By CLAUDE SCILLEY
There have been seasons when responding to a shellacking with a credible performance would have been sufficient for the Royal Military College hockey team.
Not any more. Richard Lim has had his fill of moral victories.
“It’s another game that we were in and competed,” the RMC coach lamented after the Paladins bowed 7-4 to the Concordia Stingers in an Ontario University Athletics game Sunday afternoon at the Constantine Arena.
“That’s where we’re headed but we need to turn these games into wins, as opposed to (games where we’re) pulling the goalie and trying to tie it in the last minute.”
Friday night, RMC was thrashed 13-0 by Trois-Rivieres and the score pretty much said all anyone needed to know about the game. Despite playing their third game in four days on Sunday, the Paladins rebounded nicely, and for the most part they were a match for the visiting Stingers, a team a dozen points ahead of RMC in the standings.
That was small comfort to Lim.
“At some point we need some payoff for how hard the guys are working and how well they’re playing,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s around the corner, but we’re left with two very hard games to finish the season.”
The Paladins, last in the East division at 3-20-3, will close their season with games against Queen’s, on Wednesday at the Constantine, and Carleton.
“Two tough games and we’ll see what the boys are made of,” Lim said. “I don’t expect them to fold up shop yet. We’ll give both teams a run, that’s for sure.”
Sunday afternoon, RMC scored first, the teams were tied 1-1 going into the second period, and though Concordia twice took a one-goal lead, the Paladins came back to tie both times. A flurry of four goals in a little more than five minutes in the middle of the period ended with the Stingers scoring a goal that gave them a 4-3 lead to take into the third period.
The Paladins came out with a spirited push but they could not parlay a territorial advantage into any good scoring opportunities, and when Concordia’s Domenic Beauchemin, alone to the right of RMC goaltender Matt Murphy, steered in a cross-crease pass to give the Stingers a 5-3 lead, the Paladins faced a tough slog.
“A mental error makes it a two-goal game,” Lim said. “It’s the same old story: Little mental mistakes. Teams are very skilled and they capitalize. Otherwise, it’s a one-goal game with two minutes to go and who knows?”
With 3:03 left and a faceoff in the Concordia zone, Lim pulled Murphy for a sixth skater but the move backfired when a strange bounce led to the puck landing on the stick of Olivier Hinse, the most dangerous man in the Stingers lineup, who was off on a breakaway to the empty net.
His goal made it 6-3 and though the Paladins scored after that, Concordia removed any doubt of the outcome with a second empty-net goal in the game’s final minute.
“We had our chances and when we followed the game plan, good things happened,” Lim said. “When we start thinking we can do whatever we want, things don’t go so well.
“There’s still some guys on our team who are learning that the hard way.”
Beauchemin finished the game with three goals, giving him six for the season, and Hinse had two, his 16th and 17th of the year. Jessyko Bernard had a goal and two assists for the Stingers, who got their other goal from Frederic Roy.
Alex Cameron, Dylan Giberson, Jake Bullen and John Livingston scored once each for RMC, which was outshot 32-31.