Concordia Stingers Men’s Hockey split their first two preseason games, winning 2-1 and losing 5-4
The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team hosted two non-conference preseason hockey games against the Saint Mary’s Huskies on Sept. 15 and Sept. 16.
This marked the first time that Saint Mary’s and Concordia have faced off against each other in preseason play. The Huskies are coming off a successful season in 2022–23—one that was very similar to the Stingers’. Both teams qualified for the U Sports University Cup in Prince Edward Island in March 2023, with the Stingers at rank six and the Huskies at rank seven.
These two games also featured Concordia’s new goaltenders, Nikolas Hurtubise and Kevyn Brassard. With two of their three goaltenders leaving after the 2022-23 season, the Stingers will now have to adjust to a new goalie tandem. This includes the loss of last season’s starting netminder Jonathan Lemieux who signed with the Abbotsford Canucks of the American Hockey League.
“We liked what we saw out of [Hurtubise and Brassard] but it’s an adjustment,” said head coach Marc-André Élément. “They played junior last year and now they’re at a higher level. We are going to continue our evaluation through the preseason, but I’m happy with what we saw this weekend.”
A scoreless contest persisted through the first 30 minutes of game one. Huskies defenseman Cameron Pound opened the scoring in the second period with a wrist shot beating Hurtubise. Concordia finally got on the board in the third period after solid defence and goaltending on both sides had kept the scoresheet relatively empty.
Stingers defenseman Nathan Lavoie netted his first goal of the preseason with 15 minutes remaining, tying the game at one. However, the Stingers could not capitalise on their late power play, causing the game to be sent into overtime.
A short 14 seconds into overtime, Stingers forward and captain Phélix Martineau put the game to rest on a gorgeous individual effort. The 2-1 Stingers win was a fitting way to start off the preseason on home ice.
Game two on Sept. 16 had a very different feel than the first. As a result of having played each other the day prior, the first period saw a much faster pace with more goals scored.
The Stingers got off to a quick 2-0 lead with goals from Martineau and forward Isiah Campbell. This was followed by the Huskies retaliating with two goals of their own, making it a 2-2 contest.
In the second period, the Stingers retook the lead on a goal from alternate captain Tyler Hylland. This did not last long, however, as the Huskies scored three unanswered goals, bringing the score to 5-3.
As the clock favoured Saint Mary’s and their lead in the third period, the Stingers got a goal in with only two minutes to go. A last-ditch effort saw the Stingers come within inches of tying the game as the puck snuck in behind the Huskies’ goaltender, but could not find the back of the net. The team fell just short and game two ended at 5-4.
Despite the result, coach Élément was pleased with the resilience and leadership shown by his team in the final minutes. “The guys, when they are on the ice, they want to produce and they want to have success. Our leadership group is amazing, so for sure they are going to step up at big moments and get results,” he said.
The Stingers will continue their preseason with one more game versus McGill on Sept. 30. Concordia will kick off their regular season schedule with two games on the road against McGill and Carleton, and will return for their home opener against Ontario Tech on Oct. 11.