OT spells defeat for men’s hockey

After surrendering the game tying goal with one second remaining in regulation, the Concordia men’s hockey team lost in the first minute of overtime by a score of 6-5 in a heartbreaker against the RMC Paladins on Saturday.
Although neither team got the best from their players, all the way from the forwards to the goaltending, it was ultimately the Concordia defence that collapsed on itself in the final seconds while RMC was enjoying a powerplay.
After losing a battle for the puck in the corner, the Stingers then lost the
battle in front of the net as they were unable to clear out the opposing forward who tied the game by lifting in a loose puck at the side of the net.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the first time that the Stingers’ inability to keep the front of the net clear cost them on the scoreboard.
The first three RMC goals came off deflections from in front.
On at least two of these goals, netminder Phillipe Ozga had little chance to make the save as the scorers were able to position themselves near the front of the net, facing little or no pressure from the Concordia defence.
“We have to work harder on the basics,” said forward Luc Messier, who was the Stingers best offensive weapon. He scored the team’s first two goals and added an assist.
In a game that had more ups and downs than a rollercoaster, neither team was able to gain much in the way of momentum as there were four lead changes over the course of the match.
Another reason for the inconsistentcy came as a result of the 20 penalties that were called during the game.
“It’s hard in a game like that to keep it going,” centre Alain Charbonneau said.
“Each time you get a goal something gets called soon after.”
While a loss is a loss and this one will be particularily hard to swallow for
the Stingers, there is at least one positive thing for them to take away from the match.
When it looked as though the Stingers would be lucky just to see overtime, trailing by a score of 4-2 late in the second period, they showed how quickly their young offence is capable of striking.
First, Patrice Roy brought his team within a goal on the powerplay by blasting a slap-shot through the RMC goalie.
A minute later Edin Burazerovic was the beneficiary of some dazzling skating and stickhandling by David Comeau, who danced through a crowd of defenders before finding an open Burazerovic at the side of the net.
It looked like the Stingers would successfully complete the comeback when Sean Tilley gave his team a 5-4 lead with less than five minutes remaining.
But alas, we know the rest of the story.
The Paladins gave Concordia little time to dwell over the game-tying goal as they scored 44 seconds into the extra period off a quick snap shot from the stick of an RMC forward.
The shot came after the forward stepped several feet inside the blue line and ripped a shot that Ozga would have liked back as it beat him in the top left corner.
“I wasn’t able to come up with the big saves,” Ozga said. “We need to shape up and work harder against lesser teams.”
After the game head coach Kevin Figsby wasn’t making any excuses for his team’s loss.
“We didn’t deserve to win,” he said. “We gave up weak goals and we made mental mistakes.”
The loss marked the second for the Stingers in their last three games. Both losses have come against teams that Figsby says the Stingers should have been able to beat.
“Now we’ve lost two games against lesser teams,” said Figsby. “We’re playing down to the level of our opponent[s].”
The Stingers won’t have much time to rest as they get set to play first place UQTR on Wednesday.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that these players are looking forward to a chance to remind their opponents that they are still one of the best young teams out there.
“I think it’s a guarantee that we’ll be ready for that game and that we’ll be able to come back from this,” said Charbonneau.
After Wednesday’s game Concordia will then have a busy weekend when they go on the road to play York on Saturday and Guelph on Sunday.

NOTES:
Patrice Roy had two goals as the men defeated the Queens Golden Gaels on Friday night by a score of 3-1.
After giving up the game’s first goal on the powerplay the Stingers had goals in each period with Chris Page scoring in the second.
Compared to the way he’s been tested already in several games this year, goaltender Phillipe Ozga had an easier night facing 29 shots from the winless Gaels.
It was the second meeting this year between the two teams, the first was an exhibition game which the Stingers won 6-4.

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