The Concordia Stingers and the UQTR Patriotes left everything on the field Sunday, as both teams tried their best to capitalize on each other’s less-than-spectacular season record and garner their first victories of the season. That wasn’t the case on Sunday when both teams drew to a 1-1 tie in front of the Concordia crowd at Loyola Field.
“The big key was coming into this game with fire,” said Stingers captain Jason Quinn, who scored the Stingers lone goal. “The tie is good, three points [would be] better, but at least it will give us some confidence going into our double-header with Laval.”
Sunday’s game brought the Stingers season record to 0-3-2. The good news for the Stingers is that their three game losing streak came to an end, the bad news for is that they’re winless in all five games that they’ve played this year. Coach Vladimir Pavlicik is still confident that his team is capable of pulling off some end of the season heroics.
“It was really tough out there for the guys, being that it was a cold day, a lot of substitutions were required, nevertheless, I’m pleased with their performance,” Pavlicik said. “We’ve suffered three tough losses, but I’m optimistic that we could turn it around. We trained hard, we ran hard, we just need that extra bounce to put us over the top.”
UQTR opened the scoring in the 5th minute when the Patriotes’ striker, Ghislain Tapsoba used his speed to penetrate the Stinger defence and scored top shelf on goalkeeper Daniel De Palma. Although scoring in the opening minutes would normally send a goalie into a tailspin, De Palma began to settle and made key saves in the 18th and 25th minutes to keep the score at 1-0.
Fortunately for De Palma, his team managed to get the equalizer in the 39th minute when Marco Gasbarro managed to break free from the UQTR chain-link defence and placed the ball on the foot of captain Jason Quinn, who, in turn put the ball past Patriotes goaltender Roch Goyette.
A renewed and replenished Stingers team came back onto the field to start the second half. Concordia applied pressure in the opening minutes, trying desperately to put one past the UQTR net minder Goyette. But both Goyette and the UQTR defence were equally up to the task.
At one point, it looked as if the Stingers were going to let yet another game slip between their fingers when, in the 53rd minute, Patriotes striker David Ruppy came face-to-face with keeper De Palma. With a blistering shot off of Ruppy’s right foot, and the ball heading in the middle-right corner, De Palma’s instinct kicked into high gear and proceeded to make one of the most spectacular diving saves of the year.
The drama did not end there for the Stingers; the referees overlooked a blatant handball committed by one of the UQTR players in the goalie’s box in the 66th minute. Players and coaches for Concordia tried pleading their case, but it fell on deaf ears. Justice almost prevailed three minutes later when Brennan Daly sent the ball towards the Patriotes goal, but missed the net by mere inches.
When the final whistle blew, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that De Palma certainly was the player of the game for the Stingers. But a humble De Palma reserved his accolades for the rest of the team.
“I just go out there and do my job, I’m here for the team. As long as we work together and have fun doing it, that’s how we’re going to win our games.”
The Stingers will face the Laval Rouge et Or in a back-to-back double header starting Friday and ending on Sunday when the Stingers return home.