Poor powerplay dooms Tommies against UPEI

Charles Lavigne was unable to stop UPEI’s final shootout effort as it slid under his body to give them the win.(Shane Magee/AQ)

The Tommies’ lack of depth showed again Friday evening as they dropped their 10th straight regular season game, losing 4-3 to the University of Prince Edward Island in a shootout.

The demise of the Tommies came on the powerplay. They went 0-7 on the man advantage and couldn’t muster up many goal scoring opportunities on four separate five-on-three advantages.

“Every team I’ve coached before has had a first and a second unit, but our team is kind of thin right now. So if we have a first unit and a second unit we’re just going to get in a bad situation right after a powerplay,” Tommies head coach Troy Ryan said.

It showed on the ice. A revolving door of powerplay personnel couldn’t get much to the net and put pressure on UPEI goalie Jhase Sniderman, who made 36 saves on the night.

“We just don’t have the depth to load up any one powerplay and if we do load it up, who are we really loading it up with?” Ryan said.

The game started brightly for the Tommies who took the lead within four minutes thanks to Yuri Chermetiev’s first goal of the season in which he banged the puck in from close range with Randy Cameron and Mike Reich picking up assists.

Chermetiev soon added his second goal of the season at the 8:39 mark. Cameron added his second assist of the game with a brilliant stretch pass that put Chermetiev in one-on-one with Sniderman who was beaten blocker side top shelf by Chermetiev to put the Tommies up 2-0. Christian Morin also got his third assist of the season on the goal.

Chermetiev, who now has five points in 17 games this season, has not been the player Ryan hoped he would be this year, but was pleased with his performance Friday.

“A couple of weeks ago…it was in front of everybody, I called him out pretty bad…and I think Yuri’s responded and at least he’s competing,” says Ryan. “I saw him chip a couple of pucks and take some hits and Yuri never use to do those sorts of things. He’s actually competing and with his skill he’ll actually manage to score some goals.”

UPEI cut the lead to one when Matt Carter scored glove-side on Tommies goalie Charles Lavigne. Lavigne got a lot of glove on the shot, but it fluttered past him into the goal as the Tommies took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

STU started the second period strongly with Jonathan Bonneau restoring the Tommies’ two goal lead only 37 seconds into the period, slotting the puck five-hole on Sniderman from the left face-off circle. Sebastien Bernier and Steve Sanza collected helpers on the goal.

UPEI would cut it back to one with two minutes left in the period as Reggie Traccitto scored on a three-on-one opportunity. Lavigne stopped the first shot, but Traccitto pounced on the rebound. Lavigne picked up a minor penalty on the goal for tripping, but the powerplay amounted to nothing.

The Tommies had multiple chances in the third period to win the game, but their powerplay failed them.

They went 0-3, including a couple of five-on-three chances and had nine shots, but couldn’t find a way past Sniderman and it would ultimately cost them.

Jared Gomes tied the game for UPEI with 1:54 left in the game with a nifty wrist shot from the slot, beating Lavigne who had preserved the Tommies lead throughout. The Tommies went back to the powerplay right after, but again, couldn’t generate any goal scoring opportunities as the third period concluded.

The Tommies’ had a chance to win the game in overtime on the powerplay as Randy Cameron stared down an open goal, but couldn’t get a good enough shot off as Sniderman came back across the crease to make the save.

The game would ultimately need a shootout and after Felix-Antoine Poulin, Chermetiev and Cameron all missed for the Tommies, Chris Desousa scored the shootout’s only goal to give UPEI the extra point.

Ryan seems to know exactly why the Tommies unit isn’t clicking.

“The old stats are 80 per cent of powerplay goals are scored on rebounds from point shots, but we don’t shoot the puck and we don’t go to the net, so we’re not going to score,” Ryan said.

Update: An earlier version of this story was duplicated at the bottom. It has been corrected. 

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