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Birds fly over bees in three game series

by Archives March 3, 2009

In the best of a three game series, the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team dominated the first game on Wednesday, Feb. 18, winning 6-3. But the Carleton Ravens battled back Friday, winning 2-1 and forcing a game three on Sunday. The Ravens won that game 3-2, taking the series and eliminating the Stingers from the playoffs.
“Heart and character is what carried us through this season,” head coach Kevin Figsby said. “This has been one of the best teams to wear the Concordia jersey in years.”
The Stingers had a great performance Wednesday night. The veterans held the team, as forwards Mike Baslyk and Nicolas Lafontaine tallied two goals each, while captain Simon-Pierre Sauvé and Marc-André Rizk also contributed a goal each; Rizk’s on a penalty shot. Rizk was a dominant force, and recorded at least a point in six of his last seven games. Baslyk’s line alone was responsible for 10 shots in the game.
The Stingers couldn’t hang onto the lead as the Ravens took the next game.
On Sunday, the series’ deciding game, both teams played with desperation, but the Ravens looked like they had better legs. The trademark north-south style of playoff hockey made for little penalties but lots of passion on the ice. There were good battles with Concordia dominating the boards, as they’ve done all season. Wonky weather made for choppy ice, which sometimes sent the puck corralling and bouncing in odd directions.
No goals were scored in the first period and only three penalties were called. The lack of whistles made for an exciting and intense first period, with both teams laying everything on the line. In a great individual effort with just over a minute to go, Rizk got speared by a Ravens’ forward. He promptly got back up and dove in front of a slapshot to block it, then regained his feet to clear the puck down the ice.
“It’s typical playoffs,” Figsby said. “[The loss] is not due to lack of heart or lack of trying, those guys competed as hard as they possibly could.”
The Stingers made the first mark on the board 2:07 into the second, when Rizk shot the puck five-hole on Ravens’ netminder Alexander Archibald. Ravens’ forward Derek Wells evened it up on a powerplay exactly one minute later, and the Ravens took the lead a minute after that on a weak wrap-around goal that bounced in.
The Stingers made it 2-2 when Sauvé stuffed a rebound into the net’s left side.
The Ravens scored the final goal just 3:33 into the third, putting an end to the Stingers’ best season in 10 years.
“It’s part of the learning curve,” Figsby said. “We had a lot of younger, first year players who carried the team offensively this year. They learned that in the playoffs, you have to dig down a little deeper to find that something extra.”
“This doesn’t take away anything from how proud of these kids we are,” Figsby said. “They represented our university so well this year. They’ve been great ambassadors, great competitors. The university, today, is going to graduate some top-quality people. I’m very proud of them,” he said.
Among those graduating is team captain Sauvé. A pending graduate of the John Molson School of Business, Sauvé began playing at Concordia four years ago and has been a dominating force on the ice and in the locker room since day one. Figsby has praised his leadership and his drive on numerous occasions throughout the season.
“A big part of my life ended on Sunday,” Sauvé said. “It’s really hard, but it’s a part of life and I have to turn the page. Hockey was the reason I came to Concordia and I will never regret this decision.”
Sauvé was happy with the way the season went, saying that the new, stronger mentality in the locker room was evident in the results. He credits the close-knit staff, and above everyone – his head coach.
“Kevin was a really big inspiration for us this year], his passion for hockey inspired us to play better. I can’t thank him enough for what he did for me and this program,” he said. “It’s sad that we weren’t able to go further in the playoffs, but there is a promising future in front of this team. Guys like [Marc-André] Élément, [Jesse] Goodsell, [Renaud] Des Alliers, [Eric] Bégin, the Sciangula Brothers and many others will push this team to get better.”
Whatever the future holds, Sauvé insists he’ll never forget the roots that brought him there.
“I will always remember my times at Concordia and the Stingers spirit will follow me for the rest of my life.”

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