The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team continued their hot streak with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Guelph Gryphons at Ed Meagher Arena last Saturday. The team has won six of their last seven games, and find themselves only one point out of first place in the Far East division, with a chance to leapfrog division leader McGill on Wednesday against UQTR.
The Stingers dominated at both ends of the ice. Their division-leading offence was impressive yet again as they outshot the hapless Gryphons 51-27. Goaltender Robert Lepage kept Guelph off the scoresheet for most of the contest, and would have had a shutout if not for a powerplay goal early in the third.
“It’s unfortunate that Pat Lepage didn’t get the shutout today because he realistically deserved it,” coach Kevin Figsby said. Lepage said, “As long as we get the W, it doesn’t matter.”
The scoring began with only three seconds remaining in the opening period, when forward Matt Armstrong demonstrated a keen nose for the net by putting a loose puck in the crease past Guelph goalie Ken Ritson. The Stingers didn’t waste any time adding to their lead in the second, with captain Joey D’Amico scoring at 1:44. On a partial break after a smooth pass from centre Bruno Champagne, D’Amico appeared to lose control of the puck, but somehow it managed to slide under the goalie and into the net.
Guelph committed a cardinal sin against the Stingers by taking five penalties during the second. This translated into two powerplay goals by Concordia. The first happened with 11:35 remaining, with Yannick Noiseux finding the open net after some great puck control by the Stingers. Phillipe Lacasse scored the other PP goal, electing to shoot on a two-on-one, which fooled everyone including Ritson. Once the dust had settled after the second, the Stingers had outshot the Gryphons 23-8 and were up 4-0.
The third period saw Lepage’s bid for his first shutout of the season end with Scott Rozendal scoring on the powerplay for Guelph. Once again, the Stingers played the period to the very last second, with Frederic Faucher scoring at 19:59 of the third to end the game 5-1.
While the Stingers did dominate play, coach Figsby was at times irate over the alleged dirty play of the Gryphons. “You go out there and get chipped and hacked by the other team…you just have to persevere,” he said. He was also visibly upset with the officials at times, especially when Frederic Faucher was given an unsportsmanlike penalty in the third. He said, “I thought the refereeing was a little horses–t at times, but we’ll live with that.” The players felt equally frustrated at times as well. “You tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the ref, but when you lose key players, you’re wondering what’s going on,” Lacasse said.
One of those players was Armstrong, who took a cross-check and suffered what the team believes to be a cracked rib. He did not return to the game. Jonathan Gautier was out with a bad knee, but will be ready to play on Wednesday.