The Tommies men’s hockey team losing streak to open the season has hit ten games Saturday evening, but you won’t find head coach Troy Ryan questioning the team’s heart and determination.
“I don’t think we gave up,” he said. “I saw them compete hard.”
The Tommies dropped to 0-10 as they lost 6-1 Friday night to the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds, and then were edged 3-2 Saturday by the Universite de Moncton Aigle Bleu. Both were home games, the former before a record crowd of 1,772 at the Grant Harvey Centre.
Despite what appeared to be a rough go on the scoreboard, Ryan was pleased with how his team played against the superior V-Reds, especially his defense.
“I just took our seven D into the weight room to have a chat with them, and as bad as everyone wants to say we played, that’s the best our D have played against UNB. Hands down, not even close,” Ryan said.
The Tommies were outshot 43-7, had only one shot on goal through two periods, and gave up four power-play goals. The Tommies lone goal Friday night came from Chris Morehouse in the third period.
“For the people in Fredericton who keep wanting to compare the two, until we get ourselves to be a legitimate program and a legitimate contender, stuff like tonight will happen,” Ryan said.
Jonathan Groenheyde started in goal for the Tommies, but he left early in the third period due to cramping issues. He was replaced by Justin Collier.
Ryan gave Collier the start in goal Saturday although Groenheyde was fit to play.
UDEM contest remained scoreless through the first period, but it would rapidly go downhill in the second for the Tommies as the Bleu Eagles scored three times including both a power-play and a shorthanded goal.
The Tommies, however, came out rejuvenated in the third.
Steve Sanza got the Tommies on the board early when he received a gem of a pass from Morehouse on a backhand from behind the net. Sanza put it in shortside.
Felix Poulin brought the Tommies within one with 2:18 left as he banged home a loose puck from close range. Morehouse and Martin picked up the helpers on the goal.
Although the Tommies couldn’t find the equalizer, Ryan was delighted with the scoring chances his team created and the overall play of his forwards.
“Our forwards finally started chipping pucks by pressure, and getting pucks deep, working the cycle down low and we ended up scoring off of it.”
The Tommies are on the road next weekend as they take on St. FX Friday night before a Saturday evening clash with St. Mary’s.
NOTES: Ryan said Poulin, Jonathan Bonneau and Robert Zandbeek are all dealing with injuries, though they will continue to play. Randy Cameron will have surgery Tuesday on his injured left hand.