A few months from now it stands a very good chance that the Concordia men’s hockey team will be competing in the OUA playoffs.
There is also a very good chance they’ll be able to look back at this past Saturday’s 4-2 upset over the Laurier Golden Hawks as the game that ignited the season.
Following a 4-2 loss to the Brock Badgers the previous day, the Stingers were on the verge of going winless in four for the first time this season.
Fortunately it turned into a big night for a few of the teams’ rookies.
Billing for the game’s biggest performance was split up between goalie Kyle Stanton, in nets for the second time in as many days, Frederic Faucher, who had a goal and an assist, and then there was Sebastien Corbeil who had the game-winner.
“Most important thing was that we played as a team. When we work together as a team we always do well,” Corbeil said.
Despite what turned out to be one of, if not their best, team effort of the first semester, it did take awhile before the game’s tempo started going in favour of the home team.
For the first 20 minutes, it looked as though Laurier would find a way to wear down the opposing defence and dominate the game.
Thanks to some early physical assertiveness from their blue line crew, the Stingers were able to thwart of a determined offence that would keep them on their toes for most of the opening frame. But even with the effort, some dangerous shots still made their way toward Stanton. That included a chance by Laurier forward Chris DiUbaldo, who was elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 break, which hit the crossbar.
The rebound then came out to Nick Vukovic who forced Stanton to make a dandy glove save.
However the ensuing face-off would produce a couple of opportunities for the Golden Hawks, including the game’s first goal that came when Nick Gibson batted in a rebound past a sprawling Stanton.
While the chances started to come for the Maroon and Gold, a failure to convert allowed Laurier to extend their lead on a goal by Riley Moher, making it 2-0 for Laurier.
The Stingers looked a little befuddled afterwards when running into some trouble in clearing their zone.
The earlier minutes of the second led to a sequence that could have easily put the game out of reach. Instead it completely changed the course of the game.
Finding themselves on a two-man disadvantage for a minute and 44 seconds, the Stingers, led by stellar defence and goaltending, rose to the occasion and killed it off. Then things started to happen.
Coming back with a power play of their own, Stinger second-year forward Yannick Noiseux scored to cut it to a one-goal Hawks lead.
Matt Armstrong followed up that goal with a priceless drop pass to Faucher, who tied the game on a shot from the slot.
Concordia continued to turn up the heat as several more brilliant chance presented themselves, but a combination of misfires and good goaltending kept things even.
Unselfish play continued to provide the Stingers with a bounty of opportunities in the third and it didn’t take long for them to cash in.
The go-ahead marker came when Corbeil took a pass just before crossing the offensive blue line.
After taking a few steps in on the left wing, he unleashed a low-riding howitzer that beat Laurier goalie Justin Day for a 3-2 lead.
Phil Paris would round out the scoring late in the period on wicked snapshot from the slot.
“That was a character builder. I asked the guys to take the loss to Brock personally and that’s what they did,” Head Coach Kevin Figsby said afterwards.
“They finally understand the message that they can be as good as they want to be.”