#5 McGill 2, Concordia 1: Stingers’ High-Powered Offense Absent Against Rivals
Stingers Drop First Game of a Back-to-Back With McGill
For the second time this season, the Stingers men’s hockey team found themselves in a tight, one goal game against McGill. Unfortunately for the Stingers, the result wasn’t as favourable as their season opening 3-2 win over their rivals.
The Stingers, despite their solid 8-2-1 record, have at times struggled with starting games too slowly. Going up against fifth-ranked McGill, the Stingers’ slow start cost them early on in the game’s first frame.
McGill’s relentless attack forced the Stingers into a five-on-three penalty-kill and a 1-0 deficit that they would carry into the locker room at the end of the first period.
If there was one bright spot for the Stingers in the first 20 minutes, it was their goalie. Marc-Antoine Turcotte turned away 11 of the 12 shots fired his way and saw his team outshot 39-22 overall.“He was unreal. He played really well,” said head coach Marc-Andre Element of his goaltender’s performance. Turcotte has made a habit of putting up performances like this so far this season and the team has relied on him to be at his best.
As Turcotte turned away chance after chance early on, his teammates had trouble creating any offense to support him early on. McGill’s defense shut down Concordia’s attack, that has given teams fits all season.
“[McGill was] holding the blue line pretty well,” said defender Mathieu Desautels, who picked up an assist on the Stingers lone goal of the game. “Their [defenders] were closing the gap and being really quick on the puck.”
The Stingers looked to have come alive early in the second period as forward Dominic Beauchemin tied the game after just a minute.
Concordia’s problem became clear in the second frame. A lack of finish and an inability to capitalize on their chances, spelled doom for the Stingers in their second of four games against McGill this season.
The Stingers power play came up empty in its seven opportunities throughout the game, including a five-on-three power play of their own midway through the second frame that could have given them the edge in the matchup.
Their best offensive weapons were neutralized as Stingers forward Anthony Beauregard failed to pick up a point for the first time this season. Point per game rookies, forwards Massimo Carozza, Alexis Pepin and defender Carl Neill all went pointless as well.
“[We need to fix] special units, powerplay, a couple details and we’ll be all right.” said Element when asked about what needed to change before the second game against McGill in the back-to-back series.
In the third period, the teams traded chances until midway through the period when a controversial play turned into the game-winning goal for McGill. Turcotte had covered up a loose puck for several seconds until McGill’s Jerome Verrier played the puck out from under his glove and into the net.
There was immediate protest from Stingers players who believed the play should have been blown dead once Turcotte covered the puck.“We all thought our goalie had it. We had some guys who were surprised the ref didn’t blow the whistle,” said Desautels.
The Stingers had a long, final chance to tie the game up as McGill’s Christopher Lalonde received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a dangerous hit on Carl Neill. Neill returned to the game the next play without apparent injury after being checked by the team’s trainer.
Nothing came of the first three minutes of that power play before the Stingers’ hopes were dashed on a too many men on the ice penalty.
For Anthony Beauregard, this was a night to leave behind as he and the team focus on what is to come.
“We need to forget this. Tomorrow’s another day. What’s cool is we play tomorrow against the same team,” said Beauregard.
Frustrated as they were, Concordia won’t have to wait long for their chance at revenge. The two teams meet again Saturday night at the Ed Meaghar Arena.