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ConU can be proud of men’s hockey

by Archives February 27, 2002

What a year it has been for the Concordia men’s hockey team. Despite not making the playoffs, the Stingers gave themselves and their fans something to be very proud about, as well as something to look forward to next year.
This past season a team that included 12 rookies, a stat that made it one of the youngest University teams in the country, took itself on a memorable journey through adversity and perseverance.
The journey itself was like scaling a mountain. The steeper it got, the harder the team climbed.
Evidence of early season problems can be found in a 5-6-1 first half record that included four losses by one goal, two of which came in overtime. Important numbers considering that the team eventually missed the playoffs by five points allowing the McGill Redmen to grab the last spot. “We didn’t come out strong enough in the first semester,” Captain Michael Tremblay said. Tremblay will be one of only a few players who will not return next year.
The first few games in the second half of the season continued to give the Maroon and Gold some problems as they lost four of their first six in which they were outscored 24-16.
The tough start put Concordia in a near impossible situation as far as the post-season was concerned. At one point the Stingers sat nine points behind the Redmen with only five games remaining. This made every game a must win for Concordia and a must lose for McGill.
But with everyone but themselves ready to call it quits the Stingers went on a tear by winning four straight games. Incredibly the Redmen also held up their part of the bargain by losing four in a row. The rally brought the Maroon and Gold within three points with two games remaining.
Then it happened. A 5-3 road loss to the UQTR Patriotes eliminated the playoff hopes of the young team and left them dreaming of what could have been.
The team also lost its final game of the year to the Brock Badgers. Although not significant to their playoff quest, it allowed the opposition to complete a nearly identical feat to the one attempted by the Stingers as they successfully made a late season surge to qualify.
Despite missing out on their primary goal, making it as close as they did was an extraordinary feat which is worth more that a few head scratches. “It was a lot of fun to watch these guys perform in the last few weeks,” second-year coach Kevin Figsby said.
It could have been the leadership and enthusiasm provided by Figsby that led them back from their early troubles. Maybe the addition of several new players at the mid-way point got the team rolling. Then again, in the second half of the season almost every player on the team looked brand new. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t make the playoffs,” Figsby said. “But it’s not because of the guys that finished the season and that’s the important thing.”
This season also wrapped up the second in a three year rebuilding program for Figsby and his team. It seems that the plan may even be a bit ahead of schedule thanks to some great recruiting. “I’m ecstatic with the guys we have on the hockey team now,” Figsby said. “We got great chemistry, leadership and things look good for the future.”
If the team has as near as much success with its new faces next year as it did this season, there’s a good chance that Concordia will be a strong contender for top spot in their division.

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