Concordia 5, McGill 4 (OT): Newcomers Shine in Key Moments
Comeback Win Sealed by Dylan McCrory Overtime Goal
With eight new players joining the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team over the holiday break, the team had to be expecting an impact.
They certainly weren’t let down. Rookies stepped up in big moments and continued the tradition of close, down to the wire, emotional Concordia vs. McGill matchups.
“You play for those games. They’re the most intense; there’s emotions in those games. It’s why we play hockey. I didn’t know what to expect,” said Stingers defenceman Simon Bourque.
As always, the crosstown rivalry was a breeding ground for intensity. Of the last four regular season matchups between the two teams, three have required extra time.
It would be easy for new players to shrink under the bright lights of this kind of game. Heavy competition of two teams close in the standings, a packed house for McGill’s carnival night, and, for the last few minutes, a do or die overtime matchup; there was plenty of pressure present.
In the end though, it was two of those new players that decided the game for Concordia. But before their dream ending came about, it was a cold wake up call for the Stingers in the first period.
Despite an early opening goal from Jean-Philippe Beaulieu (who would score again in the second period), the Stingers were loose and under pressure the first period, trailing the home team 3-1 after 20 minutes.
It was a difficult period for the defence and goaltender Anthony Dumont-Bouchard, who would go on to earn his first U Sports win. When a team is filled with so many new players, some struggles are expected by the coaching staff.
“It’s gonna take time. For sure we’re gonna see a lot of mistakes […] but that’s why we had practices over Christmas. It’s why we’re going high tempo,” said head coach Marc-André Élement. “The second half of the season is gonna be more about getting everything rolling and getting ready for the playoffs.”
Things started to “get rolling” a little more in the second and third. Dumont-Bouchard looked more comfortable in net and the defense’s penchant for joining the rush turned into scoring chances for Concordia rather than McGill.
The newcomers showed what they could do at this point. Bourque continued his point per game pace with an assist in the second. Dumont-Bouchard looked to have hurt his wrist on a play but stayed in making key saves late after Philippe Charbonneau tied the game at 4 with just over five minutes to play.
But the most exciting moments for these young players were reserved for overtime when Dumont-Bouchard and winger Dylan McCrory played hero.
“That was a pretty incredible feeling. It’s always a big game for the rivalry but with their carnival night, it was pretty special too to get that win,” said McCrory, noting how much he fed off the crowd’s energy throughout the game.
It would be McCrory who sealed the deal with his second goal in two games (after not having played hockey for a full calendar year beforehand). However, McCrory wouldn’t have had the chance to do so had the team not allowed two breakaways just beforehand that their rookie netminder kept out.
When McCrory, who was originally supposed to go to McGill, got his first shift in overtime, the rookie cut through the neutral one with speed, edging past a defender for a shot that was saved before picking up his own rebound and ending the game.
“He brings some excitement to our lineup. It’s a scoring punch that we obviously needed,” said Stingers defenceman Carl Neill of his teammate’s game.
Moving forward, the Stingers’ success may depend on these key rookies to continue the production that they’ve started to show.
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