Stingers 6, Redbirds 3: Stingers Take Down Rival Redbirds in a Classic

Concordia Men’s Hockey Defeats McGill Redbirds in Pivotal Game One of OUA Playoffs

Courtesy Kyran Thicke - Concordia Stingers’ Athletics

In front of a packed house at Ed Meagher Arena, the Concordia Stingers’ men’s hockey team rallied to earn a pivotal win against the McGill Redbirds on Feb. 22.

The Concordia Stingers played host to local rival McGill Redbirds in the first game of a best-of-three in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East playoff quarter-final. This highly anticipated matchup comes three years after these two teams last met in a playoff round, where the Stingers took the series victory in three games.

In the first period, the game got off to a fast and vibrant start. Just one minute in, Redbirds’ forward William Rouleau tucked in a backhand shot past Stingers’ goaltender Jonathan Lemieux to make it 1-0 McGill. Five minutes later, Redbirds’ forward Mathieu Gagnon beat Lemieux on a wrist shot giving McGill a 2-0 lead.

Stingers’ head coach Marc-André Element kept his team’s composure despite giving up the two early goals. “I told the guys to relax,” coach Element shared. “I told them that we would get our legs back and that we would get back our momentum that we had from the last few games.”

Coach Element’s message sparked a fire under his players, as the Stingers earned their first power play two minutes after McGill’s second goal. On the ensuing power play, Stingers’ forward Charles Tremblay ripped a shot to the back of the net, cutting the deficit to one. Seven minutes later, Concordia found themselves on another power play, and they would take advantage once again. Stingers’ forward Mathieu Bizier received a nice feed from forward Maxim Trépanier and shot it five-hole on Redbirds’ goaltender Emanuel Vella, tying the game 2-2.

Two minutes after assisting a goal, Trépanier buried one himself. The Stingers’ forward walked to the middle of the slot and sniped it past Vella, making it 3-2 Stingers.

After a wild five-goal first period, the second frame saw better defensive structure from both teams. While the Stingers had three power plays and the Redbirds had one, both netminders made key saves to keep the score 3-2 Concordia after forty minutes of play.

The third period, however, was a different story. Thirty seconds into the frame, Stingers’ Bizier fired in a one-timer on the power play to make it 4-2 Concordia. Not even a minute later, Stingers’ captain and forward Phélix Martineau extended the Concordia lead to three. All of the momentum was on the side of the home team.

With frustration building for the Redbirds, the penalty minutes continued to increase. As the teams skated four-on-four, McGill got a goal back via a wrist shot past Lemieux. Nearing the end of the game, the Redbirds began playing with more desperation, but Stingers’ defenseman Simon Lavigne made them pay by adding a goal of his own and putting the game out of reach.

Once the dust settled, Concordia took game one by a score of 6-3. Following his three-point performance, Trépanier expressed what this game meant to his team: “It’s a good feeling. It’s a short series, so as soon as we get that first one done, we put ourselves in a good spot.”

Following the victory, the Stingers headed to McGill on Feb. 24 with the opportunity to clinch the series. In this critical second game, the Stingers earned a 4-0 shutout win and punched their ticket to the OUA east playoff semifinal.

The Stingers now await their next opponent as the OUA quarter-final round concludes. The Stingers will face either the fourth-place Carleton Ravens or the first-place Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes.