was former Chief defenseman Norm Bazin.  Sure he doesn’t have the name recognition of MacTavish, but Bazin did have a lot of success at the Division III level with Hamilton, winning his conference’s coach of the year award two years in a row.  Does he have what it takes to get Lowell, which holds the longest NCAA tournament bid drought in the league, back to a level they once enjoyed in the 90’s?  This year will be the first step towards that answer.

They’ll Finish Lower Because:  Hockey East suddenly extends a membership invite to Alabama-Huntsville.

They’ll Finish Higher Because:  The young forwards mature quickly enough where they can beat other teams 5-4.

Fear The Triangle Fearless Hockey East Predictions
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10.  Lowell River Hawks

As mentioned in last night’s blog, Paul Dainton got the win while making his NHL pre-season debut.  The Winnipeg paper gave him the second star of the game.  Unfortunately the link is also the only picture, showing him giving him giving up a goal to Evander “Matt Cooke is my bitch” Kane, I’ve found of Dainton making his debut.  Tonight he backed up Bluejacket starter Steve Mason in Columbus’ second game.  The Jackets have already sent one goaltender to Springfield from training camp.

Why yes, that is ice in the Mullins.

The NCHC conference extended invites to Western Michigan and St Cloud.  The overture to WMU was expected but the inclusion of SCSU is a little surprising.  Especially considering their reaction when they were initially snubbed by the new conference.  But such flip-flopping (or some would say hypocrisy) is the way of life in this ever-changing world of conference realignment.  After all, UConn is now groveling for an invitation to a conference they were suing not too long ago.  Hockey-wise realignment have pretty much settled now, I think, except for Notre Dame.  What’s going on with them?  Who knows. And I’m still waiting for someone, anyone, to save the UAH program.

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4 Comments

  1. #10 might be a little generous.

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  2. Monty

     /  September 22, 2011

    Kinda hard to really argue about Lowell finishing 10th, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they finish a spot or two higher. This year won’t be as bad, I hope. There’s some good talent in the sophomore class, a couple of very good players (IMHO) coming in this year. BTW, don’t expect Massie to see the ice much this year (if at all). The goalies will get better this year, because the defense will be better. The senior D they lost, I hate to say it … but wasn’t a big loss, especially on the defensive end. Edwards was a shadow of himself the last couple of years after a great start at Lowell.

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    • Yeah. There’s certainly plenty of potential to finish higher. It’s just tough to bank on at this point.

      Like

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