Patrick Lepage picked an ideal time to have his strongest outing of the year, stopping 35 shots, including 14 in the third period, as the Concordia Stingers Men’s hockey team cut down the division leading UQTR Patriotes 5-2 Sunday at the Ed Meagher Arena. The win, coupled with a 4-2 win over Queens the day before, leave the team only two points out of top spot in the OUA Far East division.
Perhaps the best game played by the team this season, Patrick Lepage stood out by continuously making key saves, including a save early in the third period, when the goalie showed great patience in preventing what appeared to be a sure goal for the Patriotes.
“We played one hell of a game,” said Lepage, who was named player of the game, “it was great to be a part of it.”
There was some worry at the halfway point of the second when Lepage was hit in the blocker with a shot. He immediately grabbed his hand and looked to be in pain. But Lepage stayed in the game and afterwards showed no worse for wear,
“I got the puck on the inside of my blocker. It felt numb but it’s fine now,” Lepage said.
The team has been playing with renewed optimism since the Christmas break. They sport a record of 4-1-1-1 since January, despite facing division-leading UQTR three times. The team has also had to contend with injuries to two of their top offensive players, Luc Messier and Yannick Noiseux, and their leader on defence, Patrice Theriault.
Coach Kevin Figsby believes the team has been able to compensate for the losses from within, “Right now we have guys who are digging down deep and filling in the holes.”
Captain Joey D’Amico had a commandeering effort on offence, scoring the first goal of the contest, and again in the second, to tie the game. The team made their mark on special-teams, scoring three powerplay goals in the second. D’Amico credited their success on offence to a strong work ethic,
“We dominated in their zone down low and they couldn’t control us. When we had our opportunities we put them in.”
After D’Amico opened the scoring, UQTR had two powerplay goals of their own to take the lead in the second. After D’Amico tied it on the powerplay at 15:09, Matt Armstrong showed good positioning to take the lead away from UQTR. With the Stingers attacking the net with less than one minute remaining in the period, Frederic Faucher gave the home team a two-goal lead. Michael Halitzki iced the contest in the third.
The team heads into Wednesday night’s Corey Cup against McGill playing their best hockey of the season. A win would give Concordia a tie for first-place in the division, while a McGill win would give them sole possession of first.