Men’s hockey team heads into winter break with 12-2-2 record
The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team beat the Laurentian Voyageurs 9-4 on Dec. 2 at the Ed Meagher Arena. The Stingers head into the winter break with a 12-2-2 record.
“I’m really proud of my guys the way they played the first half of the season,” said Stingers head coach Marc-André Élement. “It’s going to be a good break.”
The Voyageurs came out strong with a quick 2-1 lead, and the Stingers seemed caught off guard by their aggressive forecheck. Halfway through the first period, Laurentian’s pressure resulted in Voyageurs forward Danny Lepage creating a turnover at the Stingers’ blue line before ripping a shot past goalie Marc-Antoine Turcotte to extend the Voyageurs’ lead to 3-1. The Stingers looked tired at this point; they weren’t making clean passes, and had difficulty controlling play along the boards in the offensive zone to set up.
“I told the guys to stay positive and to keep pushing the pace,” Élement said.
The Stingers responded by scoring five answered goals to close out the first period with a 6-3 lead.
Stingers forward Scott Oke forced his way onto the stats sheet in the game with two goals and two assists. After being a healthy scratch against the Waterloo Warriors on Nov. 25, Oke’s four points were the most he had in a game this season.
“The past couple games, we weren’t producing. It clicked today,” Oke said. “That’s why we were able to jump back into it.”
Élement was pleased with Oke’s performance in this game and in the 6-4 win against the Nipissing Lakers on Dec. 1. The forward had struggled offensively, with only three points in the eight games before the weekend. Élement made the decision to sit Oke against Waterloo.
“It’s tough to scratch a fourth-year guy, but I had to do it because he needed a little spark. I think it did the job, and he had a really good weekend,” Élement said.
Oke said it felt good to be able to return to the lineup and contribute offensively.
“[After being scratched], I looked back on what I needed to work on,” Oke said. “I needed to protect the puck, be confident with the puck. It felt like I was probably throwing the puck away a little fast.”
Élėment said the team didn’t get the start they were looking for, but he was happy with how they rebounded and with the Stingers’ special teams play. A day after Concordia took 10 minor penalties and allowed four power-play goals against the Nipissing Lakers, they only took three minor penalties against Laurentian. The Stingers also made the Voyageurs pay for taking 10 infractions, converting on six of those opportunities.
“Tonight, discipline was really good. We let them take penalties, and that’s something we need to do next semester because we’re going to play against good teams,” Élement said.
Another player who struggled to get on the scoresheet over the last stretch of games was Alexis Pépin. Before this game, he had no points in his last five games. Yet, he exploded for four points against the Voyageurs, including two goals. His first of the night came off a slapshot from the blue line that beat the Voyageurs goalie. His second goal came from a series of dekes that put him alone in front of the net, and he flipped the puck over the blocker of the goalie.
“It’s been a long time without an offensive [scoring] touch,” Pépin said. “The first goal felt really great. I’ve been missing a lot of chances lately, and the points were there tonight. [On the second goal], honestly, I wasn’t aiming for the shot. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if it was all planned like that, but it went well.”
Stingers forward Anthony Beauregard continued his five-game points streak, with a goal and four assists. He pushed his season’s point total to 39 in just 16 games, leading U Sports in points.
The Stingers men’s hockey team’s will return from the break on the road on Jan. 5 against the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes.