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Lakers fall to Concordia

Grant Toulmin tries to protect the puck in his skate in front of the Stinger goal in the third period of play. Photo by Mark Pare.

Grant Toulmin tries to protect the puck in his skate in front of the Stinger goal in the third period of play. Photo by Mark Pare.

The Nipissing Lakers (13-10-2) only let in one, but it proved to be the difference as the Concordia Stingers (7-14-4) took the 1-0 victory at Memorial Gardens Friday night.

Dan Spence made 19 saves in the loss, while Antonio Mastropietro saw plenty more action but stopped all 40 shots that came his way to register the shutout.

“I thought we generated more every period,” said Lakers head coach Mike McParland, “I thought the first period, we didn’t play with enough urgency and we played a little too much on the perimeter but that improved in the second period, started with the big hit from Matt Paton, right off the bat in the period, got a little adrenaline in everybody flowing and from that point on, I thought we took control of the game.”

The Lakers chances generated excitement for the crowd, hitting a couple posts along the way. McParland believes his team “definitely deserved a better fate.”

“We had enough chances to score, we had 40 shots on net,” he said, “We carried the play, they got one lucky butterfly goal on the power play and their goalie was the absolute difference tonight.”

The only goal of the game came at the 7:02 mark of the first period, a power play goal by Jessyco Bernard. The Lakers cleared the Stingers of the zone, but when their power play came rushing back, George Lovatsis found Bernard in the slot from the corner and although Lakers starter Dan Spence got a couple pieces of it, the puck ended up in the back of the net.

It was the first of six opportunities on the man-advantage for Concordia. McParland wasn’t too happy with his players taking unneeded penalties, especially late in the game.

“I thought the penalty killers did an outstanding job but anytime you’re trailing in the game, the last thing you need to do is play shorthanded for a third of the third period. That’s not helping you win the game.”

The Lakers stay at 28 points, tied for fifth in the OUA East with Ottawa, while the U of T Blues sit in fourth, only a point ahead.

It doesn’t get easier down the stretch for this Lakers team as they host the McGill Redmen tomorrow night. McParland knows he’ll need a full 60 minutes from his team to have a chance against a Redmen team that could still finish the season at the top of the division.

“You can’t come in tomorrow against McGill and think you’re going to play a first period that’s so-so and be in the game,” he said, “McGill will bury you in the first period and I think our guys realize that and I know that their motivation tomorrow is to win our first game against McGill since we’ve been in the league and we’ve been awful close many times.”

The game will mark the final regular season contest at home for the Lakers. They plan to honour their senior players in a pre-game ceremony. Attendance could reach 3,000 so McParland will look to use that to his advantage once it’s time for the game.

“I think that’s what we need," he said, "We have to feed off that and we have to take it in a positive manner and transform that into positive energy and clever energy, not running around and being silly and over motivated and taking silly penalties like we did in the third period tonight. You’re not going to beat teams when you take silly penalties.”

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Memorial Gardens.

Game Notes
-The attendance was 1,302.