By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
9) University of Massachusetts-Lowell
2009-10 record: 19-16-4 (12-11-4 HE)
Finish in HE: T-3rd (lost in tournament quarterfinals)
Key returners: Sr. F Scott Campbell (16-18-34), Jr. F David Vallorani (9-18-27), Sr. D Maury Edwards (4-11-15), Sr. D Ryan Blair (0-11-11)
Key losses: F Kory Falite (18-16-34), F Chris Auger (9-14-23), F Ben Holmstrom (9-14-23), D Nick Schaus (4-19-23), D Jeremy Dehner (6-15-21), G Carter Hutton (2.04, .928), G Nevin Hamilton (2.91, .905)
Notable freshmen: F Derek Arnold, D Dan Furlong, G Doug Carr
Coach: Blaise MacDonald
How they finished
The River Hawks went into last season with sky-high expectations and were ranked No. 3 in the country in mid-November, but then they turned into a .500 team the rest of the way and never lived up to the hype. They went 4-5-2 to end the regular season and then lost to Maine in three games in the conference quarterfinals.
Lowell loses six of its top eight scorers and 52.6 percent of its goals from last season’s sixth-ranked offense. Scott Campbell and David Vallorani will put up points, but they’re going to need the supporting cast to step up in the absence of five graduated forwards. They’ll also need at least a few of the team’s six freshman forwards to adapt quickly and make an impact.
Defense and goaltending
Unfortunately for the River Hawks, the defense and goaltending are even bigger question marks than the offense. They lose what was arguably the best goaltending tandem in the conference as well as four starting d-men. The back line suffered another setback this summer when top recruit Julian Melchiori bolted for the Ontario Hockey League. Sophomore T.J. Massie, who left school halfway through his freshman year but now returns, and promising freshman Doug Carr are the favorites to see time in net, but they have huge shoes to fill. Most of the defensive corps is also filled with unknowns, but the top pairing of Ryan Blair and Maury Edwards has the potential to be one of the best in the conference, especially if Edwards can bounce back from a disappointing season and return to the sophomore form that earned him Second-Team All-America honors.
1) Sept. 28
2) Sept. 27
3) Sept. 24
4) Sept. 23
5) Sept. 22
6) Sept. 21
7) Sept. 20
8) Sept. 17