The Stingers swept the Royal Military College Paladins in a home-and-away series this weekend and solidified their hold on second place in the conference.
It took two goals in the third period, on Friday in Kingston, for the Stingers to come back and win 4-3 after having fallen behind 3-2 after two periods.
“They play in a very small rink, and we’re a very fast-skating team,” explained head coach Kevin Figsby. “When a fast-skating team plays in a small rink, it equalizes our speed because there’s not enough room to play.”
Led by Alexandre Monahan’s four-point day and top-scorer Charles-Antoine Messier’s three-point performance, the Stingers extended their winning streak to four in a row on Sunday.
The Paladins’ sloppy passing early in the game led to giveaways, and much of the play in the opening minutes took place in the RMC zone. The Stingers had many chances to score the game’s first goal, but couldn’t get the puck in the net until Messier finished off a big rebound from Kiefer Orsini’s shot from the point.
The Paladins’ Alexandre Leclerc was left with a bloody forehead after a scuffle between players on both the ice and bench. Jesse Goodsell was assigned the first of three 10-minute misconduct penalties handed out during the game.
Concordia defenceman Michael Blundon took a high-sticking penalty soon after to give RMC a two-man advantage. Despite brilliant penalty-killing by George Lovatsis, who managed to keep the puck in the RMC zone for over 10 seconds while four Paladins tried to get the puck off him, and a diving save by goalie Maxime Joyal, the Paladins tied the game with eight seconds to go in the first period.
The Stingers waited barely a minute before scoring in the second. Another big rebound given up by Paladins’ goalie Andrew Flemming was tapped in, this time by Lovatsis, to give the home team the lead.
Concordia’s ability to match RMC’s physical style of play, block clearing attempts and keep the puck in the RMC zone frustrated the Paladins. Their frustration led to two powerplay opportunities for the Stingers, and it was during the second penalty that captain Marc-Andre Element ripped a shot from the right circle past Fleming to put the Stingers up by two.
But RMC would get one back when Matthew Pinder’s shot went through Joyal’s pads. The Stingers went into the third period with a 3-2 lead.
Eric Begin scored his first goal of the season five minutes into the third to broaden Concordia’s lead to two goals.
With eight minutes to go, Messier was sent sliding into the boards and didn’t get up. When play was stopped, he skated off the ice in some pain, but without help.
The ill effects of that injury didn’t last long. Just three minutes later, he was streaking down the ice and took a shot from the left circle that went in one side of the net and out the other for his second goal of the night.
“Right now, he’s playing to his potential and that’s exactly what we need and why we’re in second place,” Figsby said of his top scorer.
Monahan added to the Stingers’ offensive display when he picked up the puck at the RMC blue line and scored in alone on Flemming to pick up his fourth point of the night.
In the last five minutes of the game, Concordia’s penalty box got a little crowded. Concordia’s Stefan Lutzenkirchen took two minor penalties, RMC’s Braden Casper and Concordia’s Lyle Van Wieren took concurrent roughing penalties about a minute later and 10 seconds later Orsini was booked for slashing, then for roughing with a little over a minute left to play.
RMC took advantage of the 5-on-3 when Jonathan Ferlatte scored with three minutes to go in the period, but the Paladins couldn’t capitalize during the minutes remaining in the powerplay and the Stingers walked away with the 6-3 win.
Though the rankings will only be released after press time, Concordia should crack the top 10 in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport rankings for this week.
Figsby commended RMC goalie Flemming for standing his ground while getting 83 shots fired at him this weekend.
“I think the difference in today’s game is that we were the better team on bigger ice.”
The Stingers are on the road next weekend. They play the Brock Badgers on Friday Nov. 19 at 7:15 p.m. Saturday night’s game is against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks at 7:30 p.m.