A Last-Ditch Effort
Shootout Win Kept Playoff Hopes Alive For 24 Hours
Concordia 3 Queen’s 2
It took 12 shooters to end last Friday’s matchup between the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team and the Queen’s University Gaels. But the Stingers inched closer to a playoff spot as centre Alexis Piette was the only shooter to score in the shootout.
“By fluke I decided to reverse the order and have Piette shoot before Oliver Hinse,” said Stingers head coach Kevin Figsby. “It turned out to be a good move.”
The Stingers came out swinging early as Piette buried the puck past Queen’s goaltender Riley Whitlock just over five minutes into the game. The Stingers would double their lead towards the end of the second period when left winger Dany Potvin connected on a pass from right winger Jessyco Bernard to make it 2-0.
Penalties nearly cost them the game, however, as come the third period Queen’s defenceman Patrick McEachen wasted no time capitalizing on a Stingers slashing call 10 minutes into the period, quickly finding the back of the Concordia net to end goaltender Antonio Mastopietro’s shutout bid.
With less than 45 seconds left in regulation play, the Gaels were at it again when forward Jordan Mirwaldt scored just as the Stingers were coming off a penalty by centre Kyle Armstrong.
The rest of the game can be summed up as a goaltenders’ duel. The Gaels had a 4-3 shot advantage in overtime, but neither team was able score. The same was true in the shootout that followed, as 11 different shooters were unable to make it past their opposing goalie.
“If we win tomorrow and make the playoffs, it’s not due to the work we’ve done now, it’s due to the work we’ve done all year.”
—Kevin Figsby, Stingers head coach
Then Piette came along and solved Whitlock, ending the game and getting the much-needed victory.
While Piette may get all the glory, the Stingers have Mastopietro to thank for the win, as he made 42 saves over the course of the night. “Their goalie was the difference in the game,” said Gaels head coach Brett Gibson. “He made saves that I haven’t seen this year. We threw everything at him, and he owned the board for them.”
The win kept the team’s playoff hopes alive as they were just a point out of the eighth and final playoff spot heading into last Saturday’s season finale.
“If we win tomorrow and make the playoffs, it’s not due to the work we’ve done now, it’s due to the work we’ve done all year,” said Figsby. “We had some adversity when we lost our starting goaltender and had five or six injuries in a row, and we had a series of five games when we didn’t play well due to circumstances we were in,” Figsby added, referring to when the team was hit by the flu in January. “But we’ve peaked at the right time.”
Unfortunately all that work wasn’t enough in the end, as the Stingers lost 2-1 to the Toronto Varsity Blues last Saturday afternoon, officially eliminating them from playoff contention.