The Concordia Stingers will meet the UQTR Patriotes in OUA men's hockey playoff action for the first time since 2010-11 in a best-of-three series, beginning Wednesday night in Trois-Rivières.
As the top seed in the OUA East, the Patriotes host Game 1 and Game 3 (if necessary) at the Colisée Jean-Guy Talbot. The Stingers host Game 2 on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ed Meagher Arena.
Both teams have reached the OUA conference’s medal round. The winner of the UQTR-Concordia semifinal series will play in the gold medal game and the loser with compete for the bronze medal. All three Ontario conference medallists will advance to the U Sports national championship March 16-19.
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. In Round 2, Concordia swept the McGill Redbirds in two straight games to advance.
The Patriotes finished in first place with a 21-4-1 record. They also had a first-round bye before taking down the Carleton Ravens in two straight games.
Stinger defenceman Simon Lavigne shared his thoughts on aspects to focus on when the teams meet.
“Special teams and discipline are key points,” said the outstanding rookie who scored three goals in the McGill playoff series. “Our defensive zone coverage is important because they have a lot of good players with good skills and it’s hard to contain them.”
Concordia will have to contend with Simon Lafrance who is the Patriotes’ leading scorer with 16 goals and 22 assists for 38 points in 23 games. Ten of those goals were scored on the power play. He ranks fourth in U Sports scoring.
Another key element to watch closely in this series is goaltending. It will be an epic duel between Concordia rookie Jonathan Lemieux and UQTR’s Alexis Gravel.
Lemieux has a goals-against average of 1.98 and a save percentage of .933 in 21 regular season appearances.
In 19 games, Gravel’s GAA is 2.02 and his save percentage is .932.
Lemieux gave up just three goals in the two-game playoff series with McGill and had a shutout in Game 2. It was his fifth shutout this season.
Gravel gave up four goals in the Patriotes' sweep of Carleton.
UQTR has dominated in the season series, but Concordia has come a long way since those early meetings. The Stingers have won 10 of 12 games since the holiday break and are currently riding an eight-game win streak.
Sept. 17 – UQTR 7, Concordia 4 - preseason
Nov. 11 – Concordia 4, UQTR 2
Nov. 12 – UQTR 5, Concordia 3
Nov. 19 – UQTR 4, Concordia 0
Jan. 7 – UQTR 6, Concordia 2
Game 1 — Wednesday, March 1 – 7 p.m. - Concordia at UQTR
Game 2— Friday, March 3 – 7:30 p.m. - UQTR at Concordia
Game 3 — Sunday, March 5 – 7 p.m. - Concordia at UQTR (if necessary)
Ed Meagher Arena on the Loyola campus, 7200 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal
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