Guelph – Unfortunately the only person who didn’t see David Comeau’s shot go in the net of the Guelph Gryphons in overtime Sunday afternoon was the only person who’s opinion mattered.
From almost every vantage point it appeared that the Concordia men’s hockey team had just stolen an important victory.
Instead they wound up settling for a 1-1 tie after official Kevin Smith waved off what appeared to be the winner by Comeau, the team’s captain. “Today we deserved a better fate,” Coach Kevin Figsby said, “the win would have really given us a moral boost.”
For the second straight game the Stingers let early scoring from the opposition get them down early. The opening marker came just 1:38 in when Guelph’s leading scorer, Scott Rosendal, beat goalie Kyle Stanton at the side of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Fortunately, Stanton, who had a shutout in his previous contest, couldn’t be breached the rest of the way and gave the Stingers the chance to get back into it.
Stanton went on to finish with a remarkable 39 saves and continues to establish himself as a big part of the Stingers’ solid start this season.
“The team needs you to put the goal behind and get into mindset of saving each shot at the net,” he said. “I just want to be consistent with every chance I’m given to perform.”
The Stingers came out like gangbusters in the second period and were led by some early aggressiveness from the team’s leading scorer Luc Messier. The assistant captain was involved in several scoring chances that nearly tied the game.
The inspired play trickled down throughout the lineup. The Comeau-Joey D’Amico- Sebastien Corbeil line stood out in particular but came off the ice frustrated and goalless as they ran into strong goaltending in the form of the Gryphons Ken Ritson.
Stanton remained stellar at his end, keeping out a dangerous deflection by Dylan Furlong and weathering the storm from a couple of scrambles in front of his net.
Concordia finally got the equalizer when Jonathan Gautier scored on a shot from the slot.
Both teams continued to play an even-tempo game as each had their chances to take the lead. The best came when a Guelph forward took a hard shot just several feet inside the blue-line that clanged off the crossbar.
The third period turned into a showcase for both goaltenders, with each making several game-saving stops and getting improved support from their defence in the high-shooting affair
Before the aforementioned call-back goal, Stinger defenceman Greg Dunn made what was the best plays of the game when he dove on his chest to block a 2-on-1 passing attempt.
Then there was the Comeau shot that appeared to hit the netting inside the crossbar and bounce out. While the officials concluded that the shot hit the post it would have made them the only ones in the arena to hear the unmistakable sound.
To make matters worse Comeau and D’Amico both got ejected from their rest of the game for their unsportsmanlike reaction to the decision.
The whole disastrous sequence was nearly completed just moments after play resumed when Jonathan Abbott hit the post with a wrist shot as both teams escaped with a tie.
“The ref didn’t see it go in but you have to get over that,” third-year defenceman Andrew Davis said afterwards. Davis was forced to miss Saturday’s game at York when his skate broke in practice and he wasn’t able to get it fixed.
“At that point there’s still lots of time for things to happen. You just have to keep working hard.”