One would be hard pressed to find a team with more determination than the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team.
Despite putting together a solid game plan and living up to it, Concordia, with its rash of injuries, remained winless in a 3-2 loss to the McGill Redmen on Sunday night at McConnell Arena.
Concordia looked far more impressive in the opening minutes then they had in their entire match against Ottawa on Friday night.
Unfortunately, a good early pace for both teams was interrupted by the departure of Stinger centre Derek Legault who dropped to the ice near the mid-way point of the period.
Despite another injured player, Concordia stepped up their offensive stride to open the scoring just a couple of minutes later when Chris Page let a tough-angled shot rip of his stick that found a way past the McGill net minder.
The Maroon and Gold continued to set the offensive rhythm with a goal by Sean Tilley that made it 2-0 for the visiting team.
After killing-off the power play, McGill took over the game’s momentum when Concordia defenceman Greg Dunn and centre Patrice Roy took penalties 14 seconds apart to give McGill a two-man advantage.
McGill did not waste the opportunity, as David Burgess scored after a scramble in front of the net, caused Ozga to momentarily lose sight of the puck.
The first ten minutes of the second period marked the return of Legault, but it also marked the departure of Tilley after he took a vicious slash to the wrist.
The bad news did not end there as McGill tied the game on the power play when Joey D’Amico sunk in a low shot from the side of the net to beat Ozga, tying the game at 2-all.
Things continued to prove difficult for Concordia’s shortened roster when they missed a golden chance at taking the lead following a 2-man advantage.
Then the final period would see what had been a physical and gritty effort by both teams turn into an ugly situation.
A McGill shot from the blue line that once again caught a nasty deflection found its way past Ozga, making it 3-2 for McGill.
Concordia did not give up as two late one timers by first-year forward Yannick Noiseux caused some last-minute drama, but failed to get past the McGill goalie.
Despite a tough loss Coach Kevin Figsby was content with the way the team played. “I’m not worried at all. I think we played excellent today and executed the game plan perfectly,” he said. “Everybody on the Concordia Stingers played with heart and character.”
“We’re working hard but the puck’s not going our way. I just can’t wait till the next came to get the W,” said Ozga, who made 37 saves in the game.
Another optimistic but extremely frustrated player at the end was Tilley who was nursing his injured wrist.
“We were in the game the whole time and you hate to look for excuses but we have a lot of injuries,” he said. Tilley was also very upset with regards to his injury.
“It’s too bad, ’cause our line was going good. It’s hard to sit and watch a tight game like that.”