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Stingers win 1, lose 2 in race to playoffs

by Archives February 10, 2009

The Concordia men’s hockey team had a gruelling week, playing three games in five days. The Stingers beat the UQTR Patriotes 4-1 on Wednesday, but lost 4-1 against the Carleton Ravens Friday, and succumbed 4-3 to the McGill Redmen on Sunday.
“Fatigue and sickness can be a reason right now, but it can’t be an excuse,” head coach Kevin Figsby said.
Figsby decided to give top goalie Maxime Joyal a few days off, and started back up Sheldon Baerg for the games against UQTR and Carleton.
The usually heated rivalry between Concordia and UQTR seemed non-existent in the game’s first period on Wednesday. Few penalties were called, and both teams battled fairly for the puck.
“We have a certain level of respect for UQTR, and they have the same respect for us,” Figsby said. “It’s good hockey. There’s not a lot of chirping going on between the benches.”
Scoring opened late in the first period, with just over three minutes left to go. Nicolas D’Aoust had a spectacular individual effort and managed to put the puck in the net as he was falling down from being hooked by a Patriote. Brad Gager earned his first of three assists on the goal, a career high for the veteran forward.
Up 1-0 going into the second, D’Aoust scored again after he connected with a great pass that fooled Patriotes’ goaltender Michael Dupont, and put him completely out of position. D’Aoust easily tapped the puck into the wide open cage.
With 3:48 left in the second, Stingers Marc-André Rizk and Alex Sciangula teamed up to put the score at 3-0, the former getting the goal and the latter getting the assist.
If a three goal lead with a shutout looming wasn’t enough of a cushion, Nicolas Lafontaine scored the insurance marker with 1:11 left. It was 4-0 Concordia at the end of the second.
UQTR made the predictable goaltending change to start the third, with Jean-Christophe Blanchard stepping between the pipes. The change would work, as the Stingers didn’t score for the rest of the game.
Baerg was within 41 seconds of earning his shutout, but Patriotes defenceman Tommy Lafontaine cracked the goose egg when he let a wrister go from the point. The final score was 4-1 for the Stingers.
“We limited the penalties and played with positive emotion,” Figsby said.
Positive emotion and discipline turned to fatigue and frustration just two days later when the Stingers faced off against the Ravens, losing 4-1.
Baerg got the nod to start in net, but was shaky throughout the first two periods. The Ravens opened scoring at the end of the first, off a deflection. They scored again halfway through the second, when Brandon Maclean skated gingerly down the left wing and shuffled the puck before stuffing it five hole. A few minutes later, Carleton scored again to make it a lopsided 3-0.
Halfway through the third, Maclean scored again and Baerg was pulled. Joyal stepped in and didn’t let any more goals in. The Stingers finally scored with 2:53 left in the final period, and the score was 4-1 for the Ravens at the end of it all.
“If Carleton lost that game, there’s a good chance they’d be out of the playoffs and they knew that,” said Figsby. “They came in here playing with desperation, and we came in here reflecting on the last game we played.”
It was much of the same situation when the Stingers battled in the Corey Cup game against McGill, though they showed tremendous character when they battled back from a three goal deficit to make the game 4-3.
McGill opened in scoring 10:53 into the first and scored again just two minutes later. In a very short time, the score was already 2-0.
Cory McGillis, a power forward since he joined Concordia in January, battled for the puck and roofed it to make the score 2-1.
Just 48 seconds into the third, McGill scored to make it 3-1. In a repeat performance from the first period, they scored again just a minute later to put them up 4-1. The Stingers put themselves back in the game when Renaud des Alliers found the puck in a scrum near the goalie crease, and flipped it top shelf to make the score 4-2.
Andrew Palombaro further closed the gap in scoring when he took a wrist shot from the left point that sailed in, untouched. Sadly the Stingers couldn’t capitalize again, and the final score was 4-3.
“I don’t think we battled hard enough to win the game today,” Figsby said. “But we’re going to battle all week in practice and get ready for next week.”
The Stingers play their last regular-season game against UQTR at home on Friday, Jan. 13, at 7:30 p.m. Playoffs begin after this week.

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By the numbers

6 Powerplay shots taken by defenceman Michael Blundon in Wednesday’s game against UQTR.

85 Penalty minutes accumulated by Marc-Andre Element during the 2008-2009 season.

34 Points amassed by Nicolas D’Aoust in the 2008-2009 season.

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