The P.E.I. Rocket came out flat Thursday night and it proved to be costly.
The Rocket opened 2013 with a 6-1 loss to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action at the Civic Centre.
“We didn’t show up at all tonight,” Rocket winger Victor Provencher said after the game.
The Titan was flying and scored three first-period goals, which led to Maxime Lagace being pulled and Antoine Bibeau starting the second period.
“We came out really soft, slow. It seemed like we took them lightly,” said Louick Marcotte, who scored the Rocket’s lone goal with 49 seconds remaining in the game.
“They took advantage of their chances. They scored three goals at the beginning of the game. It’s hard to come back after getting scored (on) like that.”
The Titan’s top line of Zach O’Brien, Matthew Bissonette and Michael Beaudry gave the Rocket fits, making sharp passes and using speed to create odd-man rushes.
O’Brien set up three goals, Beaudry scored twice and Bissonette had a goal and an assist.
The Rocket’s top unit of Josh Currie, Ben Duffy and Provencher had a rough night. Duffy was on for all five of the Titan’s even-strength goals while Provencher and Currie were each on for three goals.
The fans were getting on the team, too.
After defenceman Jimmy Oligny threw a Titan to the ice around Bibeau’s crease, one fan yelled: “Finally some heart.”
After a melee with 6:34 left in the game resulted in two fights, another fan said, “two periods too late.”
The Titan improves to 15-20-4-1 while Rocket falls to 21-15-2-0. The Rocket was 4-0 this season against the Titan before Thursday’s game.
“We don’t have any excuses,” Marcotte said.
Coach Gordie Dwyer “made sure that we were ready and we didn’t show up tonight.”
Provencher couldn’t put his finger on why the team was flat.
“It could be a lot of things,” he said. “The big thing now is we have two big games coming up this weekend and we need to be sharp and bounce back.”
Marcotte added: “It’s a game to forget.”
P.E.I. returns to action Saturday when it travels to Saint John to play the Sea Dogs at 5 p.m. before hosting Halifax Sunday at 3 p.m.