Season of pride comes to an end

Long after the final whistle had blown members of the Concordia men’s hockey team were still lingering around an empty Ed Meagher Arena, both relishing in the season that had been and at the same time agonizing over the loss that had put an end to their hopes for something more. “There was a tremendous amount of heart, spirit and commitment put into this season. I’m proud of every guy that wore a sweater this year,” an emotional coach Kevin Figsby would say after the Stinger’s final game of the season.
With a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the UQTR Patriotes the Stingers were swept out of the best-of-three OUA Far East semi-final this past Friday. The heart-wrenching loss came exactly a week after Concordia had celebrated making the playoffs for the first time in three seasons after beating those same Patriotes by a 3-1 score in Three Rivers.
Not much can be said for Friday night’s game, much less their 3-2 loss to UQTR in game one on Wednesday, other than the Stingers fought as hard as could’ve been asked. Luck, however, just wasn’t on their side this week.
Luck wasn’t on their side when a weird bounce out of the corner in game one fooled the Concordia defence and goaltender Philippe Ozga, leaving Alexandre Piche wide-open to pot the winner.
Nor was it there on Friday when the Stingers were busy hitting the post three times while the game was still scoreless in the second period. UQTR, however, had all the good fortune in the world as three of their goals came courtesy of goal-mouth scrambles where little, if any, blame could be placed on the shoulders of Ozga. “I wish I could’ve had a shut out for the team tonight and made it go into overtime,” the departing goalie said after four years of wearing the Maroon and Gold. “Once you here that final buzzer – the last buzzer you’re going to hear in this uniform – it’s tough.”
The beginning of this game gave no indication of the offensive potency that both teams would show later on. Except for a few rare moments, such as the UQTR two-man advantage about mid-way through where Ozga robbed more than one sure goal, the capacity crowd had little to get excited about.
It didn’t take long for their song to change in the second as a pair of Patriote penalties in the first three minutes gave Concordia a golden opportunity. Defenceman Andrew Davis had the best chance when he was allowed to take several steps in from the point and wire a shot that caught post. Derek Legault would do the same moments later.
The Maroon and Gold looked destined to bust things wide-open. However, it was UQTR’s Nicolas Pelletier who opened the scoring by finding room to come in from the corner, cut in front of Ozga and lift the puck over the sprawled out netminder.
Another hard earned goal five minutes later by Martin Cote, who added three assists, seemed to completely de-energize the Stingers as the score stood 2-0 through two periods.
Concordia would not go quietly, however, having no choice but to open up the ice in the final frame. But while about half-a-dozen glorious scoring chances presented themselves the Stingers couldn’t capitalize.
There were several scrambles where Patriote goaltender Danny Dallaire inexplicably kept the puck from sneaking past him. Then, almost suddenly, two more Patriote goals were on the board and the Stingers were done.
“I really thought we had a shot. If we had beaten them I think we could have gone to the Nationals,” Captain David Comeau said after what was also his final game after four years of service – a game he probably shouldn’t have even been playing in.
After missing game one with a bad knee that had kept him out of eight games in the latter part of the season and injured ribs that he suffered the Friday before Comeau was still determined to play in this game. “It was an important game; no way was I going to miss it. I really have to thank the therapists for doing a great job.”
It was also the last game for defencemen Mathieu Desjardins and Greg Dunn. “It’s really special to have guys coming up saying that they learnt something from you,” said Dunn who, although departing, has high hopes for the future of the Stingers. “They’re doing a great job here. If they keep the same nucleus of guys this team will keep getting better.”


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