The McGill men’s hockey team (2–2–1) continued their preseason on Oct. 23 against the Concordia Stingers (2-2), dropping a 1-0 overtime affair.
The game started at a fast pace, with solid puck movement and strong physicality from both teams. Early in the contest, McGill had multiple opportunities to strike first, after Concordia took two minor penalties in the first 10 minutes. However, Concordia’s penalty kill successfully squashed both chances for the Redbirds, and the game remained scoreless.
After seizing early momentum with a pressing forecheck, McGill forward Andrew McIntyre took a tripping penalty, swinging energy toward the away team. Thankfully for the Redbirds, this was not an issue, as their penalty kill unit began their game-long dominance with an early shutdown of the Stingers’ power play.
Following a strong showing at the end of the first period, McGill immediately hurt themselves again at the start of the second period, taking a head contact minor penalty, with an additional ten-minute misconduct given to the offender, Jordan-Ty Fournier. Again, the penalty kill unit stood tall, defending their own end phenomenally for two long minutes.
“I think that our penalty kill played really well. The forwards and defensemen were consistently in great position, especially considering it was a pre-season game and we have so many new players on the team,” first-year goaltender Alexis Shank said.
Along with the penalty kill unit, a bright spot for the Redbirds was the rookie netminder. Shank stopped 41 shots, standing on his head at many points in the game, particularly during the second and third period when he faced 30 shots over 40 minutes.
Speaking to his fantastic performance, Shank remained humble, crediting his teammates for the success.
“I think my teammates have helped my confidence both on and off the ice,” Shank said. “They limited many chances throughout the game last night, and have made me feel comfortable as a young rookie on the squad.”
Following a scoreless second period that concluded with serious tension between the benches of the rival teams, it was evident that the first team to put the puck past the outstanding netminders would win the contest.
In the third period, both teams had excellent opportunities in their offensive zone. The Redbirds continued their strong defensive play, exemplified by a crucial sliding block by first-year forward William Poirier to prevent an attempt on goal.
After a tense final two minutes, in which McGill successfully killed the majority of yet another Concordia power play, the two downtown rivals were off to overtime to find a winner in the extremely defensive contest.
Just a few minutes into the electric, back-and-forth 3-on-3 overtime, Concordia buried a top corner goal on an odd man rush, winning the game for the Stingers. Despite the unfortunate result, the Redbirds played solid defence and have much to build on as the team heads into the regular season.
McGill begins their OUA season at Concordia on Nov. 3, followed by a “Friends of McGill Hockey Homecoming” match up against 2019-2020 national finalists, the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Moment of the Game:
First-year netminder Alexis Shank makes a fantastic set of saves late in the third period to maintain a shutout during regulation time.
Stat Corner:Alexis Shank saved 41 of 42 shots, the highest season total of any McGill netminder this year.