Week 19 Preview: Lowell

Team Celebration

It was against Lowell at the Friendship Four in Belfast over Thanksgiving break that Northeastern started their much improved play from the earlier part of the season.  Though the Huskies lost that game in hearbreaking fashion (naturally) it sparked their eventual run in December and January.

Since that weekend, Lowell’s season has seemed to take an opposite turn to Northeastern’s.  While they come into this weekend’s game with a 6-1 record in the month of January, it’s actually not as impressive as it seems.  They did go 1-1 against Providence, but the other wins came against Arizona State, UMass, and UNH.  Before that, after beating the Huskies the River Hawks went on to struggle against Brown in the Belpot championship game, get swept by UConn, and lose to Robert Morris.  Their only win in December came against Clarkson.

Lowell is by no means a bad team.  They’re currently 11th in the Pairwise and have a pretty good 53.2 close CF%.  Their success is heavily influenced by goaltending and special teams.  Goalie Kevin Boyle has been fantastic this season.  His .938 save percentage is tied for highest in Hockey East.  The River Hawks have only given up 1.65 goals per game, good for best in the conference.  While their offense is mediocre, they have the third best powerplay in Hockey East.  Paired with the second best penalty kill percentage (and lowest powerplay goals given up), they have second best net special teams in the conference.

Although Lowell is pretty good and has been ranked highly all season, they are certainly beatable.  The Huskies nearly did while paying their worst hockey of the season.  Hopefully Northeastern can get back the momentum they had build coming into this month.

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