Stingers survive home opener against McGill

The Concordia Stingers, no kidding, got the job done in their opening game of the season last Friday at Ed Meagher Arena – there was no magic recipe to the excitement of their play.

“The guys are ecstatic, they battled a lot of adversity in the first period. Some of the adversity was caused by ConU, and the rest seemed to come from the referee. He’s a first year ref and so I had to tell him to relax and call the game as he saw it.

We took discipline into our own hands and outscored the opposition 4-2,” Head Coach Kevin Figsby said after Friday’s victory over the McGill Redmen.

McGill controlled the first period on the power plays with 26-4 shots, while Concordia took a beating in the penalty box.

“In the first period we took seven minor penalties and McGill took two. The penalties we took in the first were undisciplined. When we took control of the discipline area we were a better hockey team out on the ice,” Figsby said.

In addition to the Stingers’ being out-shot in the first, the Redmen managed to slip two goals past Concordia goaltender Phil Ozga.

“We came out to a rough start but it’s my job to keep the guys in the game. They [McGill] got two lucky goals, two lucky bounces. My goal was to dominate the play and give our team a chance to win no matter what the shot count was. Besides our guys picked it up in the second,” Ozga said.

Momentum changed for the Maroon and Gold after first-year player Frederic Faucher made a breakaway for the McGill net with only one minute of play left in the first, but failed to capitalize.

“I don’t know what happened, I tried to shoot and somebody hit my skate. I fell and closed my eyes and thought, “When am I going to stop?” I hit the backboard and saw some stars. My back and head hurt, but I got up and made it back to the bench,” said Faucher.

Faucher’s fall gave the Stingers a new strength for a want-to-win in the second period.

And only two minutes into the second, left wing Matt Armstrong scored a goal off a rebound from behind McGill’s net.

“There were two major turning points in the game: Matt Armstrong’s first goal on his first shift in university hockey and Mike Halitzki’s jump out of the penalty box to score a goal on his break away. I think that’s the one that broke McGill’s back,” said Figsby.

The Stingers commitment to one another pulled through for the remainder of the game.

“He [Halitzki] had taken a very bad penalty, which put us in a bit of a jam, but then he put the puck in the net and came back to the bench. The first thing he said to his teammates was, “Sorry guys I had to make up for my penalty.” It gave the team a confidence boost, not just in terms of the win tonight, but in terms of the goals we set for the season,” said Figsby.

McGill was shocked. Their size meant nothing to the Stingers. “The bigger those guys are, the harder they’ll fall,” Armstrong graciously said.

Timing was perfect for Yannick Noiseux and Luc Messier who scored Concordia’s two other goals.

Coach Kevin Figsby could not have been happier about the outcome of the game, and about the highly energetic crowd that cheered his team to victory.

“The people that came to tonight’s game enjoyed the fast pace once we took control of the game. It was a lot of fun having our football, soccer, rugby and basketball teams cheering us on. The athletics department did a great job in bringing out the crowd. We had that extra player out there tonight and that was the crowd behind us,” he said.

Concordia’s next home game is against Ottawa on Nov. 2 at 3 p.m., at Concordia’s Ed Meagher Arena.


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