Concordia 4, Queen’s 2: Clutch Moments Give Stingers Win Over Gaels
Massimo Carozza’s Late Marker Put Team On Top In tight, Playoff-style Game
Late in the first period of Concordia men’s hockey game versus the Queen’s University Gaels, the Ed Meagher Arena’s PA system started play the Journey hit, “Any Way You Want It”.
The song seemed appropriate in a period that showed Concordia’s men’s hockey team could outplay the Gaels in just about any style of play they wanted.
Whether it was skill, or their defensive play, the Stingers outmatched Queen’s in just about every facet of the game through the first 20 minutes of play. A good way to bounce back from the previous night’s loss to the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes.
“It’s good for the team,” said Stingers defender Carl Neill. “It was a tough loss last night so this is a real big confidence boost.”
The Stingers seemed confident and in control throughout the early part of the game, leading 2-0 off of goals by forwards Charles-Eric Legare and U Sports leading scorer Anthony Beauregard. By the end of the period, they would also lead the shot count, 18-7.
Queen’s couldn’t break through a solid defense even on the powerplay. Without pressure, they were forced to try their hand at taking heavy shots from distance. Unfortunately for them, Beauregard and captain Philippe Hudon, among others, were prepared to lay their bodies on the line, blocking shots without a second thought.
“When you have your leaders blocking shots, the other guys are gonna follow,” said Stingers head coach Marc-Andre Element, praising his players’ willingness to “pay the price,” for the sake of the team.
Though their domination would fade after the first period, the Stingers managed to win the key battles, doing just what was needed to maintain a lead, despite giving up a powerplay goal in the second frame.
“We stayed back,” admitted Element who felt the team lost the confidence and aggressive play that let them dominate early in the game. But the Stingers kept the momentum from swinging too far in their opponents’ favour.
Big saves from goaltender Marc-Antoine Turcotte and a constant shut down of rushes and breakaways meant the Stingers entered the third with a one goal lead.
Perhaps the greatest weapon for the Stingers against the momentum swings was their physicality. The Gaels were not the friendliest of opponents, laying out heavy hits and providing a relentless forecheck.
The Stingers made sure not to let themselves be intimidated by what Hudon described as “a playoff-style game,” and the physicality that came with it.
“The closer we get to playoffs, the more we’re ready to play playoff hockey,” said the Stingers captain.
Unfortunately for Concordia, their intensity failed them in a key moment as a missed Gaels breakaway shot turned into a tap in for the tying goal with less than five minutes to play.
This was not an unfamiliar place for the Stingers. The final minutes of their games have been tense nearly every week. Late goals have become a hallmark of the team as a result.
“It’s a staple of our team. We can come back when things like that happen,” said Neill, emphasizing that there was no panic on the bench when the game became tied late.
Less than a minute went by before the Stingers were rewarded for their calmness. Beauregard slipped a deft pass to Carozza who wasted no time blasting home the game winner as his bench erupted.
His coach couldn’t have been prouder of how his team reacted to the whole situation.
“That’s all character,” said Element. “We didn’t stay back, we didn’t complain. That’s why we got the win.”
Shortly after, not wanting to be outdone by his linemates, forward Philippe Sanche fired home the empty net goal, clinching the game.
With the win, the Stingers are just two points away from claiming second place in their division as the season enters its final weeks.
The Stingers’ next game is Jan. 17 when they visit the UQTR Patriotes.
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