Special Teams Helps Stingers Draw First (Redmen) Blood
The Stingers Take First Game After Wild Third-Period Finish
Wednesday night at McConnell Arena, the Stingers showed everybody what hard work does by disposing of their bitter rival by beating the McGill Redmen 6-4 in the first game of the series.
After the Concordia Stingers dropped the annual Corey Cup at the hands of the McGill Redmen in a double-overtime last Friday, the boys knew they needed to regroup before the first game of the quarter-finals.
“I think we planted some seeds of doubt into them the other night and gained some confidence,” said head coach Kevin Figsby. “Tonight was about hard work and discipline, everything clicked well.”
At the 11:26 mark of the opening frame, a scary moment happened behind the Concordia net as McGill forward Patrick Delisle-Houde delivered a nasty body check right to the head of Stingers defenseman Gabriel Bourret. He laid motionless for a few minutes on the ice before skating off with the help of the trainer. Bourret remained in the game. Delisle-Houde was ejected for his hit, slapped with a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
It didn’t take long for Concordia’s power play to kick in. Just 14 seconds in, Stingers captain Olivier Hinse took a shot that redirected off of Redmen goaltender Jacob Gervais-Chouinard to open the scoring. It was Hinse’s first of two power play markers on the evening, who finished the regular season tied for second in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport with 18 goals.
“We were really ready for this game; we said we would go out there, get pucks to the net and the chances will come,” said Hinse. “Tonight it really worked well in our favour.”
Despite the extended power play, Concordia couldn’t add another. McGill would tie the game up late in the period when defenseman Samuel Labrecque potted his first of two to even the game up at one-apiece by the end of the first 20.
However, Concordia regained their lead when Jessyko Bernard wired a shot 37 seconds into the second period just under the crossbar.
Stingers forward Dany Potvin would add his own power play goal with just under five to play capping off a nice passing play and shooting the puck up high, leaving Gervais-Chouinard no chance.
With McGill down by two and Concordia having the lead, the fans, players and coaches knew this game was far from over.
Eight minutes into the third, Hinse potted his second, increasing it to a 4-1 Concordia lead. Hinse and his linemates Bernard and Scott Oke combined for three goals and five assists on the evening.
“I thought we had a great jump to the start of the game, which really helped us in the long run,” said Oke. “Our special teams really helped and connected tonight.”
McGill would get their own power play goal back with just over seven to play, and would use to goal to kickstart a comeback.
The final two minutes saw the biggest exchange of back and forth hockey, as four goals were scored.
“It was quite an intense finish, we just never let up,” said Hinse. “Tomorrow we’ll have a big practice and check the tapes, but know it’ll be a big game Friday.”
Following a timeout call, McGill cut the deficit to one lone goal with 1:58 left.
Moments later, with Gervais-Chouinard pulled from his net for an extra attacker, Philippe Hudon took a shot from the Concordia defensive zone and made it 5-3. 38 seconds after that Dominic Beauchemin got his own empty-net increasing the game out of reach at 6-3, something that the Stingers have been working hard at practice.
The Redmen didn’t let up getting one final one before the final buzzer but it was too little, too late and the Stingers took a thrilling first game.
Another positive was seeing a healthy lineup, including defenseman Jeremy Barriault playing his first game since November 15.
“I was happy to be back on the ice. It took a while to get my legs and head back into the game,” said Barriault. “But when it’s playoff hockey, especially against McGill, I, along with the guys, want it that much more.”
The rivalry now travels to the Ed Meagher Arena, where Concordia can sweep the series Friday evening.