Carleton 4, Concordia 3 (OT): Stingers Men’s Hockey Looking for Key Adjustments but Liking Effort

Stingers Storm Back in Third but Fall Short in Overtime

Left-winger Liam Murphy backhands puck ahead while defender attempts to break his rhythm. Photo Caroline Marsh
The Stingers sit sixth in the OUA East standings with 19 points. Photo Caroline Marsh

Neither this game, nor the previous night’s match against McGill came with the win the Stingers were hoping for.

But in the end, the team came away with two points and plenty of game tape that they feel they can be happy about.

“I’ll take it,” said head coach Marc-andré Élement on getting two out of four possible points this weekend. “I’m happy about the way we played this weekend. It’s not an easy weekend.”

The weekend consisted of two overtime losses to two top ten ranked teams in the country: the Carleton Ravens (6) and McGill (7).

The McGill game saw them fall to an impressive goaltending performance, putting up over 50 shots before falling short in OT. This time, the shot count was less than stellar, and a late comeback victory eluded the Stingers who scored three times in the third.

While Élement knows there are improvements to be made, he’s happy that his young team is learning and showing character in these situations while starting to get healthy.

“I told the guys that we’ve gotta build on this weekend. We played two great teams, […] two teams that are at the top. It’s good for us to learn,” said Élement, noting he wants to see more hunger around the net and offensive production moving forward.

The team beat the tenth ranked Ottawa Gee Gee’s last weekend to start the second semester but have lost three in a row since. With these last two and the Ottawa game going to overtime, the team knows that these games could flip either way. They’re going to have to find the necessary tweaks to reach their potential and take that extra step.

The Stingers are close to where they need to be as they are contending with top teams and heading to overtime games. The next step is proving that they can make adjustments to get there and see if they are real contenders.

Power play goal scorer Philippe Sanche gets his second goal of the year. Photo Caroline Marsh

This game against Carleton was a perfect example to show that they’re capable of doing just that.

One of the biggest problems that kept the Stingers scoreless going into the third was power play production. The team could not create opportunities on the man advantage, including a five on three opportunity late in the second.

The offense as a whole often felt like it was trying to force a round peg into a square hole, forcing plays that simply weren’t there or were neutralized by the Ravens easily.

After two periods, the home team had recorded just eight shots.

Then the third period started and things changed. The power play didn’t just look more alive, but was trying different things. There were no more forced backdoor passes. Simple, effective plays led to a burst of offense.

“[We started to] put more pucks on net. We saw in the third we started to shoot more […] in the room there was a big message to just shoot more,” said defenceman Carl Neill.

Philippe Sanche scored early in the period on the power play, and when down 3-1, The Stingers got a chance to even things out when Carleton was charged with a double minor for high sticking. Bradley Lalone and Liam Murphy wasted no time tying the game at 3 and forcing overtime.

Sanche noted that this team is at it’s best when it relaxed and playing a simple game, without extra frills or too much stick gripping. He said that was the key for each of the team’s late goals.

“Keep things simple. We won a faceoff, go D to D, one timer, goal [for Lalonde]. Down the wing, just bring pucks to the net, goal again [for Murphy].”

Defenceman Bradley Lalonde dangles his way past Carleton defender. Photo Caroline Marsh

When it came to his goal that opened things up for the team, a laser beam of a one timer, there was some frustration behind it.

“I think that was my hardest shot ever. I was so angry at myself for not scoring goals and having a lot of chances in the last few games,” said Sanche, crediting each of his teammates on the ice for how they helped set up the goal.

The team has also found some new help moving forward in making what appears to be an adjustment in net. Goaltender Kyle Jessiman replaced usual backup Sebastien Lefebvre as the team’s starter this weekend with starting goalie Marc-antoine Turcotte out with an injury.

Jessiman put on a show both games. He looked spectacular against Carleton and gave the best performance for the Stingers with some incredible saves and incredibly sound technical work.

On the other side of things, Liam Murphy continued to solidify himself as one of the team’s best secondary scoring options with a strong offensive showing.

His coach agreed with a comparison made to former Stingers forward Charles-Eric Légaré who was one of the more versatile forwards on the team over the last few seasons, scoring 21 points last year before leaving for a pro career in france.

The team has shown they’re willing to make adjustments, if they can continue to make the necessary moves and learn from mistakes, the could cause team’s trouble come playoff time.

The Stingers next game is Jan. 15 when they travel to take on the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes.