Stingers 4, Gaels, 3: Concordia men’s hockey moves on to semi-finals

A fierce battle between Concordia and Queen’s ends in double overtime

The Stingers celebrate at centre ice after forward Tyler Hylland’s goal. Photo Alice Martin

The Stingers men’s hockey team secured a crucial win against the Queen’s University Gaels at home on Feb. 16. Consequently, Concordia will progress to the semi-finals of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East.

The matchup marked game two of the division quarterfinals. The Stingers defeated the Gaels 3-1 in their first game held two days prior. Coming back from the loss, the Gaels didn’t make it an easy win for the Stingers.

Queen’s opened the scoring five minutes into the first period when forward Holden Katzalay capitalized on a pass from forward Samuel Marburg. 

In the typical fashion of a Stingers-Gaels game, the tension escalated rapidly on the ice. Hits along the boards, chirping between players after whistles were frequent. Throughout the period, a total of four penalties were assessed to the teams—three of which to the Gaels. 

This tension evolved into rigid physicality during the second period after Stingers centre Gabriel Proulx checked Gaels defenceman Jakob Brahaney from behind. Players from both teams joined in a brawl until referees stepped in to break up the scrum. Proulx was assessed a minor penalty and a misconduct for the hit. 

Despite being short handed, the Stingers prevailed, with forward Mathieu Bizier scoring his first goal of the playoffs on the penalty kill. Bizier finished the regular season with ten goals, tied for team-best with centre Tyler Hylland.

The Gaels and the Stingers came onto the ice in the third period tied at one, and would leave the third period tied at three. Stingers forward Isiah Campbell tallied his second goal of the series, while Hylland added another, growing his team’s lead. In the last seven minutes of play, the Gaels erased their deficit when Katzalay completed a hat trick.

The Gaels may have forced overtime, but the Stingers still dominated, outshooting their opponents 15 to seven in the frame. Many Stingers took opportunistic shots at Gaels goaltender Christian Purboo, while the Gaels themselves had difficulty in front of Stingers goaltender Nikolas Hurtubise’s crease. No players could foil either goalkeeper, however, and the game went into a second overtime.

Although tired and cautious, the Stingers hit their stride into what would be the last frame of the game. They outshot the Gaels eight to one before Stingers defender Simon Lavigne finally managed to bypass Purboo, allowing his team to move onto the OUA East semifinals.

“It goes so fast, you kind of black out on the ice because there’s so much emotion, but it felt so incredible,” said Lavigne, when asked about the series winning goal. “All the guys jumped on me, screamed [with] joy. It’s an amazing feeling.”

“[Queen’s] is a good team. It was a big battle, but I’m just proud of the guys. They didn’t give up. We scored two goals at the end of the regulation, but we had a good run,” said Stingers head coach Marc-André Elément.

The Stingers will face off against the McGill Redbirds in the OUA East semifinals. The schedule for the series has yet to be set.