The Jr. A Niagara Predators finished the weekend without any points after losing two games on the road this past Saturday and Sunday.
The Predators lost 6-3 to the Northumberland Stars Saturday and then 4-1 to the St. George Ravens Sunday, making for a season record of 4-7-0-1 in the Greater Metro Hockey League’s south division.
A short bench due to injuries and suspensions did not help things but Predators head coach Kevin Taylor thinks that was just part of the problem for his team.
“Penalties, undisciplined, two easily, winnable games. It was very undisciplined, nobody wanted to keep their mouth shut, there was a lot of unsportsmanlike conduct,” he said.
“We got a 10-minute misconduct Sunday, it was just very bad,” he said. “We didn’t have a full line-up, guys were getting thrown out of the game. It was just a disaster of a weekend.”
On Saturday night, Cameron Savoie opened up the scoring just under four minutes into the first period. Following a pair of goals for the Stars, Niagara’s Nicholas Nicoletti netted his team’s second of the night to even things out at the end of one period.
Northumberland dominated the second, scoring three unanswered goals and kept things going with their sixth and final goal coming seven minutes into the third.
A third tally for Niagara thanks to Rhys Jones with less than five minutes on the clock narrowed the gap somewhat.
The St. George game Sunday was scoreless till 6:23 of the second period when the home team notched one.
Savoie tied it up nine minutes later but the Ravens would pull ahead by two before the second intermission. With a fourth for St. George midway though the last period, Niagara returned home empty-handed.
“We just didn’t show up, they were just not there,” said Taylor. “And then on Sunday, we were extremely short-benched: four defence, we had eight forwards.”
To make matters worse, Taylor felt his team started the weekend with some serious potential.
“We went into Friday looking at a lineup that would’ve been one of our best lineups to date,” he said. “Then find out one guy wasn’t even going to be playing and one of our new guys isn’t even going to be playing that weekend. So, you have a game plan set in motion and all the sudden it’s not existent.”
Also disappointing for Taylor is the weekend follows one of his team’s best performances of the season when they took the first-place North York Renegades to overtime the previous Sunday at home, ultimately losing 3-2.
“The effort wasn’t there and it was a completely different team than we watched against North York,” he said.
The two losses add to the Predator’s poor road record, where they have only managed to win one of five games.
Taylor isn’t sure why his team struggles on the road, suggesting it might just be that they do not know how to prepare themselves while in transit.
“When you get on the bus, that’s when the game starts,” he said. “You joke around a bit but you’re still thinking about it.”
“When I get into the car to meet them wherever I’m meeting them, I’m thinking about things that need to be done and putting together lines and putting scenarios together in my head,” he said.
“The whole two hours I’m driving or the hour I’m driving to where they are, I’m preparing myself for the game, and I don’t think they are doing that for themselves.”
Hoping for better luck at home, the Predators return to the Meridian Credit Union Arena in Virgil this Friday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. when they host the tough North York Renegades.