The McGill men’s hockey team (1–1–0) opened their OUA season on Nov. 3 against the Concordia Stingers (1–1–0), defeating their downtown rivals on the road and disappointing the home crowd.
The game began with some physicality and emotion that spilled over from the previous match-up, as the final preseason contest finished just over a week prior to the season opener. Tension was elevated further following an early goal from Concordia five minutes into the game, sending the home fans into a frenzy—particularly the Stingers’ student section that sat beside the McGill bench.
Despite the early deficit, the Redbirds continued to press hard, with solid play from the defencemen and continuous forechecking from the McGill forwards. The consistent pressure yielded positive results for the away squad, as fourth-year forward Jordan Ty-Fournier tipped a slap pass from third-year Blake Hayward past the Concordia netminder, tying the game again and pushing the momentum back in McGill’s favour.
At the end of the first period, McGill and Concordia got into a brawl as the intensity between the two rivals increased. The scrap resulted in two Redbird penalties and one Stinger penalty, giving Concordia a power play to begin the second period. However, McGill successfully defended the penalty kill and thwarted any possible momentum that might have begun the period.
After keeping the home team in check, the Redbirds began to press once again and took advantage of their opportunities. Hayward was involved once again, burying a beautiful goal to take a 2-1 McGill lead halfway through the second period. After scoring, Hayward and the rest of the Redbirds on the ice mildly taunted the Concordia fans after some back and forth between the away players and home fans earlier in the game.
Despite the unforgiving rival crowd, fourth-year defenceman Taylor Ford was happy to be back at the Ed Meagher Arena.
“It was definitely a great feeling to have a rowdy crowd again, even if they were against us. I’ve been around a few years now, so I expected the Concordia crowd to be in our ears all night long,” Ford said in an interview with The McGill Tribune.
Following the McGill goal, the Redbirds held the momentum for the rest of the second frame, but were unable to capitalize due to costly mistakes. This was exemplified late in the second when the away team took a penalty just three seconds into a powerplay, immediately quashing any man advantage opportunity.
These missed chances would come to hurt the Redbirds: Four minutes into the third period, the Stingers tied the game 2-2 on a point shot from Concordia defenceman Marcus Tesik. The crowd went into a frenzy and was suddenly rejuvenated. Concordia would benefit significantly from this jolt, drawing two McGill penalties with under 10 minutes left in the game.
However, the McGill penalty kill unit proved their might once again, blocking multiple shots and killing over a minute and a half of a 5-on-3 power play.
Ford was delighted with the penalty kill unit’s performance, commending their defence against all six of Concordia’s power plays.
“Our penalty kill was great,” Ford said. “Our assistant coach spoke to us before the game about the 5-on-3, which helped us come up big when Concordia in fact had that opportunity.”
Additionally, Ford credited goalie Alexis Shank for the team’s success.
“The most important part of any penalty kill is the goalie, and I thought [Alexis] stood on his head, not only for the penalty kill, but for the entire game,” Ford said.
After regulation, the score remained even, prompting a 3-on-3 overtime. The extra period was extremely fast-paced, with an abundance of odd man rushes for each side. However, neither team could convert over the seven minutes, sending the game into a shootout.
With each team and fanbase anxiously anticipating each shot, the tension in the arena was palpable. With no goals after 17 straight penalty shots, Jordan-Ty Fournier buried the game-winner in the ninth round of the shootout, sending the handful of McGill fans into celebration, and leaving the Concordia faithful disappointed.
McGill plays Carleton University in Ottawa for their next game on Nov. 12.
Moment of the Game:
Jordan-Ty Fournier scored in the ninth round of the shootout to win the game for McGill.
“The younger guys definitely got a taste of what the Concordia and McGill rivalry is all about. As always, it was a great feeling to beat [Concordia]” — Fourth-Year defenceman Taylor Ford
Concordia had six total power plays in the game, compared to just one for the visiting Redbirds.