Game two vs. Toronto
REGINA- The Concordia Stingers lost not only a game but also any chances at winning a medal last Friday.
After Thursday night’s devastating 5-2 loss at the hands of the number-one ranked Pandas, the Stingers could not pull it together and the Toronto Varsity Blues got the best of them to win 2-1.
The first period was truly a hard-fought match between both teams. Concordia’s defenders did an excellent job against a strong Toronto offence, chasing away anybody who skated into their zone and allowing only four shots on goal.
The Stinger defence allowed only four shots on goal, and netminder Jessica Anderson would stop anything her defence could not.
Toronto’s Kim Malcher was a monkey on Concordia’s back, making her presence felt with her rapid skating and stick handling. The period looked like a tennis match, with both teams chasing after the puck up and down the ice.
Despite a great defence, the Stingers’ offence was lacking some firepower, missing many great scoring opportunities.
With Toronto’s Jillian Savin in the penalty box for high-sticking, Concordia found a chance to score when Kendra Macdonald, assisted by Lisa-Marie Breton, shot the puck towards goaltender Alison Houston.
Houston bobbled the puck in her glove, and it kept travelling until it reached the back of the net at 18:32.
The Varsity Blues attempted to score in the final seconds of the frame, but Concordia held onto their 1-0 lead.
The Varsity Blues did not waste any time in the second period.
Only 47 seconds into the frame, Blues forward Susie Laska drilled the puck between Anderson’s pads, tying the game at 1-all.
Anderson sharpened up from that point on, stopping a wraparound attempt by Toronto forward Jenny McRae.
The Blues become more aggressive, entering the Stingers’ zone on several occasions.
“We’re a team that plays clean hockey,” Stinger Marie-Claude Allard stated. “[Unlike} the Blues, we play with our sticks on the ice, and usually that kind of hockey pays off, but things just didn’t go our way today.”
With 11 minutes remaining, Toronto’s Susie Laska’s attempt to score a wraparound goal was called back by the referee.
Although the Stingers were unable to capitalize on a few powerplay opportunities, their offensive playing improved during the second frame.
Toronto kept the pressure up on the Stingers, and their efforts were successful when forward Bree Kruklis slipped the puck into the net between Anderson’s pads, allowing her team to take a 2-1 lead.
The game became rougher from that point on, with the Stingers attempting to tie the score and the Blues playing with their sticks up.
Concordia’s attempts to score by remaining in Toronto’s zone for the final minute of the period failed, sending them into the dressing room with a one-goal deficit.
The Maroon and Gold’s offence came out stronger in the third period, remaining in the Blues’ zone for long stretches of time but failing to capitalize.
Anderson and her defence did a great job at keeping forwards at bay, but the Stingers’ offence was not as fast and aggressive as it should have been.
The Blues’ forwards kept pressuring the Stingers but could not get the puck past Anderson, who stopped 17 shots in the period, including an outstanding save where she dropped her stick in order to dive for a puck shot by Toronto forward Nancy McLean.
“Jessica [Anderson] played very well today, she made some big saves,” Lawton said. “They (Toronto) are a scrappy team, they like to bang around the net, but she kept her cool.”
The Stingers became more and more desperate to score as time began to run out, trying to skate past a now tough Blues defence.
A time-out called by the Maroon and Gold at 19:03 had no results, with the Stingers scrambling for the puck and the Blues shooting the puck in the corners, allowing them keep their 2-1 lead for the win.
“It was tough,” Stinger Captain Lisa-Marie Breton mentioned. “After Toronto’s second goal today, we let our guard down a bit. We played the number one team yesterday, and the number two team today, that’s two games in 24 hours, so it takes it toll mentally and physically.”
Game one vs. Alberta
Despite coming to the Queen City ranked third in the CIS, and being QSSF conference champions, the Stingers found themselves ranked fifth out of the six teams competing.
The Stingers faced the number-one ranked team, the University of Alberta Pandas, in the tournament’s first preliminary game last Thursday.
The Pandas came back from a two-goal deficit in the second period in order