Concordia’s men’s hockey team had a strong third period in last night’s win
After losing game one of their first round playoff series 4-0, the Concordia Stingers stormed back in game two, coming from behind to defeat the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks by a score of 5-2.
“I was emotional after the second period and I told them that I was so proud of them,” Stingers head coach Marc-André Élement said. “They battled during the whole season. We had a little something going on tonight and I told them if they kept working hard they would win.”
The highlight of the first game was Ridgebacks goaltender Brendan O’Neill, who stopped all 35 Stingers shots in his shutout win in game one. On Friday night, O’Neill continued his stellar play, stopping all 20 shots he faced in the first period.
O’Neill’s solid play allowed his team to take an early lead in the game. After a defensive breakdown by Stingers defenceman Anthony Gingras, Ridgebacks forward Jack Patterson was able to go one-on-one with Stingers goaltender Philippe Cadorette. Patterson made no mistake, putting the puck up and over Cadorette’s arm to make the score 1-0.
In the second period, the Stingers were playing catch up. They threw everything they could at O’Neill, but were unable to tie the game—until rookie forward Anthony De Luca scored on a one-timer after a pass from forward Anthony Beauregard.
“We knew O’Neill was playing well but we just want to break him down and we needed one goal,” De Luca said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t do it in the first game but now we have and we’re going to continue tomorrow.”
Later in the period, the Stingers went on the penalty kill and were pressured by a buzzing Ridgebacks offense. The Stingers eventually caved under that pressure and gave up a goal, making the score 2-1 in favour of UOIT. The period ended at 2-1.
Down by a goal with a period left, the season was on the line. If the team had lost, they would have been eliminated from the playoffs. It also would have been the last game for team captain Olivier Hinse. Despite the pressure, Hinse knew his guys were there for him.
“The guys knew it could have been my last game and they were all playing a little bit for me and it felt great,” Hinse said. “We just needed to play our game.”
The third period was much different for the Stingers, as the floodgates opened and they were able to solve O’Neill.
Just seven minutes into the period, Stingers defencemen Philippe Charbonneau tied the game with a wrist shot from the blue line. Then, with five minutes left, forward Scott Oke gave the team their first lead of the night, with a goal that went between O’Neill’s legs.
With the Ridgebacks pressing to tie the game back up, Hinse scored to make it 4-2, with De Luca adding an empty netter for the 5-2 final score.
The Stingers will play game three on Feb. 18 at Ed Meagher arena at 7:30 p.m. The winner will move on to the second round of the playoffs.
“Game three is going to be business as usual,” Élement said. “We’re just going to adjust a couple of things, but I told the guys that once they leave the rink tonight, it’s over and we do it all again tomorrow.”