Petes play like kittens

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

MONCTON -- There are signs plastered through the host city of the 2006 Memorial Cup warning the reader to be Beware of Cat, a reference to the Moncton Wildcats.

After getting outplayed and beaten by the Wildcats last night, the Peterborough Petes can speak to those signs' validity.

Met by a solid defensive club that was ranked No. 1 in the Canadian Hockey League's final rankings, the Petes lost 4-2 before a loud gathering of 7,085 at a hot Moncton Coliseum.

For the most part, the Petes played with about as much tenacity as a box of cuddly kittens. Considering the Petes could have earned a berth in the Cup final on Sunday with a win, their overall play was surprising and unacceptable to them.

"We knew that before we went in and still we came out flat," said Steve Downie, one of the few Petes who had some muster. "We weren't focused and we weren't ready to play. They outplayed us and they deserved to win."

The Petes (1-1) face the Vancouver Giants tonight and a Peterborough victory would send the Giants (0-2) home. If the Petes lose, they would have to play in a tiebreaker on Thursday, and it would be against the Giants if the Quebec Remparts (1-1) beat the Wildcats (2-0), who have clinched at least a berth in the semi-final, tomorrow.

The Petes are a deep club with a lot of nice players -- Jordan Staal, Daniel Ryder and Steve Downie come to mind -- but they don't have the type of performer who can break a game open. Nor did it help they were stuck in second gear for much of the evening.

The Wildcats had the advantage of playing at home, where they did not lose in the playoffs, but there was more. They hustled and had no trouble throwing the body around. The Petes realized they were in a game in the third period, and Greg Stewart scored early to bring them to a one-goal deficit. But Brad Marchand supplied insurance with less than five minutes remaining.

Downie also scored for Peterborough. Stephane Goulet, with two, and Adam Pineault also scored for Moncton. Pineault got the winner in the second when he beat goalie David Shantz with a flutterball. Shantz didn't get a good read on the shot and he overplayed the puck.

"David Shantz has played really well for us but a floater really hits a team when it goes in like that," Petes coach Dick Todd said. "(Overall), I was disappointed for two periods because we didn't compete."


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