The Concordia Stingers dropped their season opener 2-0 to the Carleton Ravens on Friday night, but the loss is the least of their worries.
“Hockey’s an emotional sport. Everyone wants to win,” said rookie forward Tyler Hylland. “Sometimes tempers boil over but it’s nothing personal. It’s just the competitive spirit.”
The Stingers are a young team – that’s no surprise to anyone. That inexperience caused some pregame nerves for some of the players, said Hylland, and the Stingers quickly found themselves down 1-0 halfway through the first period.
“It’s fun to get the jitters out of the first U Sports game, you never know what to expect,” said Hylland. “Obviously its not the result we were looking for tonight but it’s the first game, we’re going to learn and get better. We have the tools in the room to be a competitive team.”
Right from the get-go in the second period, the Ravens came out flying and quickly extended their lead to two nothing off the stick of Cody Caron, who ripped a slap shot past Marc-Antoine Turcotte. Turcotte was the main reason the Stingers only ended up losing.
After that, the emotions took over and plays started getting out of hand. The tipping point for the Stingers came when Captain Philippe Sanche took an elbow to the face, which made him sit out of the game for a while.
Three quarters of the way through the second period, first-year Stingers player Nico Blachman and Darian Skeoch of the Ravens dropped the gloves. Both players got match penalties and are subject to an automatic one game suspension for fighting in a no-fighting league.
In the third period, Liam Murphy, yet another newcomer for the Stingers, took a checking from behind penalty that gave his teammates a tall order of killing off the five-minute major penalty. One of the few bright spots of the night was on that penalty kill; Chase Harwell had one of the best shifts of his Stingers career.
“We need that kill. We’re down two, we gotta bear down,” said Harwell. “The team did a really good, a lot of communication between the players. In terms of penalty killing, I think we did really well.”
Unfortunately for Concordia, that was not the end of the drama as right before the final buzzer. Veteran third-year defence man Carl Neill slashed a Carleton Raven in the leg, resulting in a game misconduct and a one-game suspension for his actions.
The Stingers now look ahead to tonight when they face McGill in the first of three meetings this season. Puck drop is at 7:30pm at the Ed Meagher arena where the Stingers hope to put this game and its hostilities behind them.
Feature photo by Cecilia Piga