The Concordia men’s hockey team was in for a tough time on Sunday afternoon as they paid a visit to the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
A loss would give them their third in four games since returning from Germany.
Although last season the Stingers managed to respond in the second half with their backs up against the wall, the Gee-Gees had other ideas that night, coming out on top with a 4-2 win.
Early in the game, both teams had great chances to score with their best players earning their title.
For Concordia, the best chances came from forwards Luc Messier, Phil Paris and David Comeau, who were arguably the best players on the ice for most of the game.
However, it was fifth-year Stinger forward Sean Tilley who opened the scoring after taking a sharp pass in front of the net from Derek Legault, promptly dumping the puck in the top right corner.
This was the only and final time the Stingers would possess the lead. The Gee-Gee’s tied the game shortly after with a power play goal that took an ugly deflection on a shot from the side of the net, beating goalie Philippe Ozga.
A few seconds later, Ottawa snagged the lead after an initial shot from the point got behind Ozga and sat in the crease for a couple of seconds before being banged home by Mike Corneau, making it 2-1.
Although the Concordia squad was doing its best to dig for the puck in the corners, they couldn’t manage a clean shot through the net for the first period’s last half.
The most telling statistic would be that after jumping out to an early 10-2 lead in shots, the Stingers wound up trailing 15-12 by period’s ends.
Unfortunately, the fun didn’t stop there for Ottawa as they added another power play goal, making it 3-1 after one period of play.
The second period got off to an odd start as each team had goals waved off on successive plays.
An aggressive tone that had started to show its teeth in the first period came out biting in the second when Ottawa’s Rob Meanchoff began pummelling the fallen Concordia forward Edin Burazerovic, after he tripped into the Ottawa goaltender.
“I don’t know what was going on tonight,” said Burazerovic. “I don’t usually get so aggressive but tonight I was fired up.”
Although anyone in the arena could have seen that coming earlier when Burazerovic was talking it up with a couple of the Gee-Gees, no one could have predicted what came next.
After letting the first penalty expire in a two-man advantage without capitalizing, the Stingers got scorched when Ottawa broke out of their own zone shorthanded on a two-on-one rush, ending with Corneau notching his second goal of the game to give his team a dominant 4-1 lead.
This led to Concordia finally chipping into the lead when captain Patrice Roy won a faceoff back to the point where Sebastien Roy was waiting, unleashing a howitzer that found its way into the back of the net, closing the gap to 4-2.
Despite an impressive effort in the third period by Concordia that at times made a comeback look possible, the team hurt itself when a couple of undisciplined penalties crushed any momentum.
After the game, several of those involved, despite some questionable officiating at times, were willing to rest some of the blame on their own shoulders.
“They were the more disciplined team. The penalties really hurt us everytime we’d just get in a rhythm,” Tilley said after the game.
“There are some guys who have got to start thinking about the team before themselves.”
While also confessing frustration at some undisciplined errors, Stinger Coach Kevin Figsby also remains confident with his team’s abilities.
“We’re just going to have to put or heads down, pick up our lunch pales and work our way through this,” he said.
This is a team that has faced adversity before and beat it, and according to Tilley, they believe they can do so again.
“We just got to win a couple of games and get on a roll,” Tilley explained.