Western 5, Concordia 2: Stingers Finish Fourth in Queen’s Cup Playoffs
Concordia Fails to Qualify for Nationals After Tough Loss to the Mustangs
The Stingers lost to the Western Mustangs by a score of 5-2 on Saturday afternoon at Thompson Arena in London, Ontario, putting an end to their season and their hopes of competing in this year’s U Sports University Cup.
Concordia came out strong, dictating the pace of play and outskating the bigger and slower Western squad. The Stingers’ skilled forwards tested Mustangs’ goalie Luke Peressini, creating chance after chance.
Forward Chase Harwell opened the scoring in the first period, tucking home a Jean-Philippe Beaulieu pass into an empty net to put the Stingers in front early.
Western’s reply came just 24 seconds before the end of the first period, as defenceman Stephen Desrochers joined the rush and cleaned up a scramble in front of the Concordia goal to tie the game.
The Mustangs added to their lead when forward Anthony Stefano finished a beautiful tic-tac-toe play. Kenny Huether also blasted home a shot from the point on the powerplay to give his team a two-goal cushion.
The chippy affair came to a head in the third period, when Western defenceman Rylan Bechtel hit a vulnerable Philippe Sanche into the boards from behind, injuring the Stingers captain. Bechtel received a minor penalty on the play.
A total of 13 penalties were assessed throughout the game, six of them being taken by an undisciplined Stingers team. Similar to their two losses to the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, Concordia hurt themselves by struggling to stay out of the penalty box.
Down 4-1, with the Stingers frustrated with the score and the injury to their captain, defenceman Gabriel Bilodeau violently slashed Bechtel after the whistle, causing a scrum and more penalties.
Defenceman Bradley Lalonde scored on the ensuing power play to bring the score to 4-2. But, the Stingers’ comeback hopes were killed when Western forward Cordell James scored an empty-netter to secure the bronze medal for the Mustangs.
This loss wraps up the Stingers playoff run, in which they upset McGill and Carleton to reach the OUA East Division Final. Although a bronze medal and a trip to Nationals would’ve added a cherry on top, Concordia’s men’s hockey team has a lot to be proud of for this season.
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