One of the best rivalries in hockey resumes this Wednesday night when the Concordia Stingers open a best-of-three playoff series with the McGill Redbirds at the Ed Meagher Arena.
“Everyone on our team is excited,” said Concordia assistant captain Tyler Hylland. “The regular season is fun, but the real fun starts in the playoffs. No matter what players are on the roster, no matter what type of team you have, no matter what the stats say when Concordia and McGill play it’s going to be a tight, hard-fought battle.”
The Stingers finished in second place in the 10-team OUA East conference with a 19-7 win-loss record and earned a bye in the first round of playoffs.
The Redbirds finished in third place with a 14-8-4 performance. They swept the Ottawa Gee-Gees in two straight games in the opening round of the post season.
On offence, Concordia averaged 3.88 goals a game in 26 regular season contests which ranks second in the OUA and seventh in the country. Second-year left wing Isiah Campbell led the Stingers in scoring with 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points in 26 games. Another big threat to score is Maxim Trépanier, also a left wing in his second year, who collected seven goals in his last three contests. Overall, he picked up 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points in 20 games.
The Stingers have been exceptional in their own end all season. They gave up just 55 goals in 26 games (2.14 GAA). Concordia has allowed the fewest goals in the OUA and ranks second in U Sports.
Rookie goaltender Jonathan Lemieux plays a key role in the strong defensive showing. He’s played in 21 games and has a GAA of 1.98 and a save percentage of .933.
You have to go back to the 1981-82 season to find a better defensive performance from Concordia. That year, the Stingers allowed 46 goals in 24 games (1.91 GAA) in the old Quebec University Athletic Association conference.
The only other time the defence had such a strong showing was in 1975-76 when Jim Corsi, the current Stinger goalie coach, was in nets. Concordia gave up 36 goals in 20 games (1.80 GAA) which still stands as the school record.
McGill scores an average of 3.35 goals a game and gives up 2.98 goals.
While the stats may favour the Stingers, head coach Marc-André Elément is not making predictions.
“McGill is a well-structured, disciplined team,” he said. “McGill is a good team and we have to respect that.
“We have to play our game, play fast and stick to our game plan.”
The teams have met three times with Concordia winning two of the three.
Oct. 16 – McGill 5, Concordia 3
Oct. 20 – Concordia 2, McGill 1
Nov. 20 – Concordia 5, McGill 0
Game 1 — Wednesday, Feb. 22 – 7:30 p.m. McGill at Concordia
Game 2— Friday, Feb. 24 - 7 p.m. Concordia at McGill
Game 3 — Sunday, Feb. 26 – 3 p.m. McGill at Concordia (if necessary).
Ed Meagher Arena on the Loyola campus, 7200 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal
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