St. Thomas Tommies men’s hockey coach Pat Powers didn’t feel his team was ready for Monday’s preseason Battle of the Hill against the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds, won 4-0 by UNB.
“When we’re facing an elite team like UNB, we’ve got to be extra ready,” he said. “It’s not your typical exhibition game. This is a tough challenge at the start of our exhibition schedule, and the guys got better every shift, which I think bodes well for us going forward.”
UNB forward Philip Halley, who led the Reds with three points, gave his team a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal caused by a STU defensive breakdown early on.
“That can’t become a trend,” said Powers. “We need to put opponents on their heels from the get-go. Trailing early can be a slippery slope with the talented teams in this league.”
Randy Gazzola put the Reds up 2-0 almost four minutes later, and Jordan Murray beat Tommies goalie Tyson Teichmann 13 minutes into the opening frame to give UNB a three-goal cushion.
Period two was scoreless, and Cam Braes sealed STU’s fate at 3:41 to go in the third.
UNB goalie David Shantz earned the shutout, while Teichmann blocked 22 of 25 shots over 40 minutes before being relieved by backup Luke Lee-Knight, who stopped eight of nine shots faced in the third.
“I thought both our goaltenders competed well,” said Powers. “There was a lot of traffic in front of our net, and I don’t fault them on any of those goals.”
Despite being outshot 34-15 and going nine minutes without a shot on goal in the third, rookie forward Andrew Fritsch was pleased with the offense the Tommies did generate.
“When you create chances like that, you’ve got to feel good, even though there were no goals,” he said.
STU’s preseason continues Saturday when the Tommies host the Nipissing University Lakers. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the Grant-Harvey Centre.