Ontario Tech 3, Concordia 2 (OT): Fighting Towards a Fresh Start for Men’s Hockey
Stingers Struggling Through a Slew of Injuries
With their overtime loss to the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks, they’ve now dropped five games in a row.
While they aren’t happy with the outcome, they did come away with a point and a performance they felt they can build off of at least.
It was a game in which they played well and got chances, but some bad luck, missing finish, and the team’s current situation kept them from two points.
“You’ve got to dig a little deeper and make the puck bounce your way as cliche as it sounds,” said defenceman Carl Neill.
They’ll have to do that quickly to break this slump before the semester ends. They know that they can. Their last win came against the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes in a 5-1 beatdown of one of the league’s strongest teams. They know that that’s the kind of hockey they can play, and they need to get back there.
It’s a matter of not panicking right now and focusing on what they can do to actually get there.
“[We’ve got to] stay close, stay a close-knit group. Have each other’s backs. I think we’re doing that,” said alternate captain Chase Harwell.
They’ll have to stay close on the ice more than off because one of the biggest issues that caused this losing streak is players that are missing.
Against Ontario Tech, the Stingers were missing forwards Jeff De Witt, Zachary Zorn, Jake Fletcher, Alex Katerinakis, and Philippe Sanche.
They were without defender Mathieu Desautels, who underwent surgery a few weeks ago. To top it off, their starting goaltender Marc-Antoine Turcotte was confined to the bench. Another goalie, Anthony Dumont Bouchard, was out of action as well.
In other words, the team is currently without eight of their players. That’s their captain and best forward in Sanche, another top-line player in Katerinakis, a strong rookie centre, two strong defensive forwards, a veteran defender, their starting goalie, a strong backup with starting experience, and a partridge in a pear tree.
“I’ve never seen so many injuries with [our] goalies and forwards,” said head coach Marc-André Élement.
The Stingers bench boss had to shuffle things last minute when two of his players were injured in the previous night’s game and were discovered to be unable to go just before game time.
They’ve had to try and adjust parts of their game to make up for all of the holes in their lineup these injuries have caused.
“We’re trying to get more offence from the D,” explained Stinger Alexandre Gosselin. “More O-zone time, use the D more.”
Without some of their strongest scoring punches, much of the offence has fallen to rookie Tyler Hylland and the skilled offensive defenders of the team.
The good news for the Stingers is that they have a long break coming up. That will mean a chance to heal, particularly for Sanche who has a broken hand.
They play two sets of one-game weekends and then will have over a month to recuperate and prepare for the second half of the season.
The players know that if they can get healthy, they’ll be going into the latter half of the season with some rested, hungry, talented players ready to prove something.
They’ve seen themselves take on top teams and prove they can go up against anyone when they’re able to ice their normal lineup. For now, it’s just about staying the course, putting forward the best they can in their last two games of the semester, and coming into the rest of the season healthier and ready to go all in very early.