The Tommies squared up against the UNB Varsity Reds on Wednesday night in front of 766 fans at the Grant Harvey Centre. Despite a strong third period, STU lost the battle of the hill 6-4.
Tommies head coach Pat Powers thought defensive lapses were what cost his team the game.
“UNB’s a good team, but they’re also a momentum team,” he said. “They took advantage of every opportunity we gave them.”
The first period was back and forth, but the Tommies lost traction when a turnover led to an early UNB goal. The cross-campus rivalry flared and the physicality picked up. The Tommies showed they could bump shoulders with UNB. Solid defending kept the Varsity Reds at bay until late in the period, when a tipped point shot put UNB up by two.
STU got on the board in the second half. A scramble in front of the V-Reds net gave Tommie Colin Martin a chance and he made no mistake. He buried his sixth goal of the season to bring the game within one.
The V-Reds responded with two goals 27 seconds apart. But the Tommies pulled up their socks, and relentless offensive pressure from the home team led to Rankyn Campbell’s third goal of the season for STU. After that, they lost their concentration, and the V-Reds scored twice more before the end of the second.
The V-Reds capitalized on the small mistakes, but Powers said the Tommies showed a lot of character in the third when they stepped up to the challenge.
“We’re going to make a few errors, but we’re going to work our tails off to recover,” he said. “Unfortunately the hole tonight was just too big.”
The Tommies came out flying in the third. Martin got a breakaway two minutes in and deked the UNB goaltender to slot his second of the game and seventh of the season.
Later in the period, defenseman Eric Diodatti took advantage of a loose puck in the slot and ripped a one-timer to find the back of the net for his third of the season. The Tommies had an unlucky bounce near the end of the game, when Steven James snapped a point shot off the crossbar.
Tommies captain Felix Poulin said his team’s lack of concentration in the second period was what led to their defeat.
“In this league you can’t take a period off, not even a shift off,” he said. “We have to be able to sacrifice every shift and do the little things right.”
The Tommies play the UPEI Panthers in Charlottetown on Saturday to finish the first half of their season.
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