Stingers 2, Patriotes 1: Top-ranked Patriotes get bested by Concordia
Concordia wins the last game of the regular season during Senior’s Night
The Stingers men’s hockey team overflowed with energy as they defeated the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Patriotes at the Ed Meagher Arena on Feb. 8. The match marked the Stingers’ last game of the season and their annual Seniors Night.
Seniors Night underlines the careers of Stingers players who are graduating from the program. This year, third-year captain and centre Phélix Martineau, fourth-year assistant captain and centre Tyler Hylland, as well as fourth-year left-winger Charles-Antoine Giguère were honoured for their contribution to the men’s hockey program.
Thursday night also marked what was going to be a tight game, pitting the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East division fifth-ranked Stingers against the top-ranked UQTR.
The matchup began considerably less physical then previous games the Stingers played, signalling a potential caution against penalties. The Stingers, right from the start of the first period, appeared energized, fast and calculated, making tight passes and cutting any breaks from the Patriotes dead in their tracks.
Profiting from the momentum, Concordia stung first in the game on a one-timer from forward Nicholas Girouard through the legs of the Patriotes goaltender Alexis Gravel.
The Patriotes retaliated in the second frame. A minute into the period, Stingers defender Kyle Havlena was assessed a penalty for interference, which the Patriotes capitalized on, equalizing the score.
Despite the goal, Stingers rookie goaltender Nikolas Hurtubise made several in-extremis saves that kept his team in the game. Throughout the match, Hurtubise stopped a total of 20 shots, earning him the first star of the game.
“His performance tonight was amazing,” said Stingers head coach Marc-André Elément. “I’m not scared of putting first-year players on the ice in tough situations, they have to learn from it and he’s proved that in big games like that he can be the guy. He deserved that win.”
The Stingers had no room for error in the third period. Both teams looked cautious and disciplined, taking no penalties during the frame.
The Stingers would however prevail with under six minutes left in the game. Stingers forward Édouard Charron tipped in a pass from defender Simon Lavigne past Gravel’s right side to give the upper hand to the home team. Giguère collected his last-ever regular season assist on the goal.
The Stingers and the Patriotes remained fifth-ranked and top-ranked respectively after the game and will both compete in the OUA East playoffs.
“It was fun to play a game like that against a team that’s well ranked in Canada,” said Giguère. “It’s great to end on a high-note before the playoffs, and we’re set to have great playoffs.”