MONTREAL, Ont. - Goaltender Marc-Antoine Turcotte made 43 saves as eighth-ranked Concordia escaped with a stunning 3-1 victory over No.4 ranked McGill to open the best-of-three OUA East men's hockey finals, at McConnell Arena on Wednesday.
The Redmen outshot the Stingers 44-19 -- including a smothering 16-3 advantage in the opening period -- but trailed throughout the match as their record dropped to 101-99-14 in 214 lifetime confrontations with ConU. Game 2 will take place on Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Ed Meagher Arena. The Redmen need to win to force a third and deciding back at McConnell on Sunday night at 7 p.m.
"We clearly carried the play in the game," said McGill head coach Kelly Nobes. "We had a lot of scoring opportunities, we just didn't finish tonight. But we can do more. We need to get inside them, more net-front presence and we need to get heavier on our sticks and want it more. It all revolves around the front of the net. Those are three things that we need to do on Friday."
"This time last week we were in a tougher spot," offered team captain Nathan Chiarlitti, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound defenceman from Maple, Ont. "We played a good game tonight and we just didn't get the bounces. I think what happened last week in the Ottawa series (when McGill lost 3-2 in Game 1 but won the next two) just strengthened us, so I'm not concerned. I think we're going to bounce back."
Raphaël Lafontaine had opened the scoring at 18:02 of the first period. Charles-Éric Légaré scored what proved to be the game-winner at 16:49 of the middle stanza to put the Stingers ahead 2-0.
With the McGill goaltender pulled in the dying minutes of the third, defenceman Nikolas Brouillard of St. Hilaire, Que., got one back for the Redmen to spoil the shutout bid with 39 seconds left. But Brouillard took a cross-checking penalty in the final minute and a power-play empty-netter from Philippe Hudon sealed Concordia's victory.
McGill was 0-for-4 on the power play, while the Stingers went 1-for-2. The Redmen hit two goal-posts and missed the net on at least a half-dozen golden scoring opportunities.
"That happens some nights and it's called adversity," said Nobes of the squad's bad puck luck. "We need to find a way to stick with it, grind it out, get inside, get heavier on our sticks and want it more. Those are our keys."
Goaltender Louis-Philip Guindon of St. Joseph du Lac, Que., made 16 saves on 18 shots and took the loss.
The team left standing in this OUA East series will meet the winner of the OUA West series between Brock and York for the Queen's Cup championship. The visiting Badgers upset York 6-2 in Game 1 of that series.
Source: McGill Redmen