I’d Rather Be a Stinger

Stingers Upset High-Flying Redmen Away From Home

Photos by Pierre Chauvin

Concordia 4 McGill 2

The Concordia Stingers took down the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s number one ranked McGill Redmen 4-2 in men’s hockey Friday night at McGill’s McConnell Arena.

In a preview of the two teams’ upcoming Corey Cup showdown on Feb. 8, the Stingers stunned the home crowd by taking down the high-powered Redmen in a fast-paced contest.

“I thought it was our best team effort of the season, we played with controlled desperation. Plain and simple, we outworked them.” –Adam Strumas Defenseman

Stingers goaltender Nicholas Champion made 37 saves in a first-star performance, while winger Mike Stinziani picked up a goal and two assists to pace the Stingers’ offense.

Defenseman Adam Strumas, who had an assist, noted the importance of the victory in the team’s push for a playoff spot.

“I thought it was our best team effort of the season, we played with controlled desperation,” said Strumas. “Plain and simple, we outworked them. It’s huge for our playoff run because it gives us a bit of breathing room in the standings.”

Both teams came out flying to start the game, ramping up the physicality from the first shift. The Redmen had an early goal disallowed, and the teams traded power-play opportunities in the latter half of the frame, but neither side was able to capitalize on their opportunities.

Champion made several key saves throughout the period to keep the game tied, but McGill finally solved him with under a minute to play in the first. Defenseman Marc-André Dorion took a pass from Nicolas Biniek and rifled it past Champion’s outstretched blocker to give McGill the lead and momentum going back to the locker room.

The fast pace carried over into the middle frame as the bitter rivals continued to do battle. Champion faced yet another barrage of Redmen shots, but stood tall, stopping all 13 shots he faced in the period; several being of the spectacular variety.

The Redmen failed to capitalize on three power plays during the period despite creating several good chances. The Stingers, on the other hand, took full advantage of the one power play they were handed.

They wound up the third period on a high note as McGill’s Marc-André Daneau sat for a slash, and on the man advantage Strumas unleashed a slapshot from the point. Étienne Archambault was parked in front of McGill goaltender Hubert Morin and managed to get his stick on the shot to deflect it past Morin, tying the game at one.

The Stingers began to pull away in the third, feeding off the indiscipline of the Redmen and capitalizing on two back-to-back power plays midway through the period.

Michael Blundon wired a slap shot from the point past Morin on a Stingers 5-on-3 advantage, and just over 30 seconds later George Lovatsis put the Stingers up by two, also on the power play.

But the Redmen didn’t wait long to reply, as Francis Verreault-Paul pulled the Redmen within one, scoring a power play goal with close to six minutes left in the period.

The Redmen pushed for the equalizer throughout the last five minutes and pulled their goaltender with a minute left in the contest, but were unable to muster a shot on Champion. Stinziani iced the game by depositing the Stingers’ fourth goal into the vacant net.

Stingers’ center George Lovatsis said that while beating McGill felt good, the most important thing was picking up the two points.

“Every point that we get gives us a better chance of clinching a playoff spot,” said Lovatsis, “We have to keep working and focus about our final two games of the season.”

Strumas, however, admitted that there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes with taking down the cross-town rivals.

“Any big win at this point of the season is sweet, and the fact that it was McGill’s first home loss of the season makes it that much sweeter.”

The Stingers now sit in seventh place, tied for points with Queen’s, who are eighth and only a point ahead of ninth-place Ryerson. The top eight teams make playoffs.

The Redmen will come to the Ed Meagher Arena on Wednesday and, after a 5-3 Saturday afternoon loss to the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, the Stingers need a win to keep their playoff spot secure. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.