Special teams were the difference when the Concordia Stingers lost to the Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Patriots 4-1 at the Ed Meagher Arena last Wednesday. The Patriots scored three of their four goals on the power play, and the Stingers were unable to claw their way back into the game.
The game began with both teams trading chances, with the Patriots getting most of the scoring opportunities. UQTR broke the deadlock at 13:19, when forward Jason Rajotte scored on a one timer after a perfect pass in front of the net. Just 20 seconds after the goal, Concordia was penalized for roughing, and UQTR took advantage on its first power play of the game.
Stingers goaltender Antonio Mastropietro faced 21 shots in the first period, while Concordia was only able to get one shot on goal.
The Stingers cut the deficit in half early in the second period, when centre Hugo Vincent skated the puck the full length of the ice before setting up defenceman Gabriel Bourret with a perfect pass.
The penalty problems continued for Concordia after their goal, as UQTR scored two more goals on the power play before the end of the period. Both teams continued to battle through a scoreless final 20 minutes, as the Stingers refused to go down without a fight. Although both teams traded chances, a three-goal deficit was too much to overcome for Concordia.
Head coach Kevin Figsby said that the Stingers’ lack of discipline left the game wide open for the Patriots.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game if we weren’t disciplined and took penalties,” said Figsby. “You look at the score sheet, they scored three power play goals. Unfortunately, the penalties we took were uncharacteristic, and they capitalized. From a five on five perspective, it was a 1-1 game.”
Despite the loss, Figsby was happy with his team’s performance.
“I’m proud of our guys and the way they played, and the way we competed tonight,” he said. “[UQTR] outplayed us, they outworked us, and they outscored us. But we never stopped competing.”
Mastropietro was the bright spot of the night for the Stingers, as he faced a season-high 43 shots. Figsby was very quick to give his goaltender credit.
“Antonio made some very key saves tonight, and I think we let him down with the penalties we took.”
Mastropietro felt that the 39-save performance was not an individual effort.
“The defencemen were really helping me out tonight. As long as I can see the shot, that’s good for me,” said Mastropietro. “On some of their goals, there were a lot of tic-tac-toe plays, and that is the best way to score on any goalie.”
Figsby also pointed out that games like these should be used as learning experiences for a young team about to enter the playoffs.
“We’re tired. It’s not an excuse, but we’re in that stretch right now where we know we’re playing five games in eight nights. We don’t have a full squad and we’re a bit banged up right now. We need to overcome that adversity. That’s okay; it’s a learning experience for the playoffs.”