For the third time in the last five seasons head coach Marc-André Elément and the Concordia Stingers men's hockey team will play in the OUA bronze medal game in hopes of securing a berth at the U Sports national championship tournament.
The Stingers travel to Thunder Bay, Ont. to meet the Lakehead Thunderwolves in a one-game, winner-takes-all showdown on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Fort William Gardens. Stream HERE
The winning team will advance to the national championship in Charlottetown, P.E.I. from March 16 to 19.
The teams haven’t clashed since 2019 when the Thunderwolves eked out a couple of wins (4-3 and 5-4 OT) on home ice. The only current Stingers that were with the team in the fall of 2019 are forwards Tyler Hylland and Alex Katerinkis, and defenceman Marcus Tesink.
This season, 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. The team then met the UQTR Patriotes and lost the third-and-deciding game of the series 5-4 in OT.
The Patriotes move on to play the Windsor Lancers in the OUA’s gold medal game, also this Saturday night.
The Thunderwolves finished tied in first place in the OUA West with a 18-6-3 record. They also had a first-round bye in the playoffs. In the second round, Lakehead eliminated the Toronto Varsity Blues, taking the three-game series 2-1. In the OUA West finals, the Thunderwolves were edged out by Windsor, losing the third game 4-2.
Much like the Stingers, Lakehead’s offensive threats are spread out, but Griffen Fox is their leading scorer with 10 goals and 17 assists in 27 games. Spencer Blackwell, an OUA West first team all-star, had 12 goals and 14 assists in 25 games.
Thunderwolves goaltending was split between Max Wright (13 games, 2.49 GAA) and Christian Cicigoi (15 games, 2.61 GAA).
The Stingers will rely on OUA East Goaltender of the Year Jonathan Lemieux who has a goals-against average of 1.98 and a save percentage of .933 in 21 regular season appearances.
The Stingers have the top defence in the OUA thanks to the play of Lemieux and two decorated defenceman - second team all-star Kyle Havlena and Samuel Desgroseilliers who was named to the all-rookie team.
Offensively, captain Phélix Martineau has been hot. He scored five goals in the three-game series with UQTR. He is the leading goal scorer in the OUA playoffs with six in five games.
Bronze medal history:
2023 – March 11 – Concordia at Lakehead
2020 – March 7 – Western 5, Concordia 2
2018 – March 9 – Concordia 3, York 2
History vs. Lakehead:
2019-20 – L 4-3, L 5-4 OT (Thunder Bay, Ont.)
2017-18 – W 4-3, L 3-2 OT (preseason in Thunder Bay, Ont.)
2016-17 – W 4-3, W 4-0 (Montreal)
2013-14 – L 4-3 OT, L 3-1 (Thunder Bay, Ont.)
2010-11 – L 11-2, L 7-4 (Montreal)