The men’s hockey team faced off against the McGill Redmen last Wednesday in a close game that eventually saw the Stingers fall 5-4 to the conference leaders.
The game was the first in the Stingers’ week without head coach Kevin Figsby, who is in Turkey coaching Team Canada at the Winter University Games until Feb. 6.
The game also held charitable significance as the proceeds from tickets sold to anyone wearing Australian colors went towards the Queensland government “Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal” to help with flood relief efforts in Australia.
After receiving the first penalty of the game, Concordia fell behind 1-0 when McGill centre Guillaume Doucet, on the power play, took a pass from behind that net that fell right on to his stick. He flicked it in for McGill’s first goal.
Not to be outdone, Stinger Kyle Kelly tipped a puck ahead and 10 seconds after McGill had scored, Kelly tied it up when a breakaway led to a wrist shot that beat Redmen goalie Antoine Tardif blocker side.
With time ticking down on the first, the Stingers had a scare when McGill appeared to make a deflection that would have put them ahead. However, the goal was waved off after a referee ruled that the puck had been touched by a high stick.
Concordia started the second period off poorly. McGill scored three minutes in when a scramble in front of the net put them ahead 2-1 after a shot by Christophe Longpre-Poirier went through Concordia goalie Raffaele D’Orso’s legs.
McGill was not finished; coming on strong, they nearly scored but an odd bounce caused the puck to go wide. Pouncing on the opportunity, Concordia rushed forward three-on-two, but were unable to get the puck past Tardif.
On the resulting faceoff, Redman Simon Marcotte-LÃ©garÃ© grabbed a breakaway and slapped one past D’Orso gloveside. McGill had widened their lead to two and put the pressure on the Stingers.
Responding to McGill’s offensive push, the Stingers set up a scoring opportunity. After a slap shot was gloved by Tardif, a faceoff was called in McGill’s zone. Concordia won the faceoff, and the puck was passed to Stinger Jesse Goodsell who sent the puck flying past Tardif’s blocker side, keeping the game within one.
McGill, uncomfortable with only being ahead by one, responded less than a minute later. Redman Ryan McKiernan, from the blue line, shot the puck off the crossbar, but a lucky bounce saw it go in and McGill were up by two again, 4-2.
Once again, Concordia was forced to respond to McGill’s offence, and respond they did. With 18 seconds left in the second, Michael Stinziani shot one through that slipped between Tardif’s legs keeping the game within one.
As the third started, Concordia fans were frightened when a pair of slapshots threatened their chance of comeback, but D’Orso, who made 35 saves on 40 shots, wouldn’t have any of it, and slapped both away.
But when enough shots come at you, eventually, some of them are bound to get by you. That was the case when McGill defenceman Neil Blunden scored an unfortunate goal after an apparent pass from behind the net bounced off the inside of D’Orso’s pads and into the net. McGill was up 5-3 with 10 minutes left in the game.
The Stingers’ frustrations showed; in a two minute span, Concordia received an astounding 21 minutes in penalties, which deflated any hope of comeback.
As the time went down and the Stingers penalty kill worked hard to keep the Redmen from capitalizing on their mistakes, D’Orso shined. Blocking goals left, right and centre, his effort rallied his team.
With 50 seconds left, D’Orso was pulled and captain Marc-Andre Element skated on. Picking up a pass right as he got to the blue line, Element slapped one in, making it look easy.
But the late final goal was not enough to overtake McGill’s lead and the Redmen skated off, victorious.
The Stingers fell 6-5 in overtime to Ottawa on Friday evening. George Lovatsis scored three goals and Maxime Joyal made 29 saves in the effort. The Stingers don’t take the ice again until Feb. 9 against UQTR.