Men’s team drops defensive duel while women’s team continues its winning ways.
Ed Meagher Arena was home to a busy weekend of Stingers hockey. The men’s hockey team faced off against the Queen’s University Gaels on Jan. 20. Winners of their last six matches, the men’s hockey team sat in second place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East division standings coming into the game.
Prior to puck drop, only two points separated the top spot in the division from fourth. Queen’s came in five points behind the Stingers, making this contest highly anticipated.
The first period kicked off with a Queen’s penalty that saw Concordia earn their first power play opportunity of the game. As the Stingers maintained possession in the Queen’s defensive zone, forward Vincent Nardonne found defender Simon Lavigne who fired a shot by Gaels’ goaltender Christian Purboo, making it 1-0 Concordia.
Not long after the Stingers tally, Queen’s forward Dalton Duhart, who is currently third in USports for points scored, tied the game 1-1.
As the second period got underway, the physicality between the two teams was increasing as the penalty minutes were adding up. Despite earning a four-minute double-minor power play late in the second frame, the Stingers could not capitalize. They finished the period with 19 shots but Purboo stood tall. Defensively, the Stingers kept high-danger opportunities to the outside of the Queen’s attacking zone, keeping shots away from their own goaltender Jordan Naylor. Neither team would find the back of the net in the second period.
The final frame got off to a quick start. The opportunistic Gaels team buried their second goal of the game coming just two minutes into the period. Shortly after, the Stingers earned an extended five-on-three power play with a chance to tie the game. More chances, but Queen’s made the timely saves, killing the penalty and gaining back the momentum.
Stingers’ head coach Marc-André Élément discussed the team’s power play struggles postgame. “You have to give [Queen’s] credit,” Élément said. “They blocked a lot of shots and we will take a look at the video to see where we could improve. They did a good job and we need to execute a little bit better.”
The Stingers continued to claw away with chances in the offensive zone but could not buy a goal. The Gaels added an insurance marker and took the game by a final score of 3-1.
The lack of scoring seen in the men’s game was thrown out the window when the women’s game took place the following day.
The Stingers women’s hockey team faced off against the Bishop’s Gaiters on Jan. 21 in hopes of keeping their undefeated record alive. Concordia entered the game with a perfect 17-0-0 record, atop the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) division standings and the USports women’s hockey rankings for yet another week.
The first period got off to an action-filled start. Stingers forward Émilie Lavoie got the scoring started with a breakaway goal put top shelf behind Gaiters’ netminder Erika Gagnon. In the next five minutes of play, Bishop’s scored back to back goals to get a lead of their own, but this would be short-lived as well.
Just nine seconds after the Bishop’s go-ahead goal, Stingers defender Léonie Philbert scored to get the momentum back on the home side. Forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr followed this up with a wrist-shot goal, giving the Stingers a 3-2 lead after the first period.
With frustration building for the Gaiters in the second frame, the penalty minutes continued to add up. The Stingers saw themselves on five power plays in the period, three of which they would score on. Both teams traded even-strength goals, resulting in a 7-3 score after 40 minutes of play.
The Stingers changed their game plan in the final period, sitting back on their offensive forecheck and maintaining solid defensive play. The Gaiters were held to just four shots in the third period, earning the Stingers the 7-3 victory on home ice.
Despite splitting the two games over the weekend, both Stingers teams sit in good positions with the playoffs around the corner. The men’s team will go on the road for the next two games and return home for their final three. They hit the ice next on Jan. 25 against the Royal Military College Paladins. Meanwhile, the women’s team sits peacefully atop their division in the RSEQ with seven regular season games remaining. They will face off against the Carleton Ravens in their next game on Jan. 26.