Games don’t come much bigger than the two this past weekend where the Concordia men’s hockey team rebounded from last week’s embarrassing 9-1 loss to Ottawa.
With a 4-3 win over the Toronto Varsity Blues on Saturday, the Stingers proved they are a team capable of rebounding.
The next day they went a step further with a 5-0 whipping of the Royal Military College (RMC) Paladins and showed just how much this team is dedicated.
The best evidence of this was the way they pulled together to help goalie Philippe Ozga earn the first shutout of his four-year career as a Stinger.
The game against the Varsity Blues was significant not just in terms of a comeback effort but it also marked the first time in three years that Concordia had won on Toronto’s ice.
While Ozga was impressive, stopping 33 of the 36 shots that he faced, the real hero of the game turned out to be Joey D’Amico. The second-year forward scored the game-winning goal after taking a bad penalty earlier in the game. “He knew he made a mistake and had to make amends for it,” Coach Kevin Figsby said of D’Amico.
Captain David Comeau also started the weekend off strong with a pair of assists and Yannick Noiseux chipped in a power play marker while other goals came courtesy of Jonathan Gauthier and Derek Legault.
Many of the same individuals that played big roles against Toronto also came to compete against RMC. Comeau continued to be a strong leader as he notched a goal and added another two assists while D’Amico, already looking poised for a big season, had a pair of goals and an assist. “Joey D’Amico probably had the best weekend of his life in university hockey,” Figsby said.
The big story of the weekend, however, was Ozga’s goose-egg, which was the first for Concordia since a 3-0 over Toronto in 1999. “It’s really tough to get a shutout in this league,” said Ozga, who was far more concerned with getting the win than the shutout. “We can’t afford to lose games to teams outside our division and basically this year the guys have realized that.”
Figsby praised not only his goaltender’s effort in Ontario but also the defensive composure down the stretch. “I saw guys blocking shots late in the game and staying focused as they realized what was about to be accomplished.”
It appears that it will once again be an emotional ride for the Stingers this season but Figsby says the team is ready for it. “Hockey is an emotional sport. If it wasn’t everyone could play it.”
With the two victories Concordia has now jumped back into a tight race with Ottawa and UQTR atop the OUA Far East Division standings.
The Stingers are back home this weekend when they play RMC at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Queen’s on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.