For Stingers’ captain, George Lovatsis, it was probably not the way he wanted to end his Stingers career, as Saturday’s game between the Stingers and the Ottawa Gee-Gees was cut short, nine minutes and forty-two seconds into the second period, due to unsafe ice conditions at Ed Meagher arena.
At the time, the Stingers were up 2-0 thanks to first-period goals scored in identical fashion from left winger Dany Potvin and centre Olivier Hinse, and were well on their way to winning a third consecutive game to end off their season.
Despite the game being canceled; however, the important part is this: the Concordia Stingers are headed to the playoffs after a three-year absence. The Stingers finished fifth in the standings, 12 points behind the fifth place Gee-Gees. So, this was a big game for the Stingers in terms of building some momentum and making a statement.
Head coach Kevin Figsby was very happy with the way his team played.
“After the game we played last night, we wanted to come out real hard today and play,” said Figsby. “Today was a dress rehearsal for the playoffs and I thought the guys handled themselves very well. I thought our penalty kill did really well, our power play moved the puck really well and we scored two goals based on our forechecking system where we turned pucks over.”
Figsby added that the team followed the game plan to perfection for the part of the game that was actually played.
The termination of the game, however, took everyone by surprise. The referees decided to end the game due to what they felt were unsafe ice conditions, but rink attendant Richard Stoddart provided further details on the issue.
“The ice cracked and then we’d seen cement [which meant] we had to freeze […] and we weren’t able to freeze it fast enough to continue the game, and we stopped because of safety. It’s dangerous because when you have a skate and you hit cement, it’s like stopping with brakes, and it’s right near where the goalie is,” said Stoddart.
He also noted that it would take about an hour to patch up the ice but it would not constitute a long-term hazard.
The Stingers’ first round playoff opponent is not yet determined, but they can face Carleton, McGill or Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières.