Comeback Kids

Stingers Storm Back, Tie Game in Dying Seconds

Stinger centre George Lovatsis prepares to score shorthanded. The marker, scored with 33 seconds left, sent the game into overtime. Photo by Adam Kovac

A sensational third-period comeback lifted Concordia’s men’s hockey team to a 7-6 shootout victory at home over the Nipissing Lakers in a game that appeared all but over after the second period.

Concordia started in impressive form, taking an early lead off a marker by forward Michael Stinziani less than four minutes in, but ended the first down 2-1. The Lakers then dominated the second, entering the third period with a 5-2 lead.

The third, however, belonged entirely to Concordia, who opened the final frame with a goal five-and-a-half minutes in from Charles-Antoine Messier.

While Nipissing scored a minute later to cancel out Messier’s goal, the Stingers surged forward soon after, scoring three unanswered goals, culminating in a short-handed goal by George Lovatsis with a mere 33 seconds left on the clock.

After a scoreless overtime, it would take the Stingers seven dramatic rounds of the shootout to finally close out their comeback. Stinziani scored in the second round, while François Lanctot-Marcotte caused the bench to empty in celebration with his game-ending goal.

“You gotta have confidence,” said Stingers head coach Kevin Figsby after the game. “We talked between periods that if we could get a goal in the first five minutes, and a goal before the eight minute mark, we might be able to tie up the game in the last two or three minutes.

“We went out there and that’s exactly what we did.”

“I thought that selfish play was part of the problem tonight. I would probably say we were more interested in trying to score and pad our own stats than try and win for the team.” – Lakers coach George McParland.

Luck played a major role in Lovatsis’ tying goal. With Concordia captain Eric Begin taking a high-sticking minor with under two minutes left to play, it seemed that completing the comeback was not to be.

Lakers goalie Daniel Spence misplayed a corner dump-in, however, with the puck bouncing straight onto Lovatsis’ stick with a wide-open net to shoot at.

“We didn’t get a save when we needed one,” said Lakers coach Mike McParland of Spence’s error. “That last goal was a bit of a catastrophe.”

McParland also blamed the outcome on a lack of teamwork.

“I thought that selfish play was part of the problem tonight,” said McParland. “I would probably say we were more interested in trying to score and pad our own stats than try and win for the team.”

Stingers goalie Nicholas Champion started out rough, looking especially shaky and out of position on the Lakers’ fifth goal, the first of two by Scott Restoule.

He eventually settled down, however, allowing just the single goal in the third, and stopping six of seven in the shootout.

When asked of what he would say to Champion, Figsby only smiled and replied, “I asked him if he wanted to start tomorrow.”

He also pointed to a defense corps that is half composed of first-year students, and also has Etienne St. Germain playing injured, and Begin unable to practice, due to his commitments as a student-teacher.

The Stingers ended the weekend on a sour note, however, losing 7-3 at home to Toronto on Saturday, putting their record at 8-6-1 heading into their next game at Ryerson University, which will start at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.