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UMass Lowell 2021-2022: Which way are we going?

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  • I'm optimistic for this season. I think the team has a chance to be better than last season's. Maybe that means they get to a regional final, but I totally agree that unless Norm starts bringing in players that will spend at least some time at the NHL level, they have very little chance of returning to a frozen four. The program has reached its ceiling.

    Comment


    • I think this team will be very good next year, I think better than last year, and because Lowell doesn’t have draft picks doesn’t mean they will not be successful. If the team didn’t have players getting invites to development camps, you “may” have a point. Scouts miss just as much as they hit.

      Just remember, the team’s last two losses over the last two years were to the national champion (UMass ‘21 & Denver ‘22). Both games…1 goal losses.
      "We will play a style that is a puck-possession game, an up-tempo style ... It will rely on speed and toughness. I’m sure these players can
      make that adjustment very easily. We’re going to make the Tsongas a tough place to get points for other teams." -UML Coach Norm Bazin

      Comment


      • Originally posted by hawkeytown View Post
        I think this team will be very good next year, I think better than last year, and because Lowell doesn’t have draft picks doesn’t mean they will not be successful. If the team didn’t have players getting invites to development camps, you “may” have a point. Scouts miss just as much as they hit.

        Just remember, the team’s last two losses over the last two years were to the national champion (UMass ‘21 & Denver ‘22). Both games…1 goal losses.
        Lowell doesn't have Savory in net this season, and the G position is a huge question mark. I like the pskaters they're bringing in, but this team is only going as far as Nordlund and Welsch can bring them.
        Lowell Forever
        Forever Lowell

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Patronick View Post

          Lowell doesn't have Savory in net this season, and the G position is a huge question mark. I like the pskaters they're bringing in, but this team is only going as far as Nordlund and Welsch can bring them.
          they got a good goalie in the portal, kid can play

          “He posted two shutouts, blanking RPI on a 27-save effort at home and shutting out Vermont with a 28-save gem in Burlington, Vt.

          He also made 36 saves to lead Fairbanks to a 3-2 upset victory over Minnesota before 8,083 fans in Minneapolis, a team which has advanced to the Frozen Four. He made 43 saves to tie Denver, 4-4, and the Pioneers are also in the Frozen Four.”

          “He was terrific in his last 11 games, going 8-2-1 and stopping 290 of 313 shots for a .927 save %.“

          https://www.lowellsun.com/2022/04/01...r-grigals/amp/
          Last edited by hawkeytown; 08-28-2022, 10:01 PM.
          "We will play a style that is a puck-possession game, an up-tempo style ... It will rely on speed and toughness. I’m sure these players can
          make that adjustment very easily. We’re going to make the Tsongas a tough place to get points for other teams." -UML Coach Norm Bazin

          Comment


          • US Air Force Academy names River Hawk Alum Josh Holmstrom as Director of Hockey Operations. Pretty cool for a kid from that area as well.
            Monty

            2011-2012 NCAA Tournament Participants
            2012-2013 Hockey East Regular Season Champions, Hockey East Tournament Champions, and Frozen Four Participants
            2013-2014 Hockey East Tournament Champions and NCAA Tournament Participants
            2015-2016 NCAA Tournament Participants
            2016-2017 Hockey East Regular Season Co-Champions, Hockey East Tournament Champions and NCAA Tournament Participants

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Chiefof78 View Post
              This thread seems kind of dead. No buzz. No excitement about the coming season. Maybe it's the lack of drafted NHL prospects the last few years. I know that's the case with me. I get depressed seeing we only have 6 recruits for 2023 and beyond, 4 fewer than UNH's 10 and 16 less than Maine, 14 less than Umass-Amherst, and even 11 fewer than Vermont's 17 recruits as noted on the UML recruiting thread. Yes that's right, Vermont!!!!!!! Remember when the flagship was an easy 3 victories a season? And the number of recruits is not even commenting on the talent level of the mix of those players, no top tier recruits, no top development players (U-17 ever), no goalies (heck Lowell has always been a Goalie school) compared to other teams. It's fine to seek "Lowell type players" but being a dominant team would be nice once in a while. What are we down to now? One drafted player? Now drafted players are no guarantee of success, but players like Andre Lee do bring a must see excitement to the team, as did Connor Hellebuyck, and Scott Wilson. These guys complemented the likes of Berglund, Pendeza, Wetmore, and formed the foundation for the CJ Smith's and Gambardella's of the world.

              I know there is a shifting paradigm in college hockey with some programs having success going with "older experienced kids", but I know the lack of drafted players has me giving up my season ticket after 10 years as talent, high skating and scoring ability do win out. Now Minnesota State was a great story.........BUT talented Denver won the whole enchilada. UML hockey has me feeling like I do with the Red Sox this year, NOT must see TV. i want the arena jumping again. YES!!!! We have had success, but just tired of being a top 20 team with a goal of making the NCAA tournament, rather than being in the Frozen 4 mix. I applaud the student athlete accolades the team receives, and the grit and determination the team shows..........BUT talent breeds excitement to a program. It was nice to take UMASS-Amherst on in the Hockey East title game, and Denver in the regionals, but that talent gap/recruiting gap was too hard to overcome and predetermined the outcome in my view.

              Good luck UML and I hope my attitude changes but you know what they say about insanity.......it's doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result........I'm hoping UML becomes less insane
              The only thing I would raise a flag on with the NHL talent is to look at schools like BU. Always have a ton of first round talent on the roster, but the kids keep leaving after a year and they never actually develop into a cohesive team. So I don't think you need a bunch of draft picks on your team, but you do need talent. There are a lot of great college players who never make it even in the AHL. But man, it sure doesn't seem like we're going to have a team with 6 20 goal scorers and 35+ point players on the team in the near future.

              Comment


              • Just to clarify or expand on my earlier post. I do not think Lowell needs (or for that matter would ever get) a 1st or 2nd round NHL draft choice as a recruit. I agree that those players do not fit the Lowell profile of stressing academics, because they are already counting their NHL bonus contracts and would only stay one year. Michigan and BU prove that. A larger point is that our coaching staff is more defense oriented, so realistically that high draft pick kid is not going to develop his offensive skills further in our environment. But sprinkling the roster with a couple of draft prospects in Rounds 3 - 7 per year, that stay through their Junior year (aka Andre Lee) would help. I reiterate it is all about talent. When the program was consistently in the top 5 or 10 nationally our roster was primarily USHL players that had talent, a few mid level drafted players and very few NAHL or other lower level junior league players. Right now I believe we have one drafted player on the roster and when Ben Meehen leaves this year we will have ZERO. First time in a long, long, long time.

                While hawkeytown is correct in saying that we only lost to UMass in '21 and Denver in '22 by one goal, that analysis misses one key point. Our lack of offensive pressure in both games doomed us. If memory serves me correctly we had something in the range of 13 shots in the that UMass game and granted UMass scored a fluke goal off the back of our goalie's shoulder.......BUT our lack of talent, OFFENSIVE talent made any comeback moot, as we could not generate any shots on net. For me I just knew there was no way we were going to mount a comeback, because we did not have the offensive talent. Skating, speed, scoring ability and developing an opportunity were not high skills. The same could be said against Denver. Our lack of consistent offensive pressure assured a Denver victory once they were ahead as they could dictate the pace and flow of the game. Under those situations everything needs to go right for Lowell to win those games. We need to play in front and stay in front in my view.

                Now all is not doom and gloom for the program. I was just pointing out how spoiled I was by those years of success. I never felt we were out of a game then. We had the talent to mount a comeback. But the last 3-4 years pretty much guarantee a loss when we are behind. The guys work hard and all. BUT we can't get over the top. I am just pointing out that better recruiting on the margins would possibly have us as contenders rather than nail biters to just make the NCAA tournament, and if anyone looks at the recruits on the horizon we have by far the fewest of any team in Hockey East. Thank God for portal transfers....LOL

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Chiefof78 View Post
                  Just to clarify or expand on my earlier post. I do not think Lowell needs (or for that matter would ever get) a 1st or 2nd round NHL draft choice as a recruit. I agree that those players do not fit the Lowell profile of stressing academics, because they are already counting their NHL bonus contracts and would only stay one year. Michigan and BU prove that. A larger point is that our coaching staff is more defense oriented, so realistically that high draft pick kid is not going to develop his offensive skills further in our environment. But sprinkling the roster with a couple of draft prospects in Rounds 3 - 7 per year, that stay through their Junior year (aka Andre Lee) would help. I reiterate it is all about talent. When the program was consistently in the top 5 or 10 nationally our roster was primarily USHL players that had talent, a few mid level drafted players and very few NAHL or other lower level junior league players. Right now I believe we have one drafted player on the roster and when Ben Meehen leaves this year we will have ZERO. First time in a long, long, long time.

                  While hawkeytown is correct in saying that we only lost to UMass in '21 and Denver in '22 by one goal, that analysis misses one key point. Our lack of offensive pressure in both games doomed us. If memory serves me correctly we had something in the range of 13 shots in the that UMass game and granted UMass scored a fluke goal off the back of our goalie's shoulder.......BUT our lack of talent, OFFENSIVE talent made any comeback moot, as we could not generate any shots on net. For me I just knew there was no way we were going to mount a comeback, because we did not have the offensive talent. Skating, speed, scoring ability and developing an opportunity were not high skills. The same could be said against Denver. Our lack of consistent offensive pressure assured a Denver victory once they were ahead as they could dictate the pace and flow of the game. Under those situations everything needs to go right for Lowell to win those games. We need to play in front and stay in front in my view.

                  Now all is not doom and gloom for the program. I was just pointing out how spoiled I was by those years of success. I never felt we were out of a game then. We had the talent to mount a comeback. But the last 3-4 years pretty much guarantee a loss when we are behind. The guys work hard and all. BUT we can't get over the top. I am just pointing out that better recruiting on the margins would possibly have us as contenders rather than nail biters to just make the NCAA tournament, and if anyone looks at the recruits on the horizon we have by far the fewest of any team in Hockey East. Thank God for portal transfers....LOL
                  I really cannot agree. The ‘21 team was a really talented team, dude. They were hampered by covid, and could never get consistent team play. They lose Bergland 11 games in, and he is averaging a point a game with inconsistent play due to covid. Lowell gets into the HockeyEast tournament as a 7 seed, plays from behind in every playoff game, including to the number 1 seed BC eagles (who were #2 in the country at the time), DOWN 4-1, at Conte, to an offensive juggernaut, and come back and win 6-5. They go to UMass, where they score a goal but it’s waved off and lose 1-0. They had chances in that game, including numerous posts hit. We lacked “offensive pressure”

                  They come in the next year, losing Matt Brown, who transfers to BU, and may be one of BU’s top players, if not a top offensive player in HockeyEast. Blackmun transfers to Notre Dame, and may have been our best offensive defenseman. Baxter transfers to RPI. Barton leaves early for pro’s. Seniors like Levesque leave. We gain Owens, Crasa and Brushett, who look to be a solid players. Lowell finishes as one of the top teams in HockeyEast, get an autobid for the national tournament. Play Denver, in Denver, at a high altitude, lose 3-2 and you complain that this team “lacked offensive pressure”? Lowell played Denver incredibly tough, man. Michigan lost to Denver 3-2 in the frozen four. Did Michigan ( a massive wagon) lack offensive pressure, in Boston, not Denver? Like you can’t be serious dude.
                  "We will play a style that is a puck-possession game, an up-tempo style ... It will rely on speed and toughness. I’m sure these players can
                  make that adjustment very easily. We’re going to make the Tsongas a tough place to get points for other teams." -UML Coach Norm Bazin

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by hawkeytown View Post

                    I really cannot agree. The ‘21 team was a really talented team, dude. They were hampered by covid, and could never get consistent team play. They lose Bergland 11 games in, and he is averaging a point a game with inconsistent play due to covid. Lowell gets into the HockeyEast tournament as a 7 seed, plays from behind in every playoff game, including to the number 1 seed BC eagles (who were #2 in the country at the time), DOWN 4-1, at Conte, to an offensive juggernaut, and come back and win 6-5. They go to UMass, where they score a goal but it’s waved off and lose 1-0. They had chances in that game, including numerous posts hit. We lacked “offensive pressure”

                    They come in the next year, losing Matt Brown, who transfers to BU, and may be one of BU’s top players, if not a top offensive player in HockeyEast. Blackmun transfers to Notre Dame, and may have been our best offensive defenseman. Baxter transfers to RPI. Barton leaves early for pro’s. Seniors like Levesque leave. We gain Owens, Crasa and Brushett, who look to be a solid players. Lowell finishes as one of the top teams in HockeyEast, get an autobid for the national tournament. Play Denver, in Denver, at a high altitude, lose 3-2 and you complain that this team “lacked offensive pressure”? Lowell played Denver incredibly tough, man. Michigan lost to Denver 3-2 in the frozen four. Did Michigan ( a massive wagon) lack offensive pressure, in Boston, not Denver? Like you can’t be serious dude.
                    You can say that they were a good team, but still question their lack of offense. They finished 7th out of 11 Hockey East teams in scoring last year (in league play). Being second in league play in goals allowed is what made their season a success last year. I think that I (and some others) would also like to see our attacking options improve, and that would actually make us a danger to win the whole thing, not just make the tournament. We had that type of team in 16/17 with Gamby/CJ et al, finishing first in HE scoring (and let's be honest, that's not going to happen often), and tied for second in GA. Lost in OT and kept out of the Frozen Four.

                    And just to clarify, we weren't an autobid last year. The only HE team to get an autobid is the one that wins the HE Tournament.
                    Monty

                    2011-2012 NCAA Tournament Participants
                    2012-2013 Hockey East Regular Season Champions, Hockey East Tournament Champions, and Frozen Four Participants
                    2013-2014 Hockey East Tournament Champions and NCAA Tournament Participants
                    2015-2016 NCAA Tournament Participants
                    2016-2017 Hockey East Regular Season Co-Champions, Hockey East Tournament Champions and NCAA Tournament Participants

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by UMLFan View Post
                      You can say that they were a good team, but still question their lack of offense. They finished 7th out of 11 Hockey East teams in scoring last year (in league play). Being second in league play in goals allowed is what made their season a success last year. I think that I (and some others) would also like to see our attacking options improve, and that would actually make us a danger to win the whole thing, not just make the tournament. We had that type of team in 16/17 with Gamby/CJ et al, finishing first in HE scoring (and let's be honest, that's not going to happen often), and tied for second in GA. Lost in OT and kept out of the Frozen Four.

                      And just to clarify, we weren't an autobid last year. The only HE team to get an autobid is the one that wins the HE Tournament.
                      You are correct. We were not autobid, my bad. Their regular season and playoff results were enough for us to qualify for the national tourney.

                      As mentioned, they don’t need NHL draft picks as much as players invited to NHL development camps. Gamby/CJ were not drafted. They were overlooked, diamonds in the rough. Players that fit the mold of what Norm wanted. In addition, Norm has found success in getting grade A assistants that have gone off to greener pastures. These assistants have been vital to recruiting. It’s been a revolving door of recruiters.

                      Seems like I am on an island here, which is fine. I feel incredibly optimistic about this team, the programs approach and play on the ice.

                      I guess we can agree to disagree. I think we are closer to a natty than most fans on here think.
                      "We will play a style that is a puck-possession game, an up-tempo style ... It will rely on speed and toughness. I’m sure these players can
                      make that adjustment very easily. We’re going to make the Tsongas a tough place to get points for other teams." -UML Coach Norm Bazin

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by hawkeytown View Post

                        You are correct. We were not autobid, my bad. Their regular season and playoff results were enough for us to qualify for the national tourney.

                        As mentioned, they don’t need NHL draft picks as much as players invited to NHL development camps. Gamby/CJ were not drafted. They were overlooked, diamonds in the rough. Players that fit the mold of what Norm wanted. In addition, Norm has found success in getting grade A assistants that have gone off to greener pastures. These assistants have been vital to recruiting. It’s been a revolving door of recruiters.

                        Seems like I am on an island here, which is fine. I feel incredibly optimistic about this team, the programs approach and play on the ice.

                        I guess we can agree to disagree. I think we are closer to a natty than most fans on here think.
                        That 16/17 team had three drafted players, we only have one this year.

                        Anyway, I'm not saying this team will struggle this year. I think generally we have the talent to fight for home-ice in the HE Playoffs every year under Bazin, and sometimes make the NCAA Tournament. The question is just does that level of talent give you a chance to win the whole thing, and that's where I don't think the answer is yes.
                        Monty

                        2011-2012 NCAA Tournament Participants
                        2012-2013 Hockey East Regular Season Champions, Hockey East Tournament Champions, and Frozen Four Participants
                        2013-2014 Hockey East Tournament Champions and NCAA Tournament Participants
                        2015-2016 NCAA Tournament Participants
                        2016-2017 Hockey East Regular Season Co-Champions, Hockey East Tournament Champions and NCAA Tournament Participants

                        Comment


                        • My question is can you ever get progression under such a scenario. Yeah, maybe it is our ultimate lot in life but I don't think that its inevitable these teams are going to sit on top. Look at how many of those programs "above" have gone through disasters. I mean, does anybody here 20 years ago thought Maine would ever return to being a backwater. I mean sure Walsh had died and Whitehead was questionable but completely falling from grace? Same thing with New Hampshire. Then you have other programs that just seem to slip in like Minnesota State though I suspect the USHL's proximity to the western programs helps the western programs.

                          I don't know. It just seems to me with a talented coach things would incrementally improve even if its slow and subject to the "noise" of reality. I also don't believe that all our ideal choices for players in Bazin's rubric sit outside the realm of the potential mid-round NHL draftees.

                          ----

                          To one of the other posts, I would have liked to have seen what the 21 team would have done. Double COVID plus hand-selection didn't help but lets face it our league in general sucks compared to the past and we had the legacy of a milquetoast wuss Joe Bertagna running Hockey East from 19-20 on prior. More potential than last year's squad for sure.
                          BS UML '04, PhD UConn '09

                          Jerseys I would like to have:
                          Skating Friar Jersey
                          AIC Yellowjacket Jersey w/ Yellowjacket logo on front
                          UAF Jersey w/ Polar Bear on Front
                          Army Black Knight logo jersey


                          NCAA Men's Division 1 Simulation Primer

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                          • Originally posted by UMLFan View Post

                            That 16/17 team had three drafted players, we only have one this year.

                            Anyway, I'm not saying this team will struggle this year. I think generally we have the talent to fight for home-ice in the HE Playoffs every year under Bazin, and sometimes make the NCAA Tournament. The question is just does that level of talent give you a chance to win the whole thing, and that's where I don't think the answer is yes.
                            So let me ask a few questions, do you want Bazin as coach of Lowell? And I mean the entire package: how he recruits, strategy for team play, etc.?

                            Reading between the lines, I think a majority here have a problem with Bazin and wouldn’t mind someone else taking over. So, if that’s the case, you are in charge, who is going to bring us to the national championship? Get us 5/6 drafted guys? Have all this scoring power that will come to Lowell, and not BU, BC, NU, Michigan, Minnesota State, Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, etc. Be top 4 in Hockey East every year. Frozen Fours for years to come. Who is the next Carvel?

                            Again, to be clear. I THINK EVERYTHING ABOUT BAZIN MAKES LOWELL A LEGIT CONTENDER, the high probability of a national championship and would not change a thing.
                            "We will play a style that is a puck-possession game, an up-tempo style ... It will rely on speed and toughness. I’m sure these players can
                            make that adjustment very easily. We’re going to make the Tsongas a tough place to get points for other teams." -UML Coach Norm Bazin

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by hawkeytown View Post

                              So let me ask a few questions, do you want Bazin as coach of Lowell? And I mean the entire package: how he recruits, strategy for team play, etc.?

                              Reading between the lines, I think a majority here have a problem with Bazin and wouldn’t mind someone else taking over. So, if that’s the case, you are in charge, who is going to bring us to the national championship? Get us 5/6 drafted guys? Have all this scoring power that will come to Lowell, and not BU, BC, NU, Michigan, Minnesota State, Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, etc. Be top 4 in Hockey East every year. Frozen Fours for years to come. Who is the next Carvel?

                              Again, to be clear. I THINK EVERYTHING ABOUT BAZIN MAKES LOWELL A LEGIT CONTENDER, the high probability of a national championship and would not change a thing.
                              If that's what you take out of this then you misunderstand something. If somebody is better then we should be getting better unless something else is not getting better. What I want to know is "why not progression". I agree that getting rid of bazin would be bad, but I still struggle to see why we aren't making incremental improvement over the years. Maybe its we can never hope to draw players of certain types to Lowell so we're down to the trying to scoop the very top of that limited group every year. I guess that would explain lack of progression because we're already at the top of what we can achieve.

                              edit: I want to know what progression looks like. Is there progression to be had? Did he show up to campus and that was the only tweak to be had?
                              BS UML '04, PhD UConn '09

                              Jerseys I would like to have:
                              Skating Friar Jersey
                              AIC Yellowjacket Jersey w/ Yellowjacket logo on front
                              UAF Jersey w/ Polar Bear on Front
                              Army Black Knight logo jersey


                              NCAA Men's Division 1 Simulation Primer

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by UMLFan View Post
                                You aren't the only one frustrated.
                                sexually???

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