BILLERICA -- On a night when there were more fights than goals, area hockey fans got their first glimpse at the Lowell Lock Monsters.
The final score of last night's American Hockey League exhibition game -- Lowell 2, Providence 1 -- is less important in the grand scheme of things than evaluating players as the Oct. 9 season opener approaches.
But Lock Monsters head coach Frank Anzalone, who watched his team open their exhibition season Saturday in Fall River with a one-goal loss to Providence, will take the victory just the same.
"It matters. You work to establish something with your guys. We played hard," said Anzalone.
The 500 or so fans at Chelmsford Forum were treated to goals by Warren Luhning and Evgeny Korolev. The goals were nice, yes, and goaltenders Steve Valiquette (stopped all 12 shots) and Mark McArthur (stopped 15 of 16 shots) were sharp, but what really seemed to get the fans' blood boiling were four second-period fights.
Dropping the gloves for the Lock Monsters were Vladimir Chebaturkin, Anthony Aquino and Steve Webb, who liked fighting Eric Boulton so much he decided to do it twice.
"We're going to have a great work ethic and you'd think the city of Lowell will embrace that," said Anzalone, talking about winning the battles in the corners, not the battles after the gloves are dropped. "This is a work-ethic city."
One Lock Monster well aware of the Merrimack Valley's affection for blue-collar players is ex-UMass Lowell star Craig Charron, who played in this building when it was called Tully Forum. Charron acted as Lowell's captain last night, a role he could carry into the season.
"They'll give it to anybody these days," joked Charron. "No, I see myself as a leader. On any team the veterans have to be the leaders."
Charron called playing again at The Forum a "little strange. I had some flashbacks to the old days. It was nice to get out and wheel around. But the new place (Tsongas Arena) is where it's at.
"It's going to be the place to be. It's nice to be back in Lowell. I had a good four years here and who knows how many more," he added.
Providence took a 1-0 lead at 9:26 of the first period when Jay Henderson wristed a 20-foot wrist shot past McArthur. Lowell, which held a 30-28 shot advantage, pulled even late in the period on a Luhning tally and Korolev scored the game-winner at 18:00 of the second on the power play when his 45-foot wrist shot sailed under the crossbar.
"We're going to have sprinkles of great play this year, but we're going to have to be a good, solid team that's going to have to care for the puck," said Anzalone.
The New York Islanders have sent seven more players Lowell's way. John Namestnikow, Dmitri Nabakov and Vladimir Orszagh (now do you know why Lowell's public address announcer is having nightmares?) dressed for last night's game.
Not suiting up were former Boston Bruins defenseman Dean Malkoc, forwards Dane Jackson and Ryan Huska (injured), and Marcel Cousineau, expected to be Lowell's No. 1 goaltender.
The team released goaltender Kory Cooper and forward Shannon Basaraba, who finished a four-year career at UMass Lowell last winter, and assigned J.C. Ruid, Jason Dailey and Chris Wismer to Roanoke of the ECHL.Lock Monsters put up a fight
P-Bruins drop preseason game to Lowell, 2-1
BILLERICA, Mass. -- The Lowell Lock Monsters evened the score with
the Providence Bruins last night in AHL preseason action by posting a 2-1
victory at Billerica Arena.
On Saturday night, the P-Bruins won a 3-2 decision at Driscoll Rink in Fall
The Lock Monsters scored the game-winner on a power-play goal with
two minutes remaining in the second period when defenseman Evgeny
Korolev beat Providence goaltender John Grahame with a high wrist shot
from the point.
The P-Bruins' Jay Henderson opened the scoring with his second goal of
the preseason at 9:26 of the first period. The Lock Monster tied the game
on Warren Luhning's goal that went between Grahame's pads at 17:28.