By CLAUDE SCILLEY
If it was, perhaps, inevitable, it is also part of the process, Richard Lim believes, in making the Royal Military College Paladins a respectable hockey team.
“This one stings a little bit,” the Paladins coach said, after his hockey team was waxed at the Constantine Arena Friday night, 13-0 by the Trois-Rivieres Patriotes.
“For as good as we’ve been, and we are headed in the right direction, we’re bound to have a game or two like this,” Lim continued.
“We’ve demanded a lot (of the players); it’s been a long season. We’ve had four games where we’ve played in front of big crowds this month. This is the first game we’ve played at home in two months, the first game we haven’t had over 1,500 people there.
“With us finally being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs (the previous night), the stars aligned for disaster. You could tell the guys definitely weren’t mentally into it.”
“It’s something we’ve got to push through, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The Paladins have played well since re-convening after the Christmas break. They won two of their four Ontario University Athletics games in January, with a goals-against average in them of less than 2.00, and they played a spirited match with West Point, losing 4-3.
On Thursday night, before a CIS-best crowd this season of 3,363 at the Rogers K-Rock Centre, they fell 6-2 to the Queen’s Golden Gaels in the 30th annual Carr-Harris Cup game that was draining, both physically and emotionally.
Friday was a bad night for the Paladins to be suffering from a Carr-Harris hangover. The Patriotes came to town with a 19-3-1 record, doubtless licking their lips after beating RMC 7-0 at home in November. Trois-Rivieres scored four goals in the first period, five in the second—including three in a span of 66 seconds to take their lead to 9-0—and four more in the third.
The Patriotes needed just 38 shots on goal to do it.
“It’s tough scheduling,” Lim said. “Playing Thursday night in front of a capacity crowd and having that emotional energy of being in a big game like that, and playing pretty well against a very good hockey team, (then having to face) the No. 3 team in Canada.
“UQTR came in last night and had a full night’s rest, had a nice morning skate, a full day off, just relaxing, to be prepared. Our guys didn’t get off the ice until 9:30 last night, and had a full day of classes. It’s fatigue, a little letdown after the atmosphere (of Thursday’s game), as well as not being not mentally in the game.
“Teams in this league are not going to take it easy on you.”
Marc-Olivier Mimar had three goals and two assists to lead Trois-Rivieres. Guillaume Asselin, the nation’s leading scorer with 26 goals, also scored three times for the Patriotes, who won their sixth game in a row since they lost to Queen’s to begin their post-Christmas schedule. Tommy Giroux added two goals and two assists to the Trois-Rivieres onslaught.
In his first start of the season, Charles-Etienne Martin made 19 saves for the shutout.
RMC will host the Concordia Stingers Sunday at 4 o'clock. The Queen's Golden Gaels, meanwhile, hit the road Saturday for two games in Waterloo, on Saturday night against the Warriors, and Sunday night against the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.