Patriotes 5, Stingers 3: Game Three Decides Series
Concordia Men’s Hockey Drop Game Two of OUA Playoff Semifinal
An emotional game two matchup saw the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes hang on to defeat the Concordia Stingers on Mar. 3.
After a decisive 5-1 victory in game one, the Concordia Stingers earned the opportunity to return to home ice and advance to the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Playoff Finals with one more win. While the Stingers had the home crowd on their side, Concordia was in for a tough test. They attempted to close out the series against the first-seeded Patriotes.
As anxious fans continued to file into the arena, the game got underway. One minute in, Stingers’ assistant captain and forward Alexander Katerinakis capped off a dominant opening shift by burying a shot past Patriotes’ goaltender Alexis Gravel to make it 1-0 Stingers.
After the opening goal, the Patriotes responded., Stingers’ forward Isiah Campbell was called for a penalty after colliding with Gravel on a breakaway. On the man-advantage, Patriotes’ forward Felix Lafrance capitalized by scoring and tying the game 1-1.
Despite conceding the goal, the Stingers remained unfazed. In the final minute of the first period, Stingers’ forward Mathieu Bizier scored off a backhand shot that found a hole through Gravel, retaking the lead for Concordia. The second period, however, would see a much different pace of play.
The defending national champion Patriotes came out firing, accumulating twenty shots during the second frame. Three minutes into the period, the Patriotes tied the game once again. This goal came off a shot that beat the screened Stingers goaltender Jonathan Lemieux.
While conceding the tying goal, Lemieux made numerous key saves to keep the score tied after two periods. Stingers’ head coach Marc-André Element spoke highly of his goaltender’s performance: “He’s been great since the beginning of the season. He keeps us in the game and I am confident he will do the same thing [in game three].”
Knowing that a loss would end their season, the Patriotes came out in the third period firing on all cylinders. In the first five minutes of the third period, the Patriotes buried two goals past Lemieux to open up a 4-2 lead.
In the latter half of the final frame, the Stingers’ own desperation began to set in. With their goaltender pulled in the final minutes, Concordia used the extra attacker to get a goal back and make the score 4-3.
Despite Concordia’s nineteen shots in the period, the Patriotes scored an empty-net goal to seal the win and force a game three back in Trois-Rivières.
Stingers’ defenseman Sean Larochelle shared postgame what his team has to do differently in order to win game three: “We have to keep it simple. We have to play hard and fast like we’re supposed to. We’ll get them back on Sunday.”
The Stingers headed north to Trois-Rivières ahead of their game three matchup knowing it is a must-win situation. Concordia sprung out to a quick 4-0 lead, only to be taken down by the Patriotes in a heartbreaking collapse that ended 5-4.
While the OUA championship is now out of reach for the Stingers, a win in next week’s bronze medal game would clinch Concordia a spot in this year’s U Sports University Cup in Prince Edward Island. The bronze medal game will take place on Mar. 11 versus the Lakehead Thunderwolves. Puck drop in Thunder Bay, Ontario is set for 7:00 p.m.