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Stingers win first playoff series in 16 years

by Alexander Cole February 19, 2017 0 comment

Concordia’s men’s hockey team held off a late rush from the Ridgebacks to win 3-2

Riding the momentum of Friday night’s win, the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team came out flying against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks and won 3-2 to move on to the second round of the playoffs.

“I’m really, really proud of the guys,” said Stingers head coach Marc-André Élement. “I’m so happy about winning the series. They had a good team on the other side, and we came back from a tough loss.”

In game two on Friday night, the Stingers scored four goals in the third period. They continued that trend in the first period on Saturday. Despite two phenomenal games by goaltender Brendan O’Neill, the Ridgebacks opted to play backup goalie Tyson Teichmann.

During the first shift of the game, Stingers forwards Dominic Beauchemin and Scott Oke set up a fast-moving passing play that eventually found the stick of captain Olivier Hinse, who scored on the team’s first shot of the match.

“We knew we had to get a start, and the first shift for our line we were buzzing,” Hinse said. “Beauchemin made a great pass, and all I had to do was tap it in, so that gave us a lot of momentum.”

The Stingers continued to dominate the first period and, 14 minutes later, Stingers forward Raphael Lafontaine scored after a cross-ice pass from Charles-Éric Légaré. Then, just four minutes later, forward Antoine Masson scored after tipping a shot from forward Philippe Sanche.

By the end of the first period, it was 3-0 for the Stingers. Despite allowing the three goals, Teichmann was solid for the Ridgebacks, stopping 18 shots in the first period alone, and 33 over the course of the game. For Élement, the goaltending change had no effect on the team’s strategy.

The Stingers survived a late push by UOIT.

“Last game, we needed to take a lot of shots and get some traffic in front, and we did the same thing against Teichmann,” Élement said.

The second period was a different story as the Ridgebacks came in swarming, looking to make a comeback. The Stingers started to run into some penalty trouble in the period, but thanks to the goaltending of Philippe Cadorette, the team was able to escape the period still up 3-0.

It was the third period that would prove to be the scariest for the Stingers. Just three minutes in, the Ridgebacks scored to make it 3-1. Six minutes later, Ridgebacks forward Mike Robinson scored on the powerplay, cutting the Stingers lead to just one goal.

“They gained momentum with all the penalties and they had a lucky second goal,” Élement said. “I just told the guys to keep working hard and keep the same game plan, and we came out with the win.”

The victory capped off the team’s first playoff series win in 16 years. The win was especially meaningful to Hinse, who is in his last year with the team. After the game, Hinse said the team’s performance on Saturday was one of the reasons he came back for a fifth season.

“I’ve been waiting for this the past five years,” Hinse said. “I knew this year we had the group of guys that could accomplish anything. The love in this room and the brotherhood that we have is incredible, and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

The Stingers will now take on the Queen’s Golden Gaels in the second round of the playoffs, which will start next week. The exact dates of the games have not yet been announced.

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