Gee-Gees 3, Stingers 2: Ottawa prevails during Pride Game
Gee-Gees pull away victorious despite late Concordia comeback attempt
The Ottawa Gee-Gees men’s hockey team defended their zone mightily against the Concordia Stingers, securing their fourth win in a row at the Ed Meagher Arena on Feb. 3. The evening also marked the Stingers’ first-ever Pride Game.
Stingers players sported Pride Tape on their stick during warm-ups and a raffle was held for Pride-themed Canadiens paraphernalia.
“It's important to show that everybody's welcome in hockey,” said Stingers forward Tyler Hylland. “When I was growing up, there wasn't anything like that.”
Stingers head coach Marc-André Elément assured that Pride Games will be repeated every year.
“[The LGBTQIA2S+ community is] something that we’re really proud of supporting and it's something that's special for our team,” he said. “We'll try to make it bigger. You have to do it once to be able to recreate it and make something better out of it.”
Both teams seemed even-handed within the first two periods of play. Neither the Stingers nor the Gee-Gees managed to beat the opposing goaltender and recorded 11 and 12 shots respectively in the first frame.
At the mid-way point of the second period, the Gee-Gees opened the scoring first on a wrist shot by rookie forward Marc-Antoine Séguin. The Stingers levelled the play a little over a minute later when forward Mathieu Bizier tallied his tenth goal of the season.
The first two frames saw tensions rise quickly between the teams, often resulting in skirmishes between plays. Regardless, only three penalties, two of which for Ottawa, were assessed so far in the game.
The third period saw both the physicality on the ice and the scoring explode. While attempting a drive into Stingers territory, Séguin fell on the ice after being hit into the boards by Stingers centre Loïck Daigle. The bodycheck was ruled clean by the referees, but triggered a brawl at centre ice that ended with Stingers defender Kyle Havlena and forward Bradley Chenier being assessed roughing penalties. Séguin was able to stand up and skate to the bench, but did not return to the play.
The hit seemed to spark momentum in the Gee-Gees, who scored back-to-back goals a minute after. The Gee-Gees took the lead 3-1, and never surrendered it.
The Stingers were able to cut the goal deficit to one when Hylland scored on a five-on-three powerplay. However, the Stingers fell short of a comeback, even after another powerplay and a two-minute empty-net six-on-five dash.
Looking towards the postseason, Elément said this game felt like a playoff game to him due to its physicality and tight score. He added that he believed keeping that toughness to their play benefits the team.
“There’s more positive to be a physical team and I think sometimes this season, we were losing that aspect of it,” he said. “Playoffs are a completely different game. It's tighter, it's tougher. That's why, in the last couple of games, we were more physical. We want to get ready for the playoffs.”
The Stingers will play their final regular season game at home against the top-ranked Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes on Jan. 8. The puck drop is set for 7 p.m.