Men’s Hockey: Stingers Survive Game 2
Concordia Throw Everything They Had at Ridgebacks in Emotional Game
An emotional and motivated Stingers team stormed the ice in the third period and claimed a 5-2 comeback win over the UOIT Ridgebacks forcing the series to a third and final game.
Concordia left Ontario disappointed after they played an uncharacteristically slow paced game and were shutout in game one of the first round of the Ontario University Athletics playoffs to the Ridgebacks.
Game two seemed to hold the same narrative with the team down 1-0 early in the first period. UOIT forward Jack Patterson made a nifty move at the blue line undressing the Concordia defense and swiftly cut to the front to score on Stingers goaltender, Philippe Cadorette.
Despite an early deficit, the Stingers controlled the majority of play and continued to pummel Ridgebacks goaltender Brendan O’Neill with shots. The first period finished 1-0, but the Stingers outmuscled and outshot the Ridgebacks 19-10.
“We knew [O’Neill] was playing well, he had a good last game against Trois Rivieres too, so that helped him get some momentum heading to playoffs,” said Stingers forward Anthony De Luca.
O’Neill was on a two-game shutout streak and frustrated both Stinger players and fans for most of the game, but midway through the second period, the Stingers finally managed to find a crack in the armor.
De Luca blasted a one-timer from the top of the right circle past a sprawling O’Neill, tying the game at 1-1. The Stingers sustained relentless pressure on the opposing defense, outworking and dominating UOIT with 14 shots in the second.
But once again, it seemed the Ridgebacks were getting all of the bounces. UOIT jumped back into the lead late in the period off a rebound, which landed directly onto the stick of Ridgebacks forward Mitch Bennett.
The energy in Ed Meagher Arena was drained instantly. Fans tried to cheer on the Stingers but the smell of defeat hung in the air. The second frame ended with UOIT ahead 2-1.
With the season on the line, the second intermission served as an important breather for the Stingers. Stingers head coach Marc-Andre Element delivered the locker room speech, in what he described as an emotional room.
“I just told them that I was so proud of them and that we had a little something going on tonight and that we were going to win that game,” said Element.
And that’s exactly what the Stingers did.
That third period the Stingers took the game and never looked back. Defenseman Philippe Charbonneau scored with a quick wrist shot to even the score at 2-2, early into the final frame.
Then with five minutes remaining, Stingers forward, Scott Oke jammed a loose puck in the net, which proved to be the game-winning goal. Stingers captain Olivier Hinse and De Luca added a couple of insurance goals to cap off an exciting game.
The team rose together in the third period and completely overwhelmed the Ridgebacks.
“I think all the guys were riled up, to be honest, you know there are a lot of guys that it’s their last game here and we just want to play for those guys,” said De Luca.
The win required a lot of digging and hard work but if the Stingers hope to make a deep playoff run they’ll need to show the same heart and emotion that they showed in third period.
Game three takes place on Saturday February 18, 2017 at Ed Meagher Arena, where Concordia will try to eliminate the UOIT Ridgebacks.