There are very few times where teams are happy after a loss. For the Concordia Stingers, this was one of them.
It was a hostile environment at McConnell Arena as many McGill students were in attendance as part of their carnival week. Kyle Jessiman made his debut as a Stinger and despite the loss, the 20-year-old made quite the impression on his new team.
“For his first game, in front of all those people it could be a little intimidating,” said defenceman Carl Neill. “But he did a heck of a job, we’re very happy for him.”
Head coach Marc-André Élément showed great confidence in the rookie, starting him in front of the crowd. They jeered him the entire night but that did not faze the youngster making his first start.
“He played really well. I’m very proud of him,” said Élément. “It’s not easy coming in playing in full [arena], against McGill — it’s not easy. It just showed how mentally [tough] he is.”
The full crowd was given quite the show, as right from the opening faceoff, the game was fast-paced and physical. The game was reminiscent of the OUA conference final playoff series between the two teams back in the 2017-18 season.
The physicality of the game played to the strength of many Stingers players, including Chase Harwell who scored the team’s second goal of the game just under a minute after McGill took a 2-1 lead in the third period.
I love that type of game, the atmosphere was crazy and emotions are high,” said Harwell. “I think we played really well. We deserved those two points but that’s the way overtime goes — one bounce and it’s all over.”
This was without a doubt the Stingers’ best losing performance of the season, which on the surface isn’t saying much as they did not get the full two points. However the team felt that they deserved a better fate.
“I think we dominated the third period with a lot of scoring chances,” said Élément. “I’m really proud of the guys. It’s not easy to play in front of a full crowd like that.”
The Stingers hit a bunch of posts in the third period and overtime, and ultimately didn’t get the last bounce they needed to get the victory.
McGill’s goaltender Louis-Philippe Guindon had another stellar performance as well, making 56 saves on 58 shots. This was by far the Stingers’ highest output of shots on goal in a game this season.
This was one of the most entertaining games of the U-Sports season and Élément couldn’t help but take in all in and salute both teams, and the crowd.
“I think university should always [have a full crowd],” said Élément. “It was a great game. For 10 bucks they had a great show — it’s great for hockey.”
Élément wouldn’t confirm who would start in goal for the Stingers tonight against the #6 ranked Carleton Ravens. Puck drop for the game is set for 7:30.