In his post-game interview, Concordia Stingers’ Head Coach Kevin Figsby looked like his team had just lost the CIS Championship.
His head hung low, but still proud in defeat, Figsby showed the pride and emotion that the rest of the Stingers’ lacked, especially early in the third, when an emotional spark would have sent the game in a drastically different direction.
“We let our frustrations get in the way of our personal pride,” he said. “At this level, you can’t do that.”
The McGill Redmen dropped the Concordia Stingers 6-1 Friday night at Ed Meagher Arena. This spoiled Concordia’s opportunity to gain ground on the second place and number-five ranked UQTR Patriotes.
With the win, McGill moves within a point of the Stingers, and to the third and final playoff spot in the OUA.
McGill opened the scoring at 4:46 of the first period when an errant clearing pass by Stinger defenceman Greg Dunn ended up on the stick of McGill captain Bruno Lemire. Lemire made no mistake, lifting the puck over goalie Kyle Stanton.
At that point, McGill had already proved itself as a defensive unit, rarely allowing Concordia to gain the blue line or to mount an offensive plan. McGill’s aggressive fore-checking caught Concordia by surprise, pressuring their tired and injured defence.
Concordia managed to regain some semblance of life later in the period when two consecutive penalties led to a 50-second two-man advantage. Despite a few scoring opportunities, the Bee Boys couldn’t muster up the game-tying goal.
Unfortunately, the period ended the way it began, with Concordia unable to put together a smart, organized offence.
Concordia began the second period with sustained offensive pressure, until a blown call on an apparent hook by McGill on Stingers’ forward Philippe Paris in the Redmen zone. This penalty resulted in a Redmen goal on the subsequent breakout by Pierre-Antoine Paquet at 5:54, which lulled the team for a moment.
Concordia rebounded quickly, and with authority, outshot McGill 22-12 in the period. Concordia’s first goal came with five minutes remaining, when Redmen goalie Patrice Godin strayed too far behind the net and did not manage to freeze the puck.
It was picked up by Stinger Joey D’Amico, and centred to Frederic Faucher, who buried it into an empty net for his team-leading tenth goal of the season.
Concordia maintained pressure throughout the period, with play predominately in McGill’s zone. The Redmen used a penalty killing mentality throughout the second managing to clear rebounds from in front of the net, keeping the Stingers out on the perimeter and limiting them to long shots, keeping up the one-all score.
The Stingers began the third period playing like they did early in the first, barely penetrating McGill’s blue line. More McGill pressure and aggressive forechecking in Concordia’s zone led to Lemire’s second goal of the game.
Figsby’s subsequent time-out did not manage to spark the listless Stingers. Tired, banged up – thanks to timely body checking by McGill – and mentally drained, a frustrated Concordia team began getting sloppy, and eventually dissolved into settling individual scores when it was evident the game could no longer be reached.
Penalties to Andrew Davis and Dunn left Concordia shorthanded, leading to two power play goals by McGill’s Daniel Jacob and Matthew Leclerc.
The game ended fittingly, with Concordia dropping their gloves and trying to regain what they considered to be their personal pride.
Unfortunately, the coaching staff and the players apparently don’t share the same idea of what pride is. This was a group of players who, according to coach Figsby, had their opportunity, due to a few injuries – goalie Philippe Ozga and leading scorer Yannick Noiseux, who sat most of the 3rd period with a fever of 104 degrees – to rise to the occasion, but missed the opportunity completely.
Pride alone, however, would not have been enough to beat McGill, as time and time again Concordia was baffled by a Redmen team that exposed the major weaknesses in the Stingers’ playing game.