Head Coach Kevin Figsby and the rest of the Concordia men’s hockey team are usually the last people to blame the officials for their misfortunes when a game gets ugly.
That, however, wasn’t the case in the Stinger’s first game of the weekend against the UQTR Patriotes, which they dropped by a score of 8-3 at Ed Meagher Arena Friday night.
“I’m not disappointed with the guys tonight,” Figsby said after a bitter blowout, “I’m disappointed that they didn’t even get a chance to play their game.” This came after what had been a hard-fought tilt for the first half of the game turned into a complete farce in the latter part of the contest.
There was a good deal of excitement heading into this game as the ever-improving Concordia squad looked to lay claim as one of the best products in Canadian hockey. A victory against the country’s fifth ranked team would have certainly helped in that cause.
The Patriots spent the early minutes showing their efficiency on special teams as they nearly scored shorthanded and would eventually notch the game’s first goal while enjoying a powerplay.
Concordia responded by keeping the visitors on their toes for the last ten minutes of the period with some consistent offensive pressure. One of the period’s best chances came when forward Michael Halitzki used a burst of speed and some fancy stickwork to cut through the defence and a get a shot in close.
But goalie Danny Dallaire was up to the challenge making one of 50 saves on the night.
Other quality scoring chances would come from the likes of Captain David Comeau and forward Derek Legault but the deficit remained 1-0 going into the second.
After the tightly fought opening frame no one could have predicted the ferocity with which UQTR attacked in the first few minutes of the second period.
Forward Nicolas Pelletier played the starring role by putting three goals past goalie Kyle Stanton less than six minutes in. It would be part of a five-point performance from Pelletier as he added a pair of assists. “It is unfortunate but we have to play it down,” Stanton said. “You can’t let that get to you, we know we’re better than that.”
Trailing 4-0, the Stingers managed to step up their game once again, showing their resilience and that the game wasn’t yet over.
First a Joey D’Amico pass attempt took a lucky bounce in past Dallaire to get the Stingers on the board. That was followed up moments later by a goal from Frederic Faucher who finished-off a nice passing play with Comeau on a 3-1 rush to make it 4-2.
The sudden rush of optimism wouldn’t last though. Despite making a highlight reel save on what looked like a sure goal, Stanton would not be able to turn
aside the follow-up chance as Alexandre Piche added his second powerplay goal of the game.
Stanton would then be forced to leave the game after aggravating a sore hip on the aforementioned save. That would bring back-up Trevor Cunning in to play out the rest of the game.
Before the end of the second, Faucher would give his team a final glimmer of hope as a gritty goal cut the lead to 5-3.
While it seemed that the stage had been set for an intense third period showdown, an unexpected rash of questionable penalties had the Stingers playing shorthanded for a good part of the third.
Making a long story short, the Stingers would give up two more power-play goals, including a hat-trick goal from Piche.
The final numbers showed that UQTR had been granted 11 powerplays, on which they scored five goals, and that Concordia had been assessed a stupefying 26 minutes in penalties in the 8-3 loss.
Despite the controversy the Stingers were also accepting of their role in the loss. “A lot of tonight we brought on ourselves,” Legault said. “We wanted to come out of the gate strong. We wanted to send a message and we didn’t do that.”
The Day After
The following evening the Stingers squeaked out a 4-4 tie with the McGill Redmen to maintain some distance in the standings.
Yannick Noiseux had two goals and an assist while Andrew Davis also had a big contribution with three assists.
Concordia now sits three points ahead of McGill for the last playoff spot in the OUA division