Concordia 4, Guelph 2: Stingers Win Two Games in Two Days

Stingers Take Care of Gryphons in Dominant Fashion

  • The Stingers went a perfect 2-0 over the weekend. Photo Carl Bindman

Entering the second game of a back-to-back, the Stingers men’s hockey team spent their first few shifts looking like a team that had been moving furniture all day. That look didn’t last very long, though.

“It was a good game,” said defender Carl Neill. “You could tell we had two games in two nights. The guys came together well and we found a way to win.”

That cohesion started to manifest itself two minutes into the game. Forward Charles-Eric Legare was the catalyst.

With an offensive zone faceoff, rookie forward Massimo Carozza fed Legare who promptly put his team up 1-0 on the game’s very first shot. For the next five minutes, Concordia controlled the game, pressuring Guelph in their own zone and moving the puck up ice with apparent ease. Within five minutes, the shot count was 7-0 in Concordia’s favour.

A chance for Concordia on the game’s first power play turned into a shorthanded chance and the tying goal for Guelph on their first threatening shot of the game. It was just the second shot that goalie Marc-Antoine Turcotte had face that game after registering a win against the Brock Badgers the night before.

The Stingers quickly got their legs back, out skating Guelph and playing the kind of game that gets under an opponent’s skin, something they’ve been particularly good at this season.

“We play an ‘in their face’ type of game,” said Concordia head coach Marc-Andre Element, whose team drew four penalties in the first frame while staying out the box themselves. “We’re really disciplined and we don’t want to take stupid penalties. We want to [outskate them] and if we [outskate them], they’re going to take penalties.”

Guelph tried to take some of the momentum back near the end of the first period with a late surge but their lack of discipline cost them. On a late powerplay, forward Anthony Beauregard gloved down a clearing attempt, skated contemptuously through Guelph’s penalty killers and fired a high shot past the Guelph goaltender for his fourth goal in the last 24 hours. More important, it gave his team a 2-1 lead.

The second period relied heavily on Concordia’s penalty-kill as the unit covered five short-handed plays during the frame, blanking the Guelph power play each of the seven times they stepped on the ice throughout the game.

Despite this, a Stingers defensive breakdown gave Guelph room for a strong odd man rush and a goal that beat Turcotte clean. Turcotte was taken off the ice, seemingly injured. The Stingers’ netminder had looked uncomfortable all day. Turcotte would return to bench in the third but his night on the ice would end there.

As of press time, there is no update on Turcotte’s condition and the reason for his injury remain unclear. According to Element, he will be evaluated early in the week by team doctors.

Backup Antoine Dagenais came in to replace Turcotte and performed admirably, stopping all 17 shots that came at him in just over 30 minutes of play.

“Goaltending helped us out a lot. Dagenais made big saves when he had to, coming in as the second goalie is never easy,” noted Neill of his teammate’s performance.

Gaining confidence from strong goaltending, excellent penalty killing and a regained control of the game’s pace, the Stingers put heavy pressure on Guelph in their zone. Earning their first powerplay of the period, the team went to work as forward Alexis Pepin scored the game winning goal. Scott Oke and Antoine Masson picked up the assists.

Pepin was a force on the ice throughout the night, particularly on the forecheck where he outmuscled opponents with little trouble and set up chances for his teammates. The rookie shares the team lead in both goals (four) and points (six) through four games this season. Pepin’s work has certainly left his coach satisfied.

“Alexis is playing well. He knows his role, he’s a big body, he has to be in front, he has to be in traffic, he has to get pucks on net. He’s doing his job. I’m happy about his game.” said Element who saw his team outshot their opponents 39-31.

For his own part, Pepin likes putting up points, but was quick to focus any praise onto the team as a whole: “It feels great to have some points but it’s a good collective effort from all the guys. We’ve been doing very good lately so it’s just a bonus to have personal success.”

Guelph attempted to push back after Pepin’s goal but Concordia remained calm and controlled as Dagenais knocked aside each shot and his team finished the period with some strong shorthanded chances by captain Philippe Hudon.

The Stingers’ third period was a quiet but controlled one for the most part. Carl Neill put the final nail in the coffin by scoring his first goal as a Stinger in the first five minutes of the period. Neill, who now sits at five points in his first four games, didn’t know he had been credited with the goal until after the game, believing that his teammate forward Justin Doucet, had tipped it in.

Neill’s would be the last goal of the game as the Stingers finished off the weekend with a 4-2 win and a 2-0 record, earning all four available points in a convincing fashion.

“We were in control, we had a lot of shots,” said Pepin, whose game winner iced his team’s victory late in the second period. “We have to get better in our defensive zone but we did pretty good and our offense was good so we’re going to keep going this way.”

If the Stingers can “keep going this way,” their season certainly looks bright.

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