After a moral-crushing loss to Royal Military College less than 20 hours earlier, the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team needed something of substance to give in their match against the Queen’s Golden Gaels last Saturday afternoon. It turned out to be the referees’ whistle, as the Stingers won 7-4 in a game where 71 minutes in penalties were called.
“Everytime we play Queen’s, it’s that type of hockey game. There’s a lot of emotion,” Coach Kevin Figsby said of the aggressive play.
The mayhem began just under 10 minutes into the first with Concordia already sitting on a 1-0 lead thanks to Mathieu Lendick.
In an altercation that saw nearly every on-ice player getting involved, seven players were sent to the penalty box, four from Concordia and three from Queen’s.
If this was an attempt by the officials to send a message about how the game was going to be called, the message was clearly ignored.
Ironically, the game’s next goal came shorthanded when Golden Gael Matt Macdonald took a centering pass, which left the Stinger defence stranded and went high on goalie Philippe Ozga to tie the game.
The Maroon and Gold would finish the period strong, as two late power play goals were scored by forwards Luc Messier and Patrice Roy to end the period 3-1. But the shootout had only just begun.
The Stingers wasted little time increasing their lead as Messier notched his second goal of the game less than three minutes into the frame after taking a beautiful pass from Chris Page at the opposite side of the net.
At 4-1, it was starting to look like the game belonged to the Stingers.
However, less than a minute later the Gaels tried to build some momentum of their own with their second short-handed goal of the game, courtesy of Jamie Brock.
Concordia refused to sit on their lead though, as Lendick capitalized on another power play to regain a three-goal lead.
After having six penalties called against them in the first eleven minutes of the second period, the Gaels looked shaken and stirred but were far from done.
Queen’s cut it to a two-goal lead with their third short-handed marker of the game and then inched up to 5-4 with less then two minutes left in the period, sending the Stingers back on their heels.
Although showing signs of fatigue after the second period, Concordia responded by putting on display their cohesiveness on the power play as Page scored five minutes into the third frame.
From there the scoring parade came to a halt, the officials continued to dole out penalty upon penalty with most of them going against the Stingers. This led to several near-goals for the Gaels as Rick White and Ryan Poll each hit the post while enjoying a two-man advantage.
Fortunately, the home team came through unscathed and Derek Legault rounded out the scoring for Concordia.
“It’s a game we needed to win. It’s a game we wanted to win. And when we want something bad enough we seem to want to work for it,” said Figsby at the end of the game.
“We had to come out with a big win today and we did it. We’re still alive,” added Page.
It may be early to be thinking of the playoff race for the Stingers but anyone who remembers how tight things got at the end of last year still knows that there is plenty of room for optimism.