Overtime heroics eliminate McGill

After splitting the season series with the McGill Redmen, the Stingers finally proved that they are the better team last week as they eliminated the Redmen 2-0 in the best-out-of-three OUA Far-East semifinals.
After a tight, defensive game one, in which the home Stingers emerged victorious, the bitter rivals met up at McGill’s McConnell Arena on Friday.
The Redmen jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead when forward Greg Davis, who finished the season with 21 goals in only 22 games, zipped the puck by Stinger netminder Francis Gourdeau only 3:35 into the first.
Although Concordia fell behind early, they were not simply going to sit back and allow McGill to send the series to a game 3. With 18 shots in the first, compared to the Redmen’s four, the Stingers were all over the home team, but could not get the puck past stellar McGill goalie Benoit Menard.
As the two squads headed to the rooms for the first intermission, it was McGill on top by one, thanks in large part to Menard.
The second period began with McGill coming out strong. Concordia’s puckstopper was not to be outdone, however, and put in a fantastic performance of his own, robbing the Redmen of several sure goals, including two big stops on Davis from right in front.
The visitors finally managed to tie it up late in the frame, when defenceman Patrick Pelchat deked around two fallen players, and proceeded to fake Menard right out of his pants.
With this, the Stingers finally managed to solve the hot goalie on their 26th shot of the game.
But after two periods of tough hockey, the momentum was on McGill’s side, having recovered from a weak first frame to outshoot Concordia 13-10 in the second.
With that momentum in hand, the Redmen once again took the lead only 57 seconds into the third when Randy Gregg Award nominee, centre David Burgess banged the puck under Gourdeau to put his team back on top by one.
The Stingers then started to choke.
They missed several golden opportunities to tie it up again, including a perfect scoring chance when winger Edin Burazerovic fanned on the puck while standing all by himself in front of an unprepared Menard.

Then centre Chris Page finally fixed his team’s choking problem by ripping a beautiful shot right by the stunned McGill goalie from the left hash-mark to tie it up yet again halfway through the period.
It appeared that the momentum, fickle as it was, decided to move to the Stinger’s bench.
From the mid-point of the third, it was almost as if the entire Redmen team had forgotten how to play. The entire team, except Menard, that is.
Determined to stay in the game, and not to be eliminated from the playoffs, Menard made several incredible saves. The netminder got a huge break when the referee blew his whistle a touch early, denying the Stingers of their first lead of the game, and effectively squelching any chance of the game ending in regulation time.
After outshooting McGill 41-23 through 60 minutes, Concordia now had to score in sudden death to move on to the next round, while the Redmen were hanging on by the skin of their teeth.
With both teams playing desperate hockey, neither could penetrate the other’s defence to even get a shot off in the extra period. Then, 3:11 in, Stinger wing Michel Tremblay took a backhanded swing at the puck from the side of the net and put it past Menard to win the game.
“It was actually a missed pass that just came to me,” Tremblay said after the game. “I just picked it up and backhanded it in,” he added amidst raucous cheering and blaring music from the Concordia dressing room.
In a season that saw the Stingers overcome a major discipline problem, and which included a last minute grab of second place when they defeated the previously undefeated UQTR Patriotes in the final game of the year, managed to eliminate McGill in their own rink. Concordia returned the favour to the Redmen after losing to them in last year’s first round. Head coach Kevin Figsby was very happy about their series win.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of the Concordia Stingers right now,” he said. “They’re just playing great hockey. There’s a feeling of destiny in the room.
“We said last week that we need to win four games to take the provincial title. So far we’ve won two,” he added.
The Stingers now move on to face the second ranked Patriotes in Trois-Rivi


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