(PHOTO OF DEFENCEMAN RYAN MCKIERNAN CRASHING THE CREASE BY ANDREW DOBROWOLSKY)
MONTREAL - Nicholas Champion made 37 saves and his Concordia Stingers exploded for three power-play goals en route to a stunning 4-2 upset over the No.1-ranked McGill Redmen in men's hockey before a near-capacity crowd of 799 at McConnell Arena, Friday.
The Redmen appeared to run into an unlucky combination of hot goaltending and cold officiating.
McGill rearguard Marc-Andre Dorion opened the scoring at 19:21 of the first frame and the Redmen appeared to take a 2-0 lead when Neil Blunden scored but the goal was called back by one of the two referees with no explanation given, to either the coaches or the public address announcer.
Concordia's Etienne Archmbault tied the game at 1-1 on a power-play in the second period.
In the final stanza, with McGill killing a penalty, Redmen forward Maxime Langelier-Parent was sprung loose on a breakaway. He appeared to be both slashed and held by a Concordia defender but no foul or penalty shot was called.
On the same penalty, McGill forward Marc-Andre Daneau was then nailed for tripping on another disputed call to give the Stingers a 5-on-3 power-play and they struck twice in 32 seconds, getting goals by defenceman Michael Blundon at 12:14 and forward George Lovatsis at 12:46.
McGill sniper Francis Verreault-Paul tallied his 18th of the season to make it 3-2 with just over five minutes remaining. It was too little, too late, however, as Mike Stinziani added an empty-netter to snuff out any McGill rally.
Concordia, which is fighting for a playoff berth, improved to 13-10-2. With three games remaining before playoffs, they could still finish anywhere from fouth to ninth in the 10-team OUA East Division.
McGill sits atop the standings with a 19-4-2 record and holds a slim two-point lead over UQTR (18-6-2). The Redmen will host Carleton (13-9-3) on Saturday at 7 pm in the final regular season home game at McConnell Arena. The teams have split their two games this season, with McGill winning 1-0 in a shootout on home-ice (Jan. 20) and the Ravens prevailing 4-2 in Ottawa on Jan. 28.
Concordia 4 at McGill 2
(Friday, February 3, 2012 - McConnell Arena)
GOALS BY PERIOD:
Concordia 0-1-3 -- 4
McGill 1-0-1 -- 2
1, McGill, Marc-Andre Dorion 7 (F. Verreault-Paul, A. Picard-Hooper), 19:21.
Blunden Con (tripping), 11:29;
Therrien Mcg (elbowing), 16:08.
2, Concordia, Etienne Archambault 4 (A. Strumas, G. Lovatsis), 15:29 (PP).
Begin Con (holding), 4:17;
Lanctot-Marcotte Con (high sticking), 8:37;
Daneau Mcg (slashing), 14:51;
Langelier-Parent Mcg (tripping), 16:09.
3, Concordia, Michael Blundon 4 (E. Begin, M. Stinziani), 12:14 (PP).
4, Concordia, George Lovatsis 20 (M. Stinziani), 12:46 (PP).
5, McGill, Frrancis Verreault-Paul 18 (N. Biniek, C. Longpre-Poirier), 14:11 (PP).
6, Concordia, Michael Stinziani 12 (unassisted), 19:58 (EN).
Daneau Mcg (hooking), 4:41;
Picard-Hooper Mcg (tripping), 10:26;
Daneau Mcg (tripping), 11:14;
Langelier-Parent Mcg (10-minute misconduct), 12:46;
Bouchard Con (slashing), 13:20.
Shots on Goal-
Concordia 6-11-11 -- 28.
McGill 12-13-14 -- 39.
Power Play Opportunities-
Concordia 3 / 6;
McGill 1 / 4.
Concordia 4 / 8;
McGill 6 / 22.
Concordia, Nicolas Champion (W, 8-7-0, 39 shots-37 saves; 60:00).
McGill, Hubert Morin (L, 11-4-0, 27 shots-24 saves, 59:10).
EMPTY NET: 1 goal against, 0:50)
Start: 7:03 PM
End: 9:21 PM
Referees-Simon Tarte, Dominic Franc.
Linesmen-Pierre-Luc Huot, Jeremy Noreau.
MOLSON CUP THREE STARS:
1. CON - 31 Nicholas Champion
2. MCG - 18 Francis Verreault-Paul
3. CON - 36 Mike Stinziani