This year’s regular season series against the cross-town rival McGill Martlets has started off on the same note as last year for the Concordia women’s hockey team. Both years, the Lady Bees fell to the Martlets in their first match up of the season.
Last year, the score was 4-2. This year, McGill blanked Concordia 2-0 in their home opener last Saturday at Ed Meagher Arena.
The outcomes were the same, but this year there was something different about the opposing team.
Her name was Kim St-Pierre.
The defending QSSF champs knew they had a tough game ahead of them, with St. Pierre returning from a one-year sabbatical that saw the goaltender win the gold medal with the Canadian Olympic hockey team in Salt Lake City,
“She’s the backbone of their team,” Stingers’ Coach Les Lawton said of St-Pierre.
“I think over the course of the year we will eventually get to her, but she’s a big part of their team and they’re a lot more confident with her in the net.”
Concordia played a strong offensive game from the opening face-off, out-shooting their opponents 31-25, but they could not catch any breaks.
The McGill defence played a tight game and covered Concordia sniper Dominique Rancour as well as they could.
The Martlets defence also reacted well when killing off penalties, but Concordia’s special teams were much more impressive.
The penalty kill stayed strong, killing off a 5-on-3-man advantage for McGill in the third period. Concordia successfully killed all six of their penalties.
The home team had their number one power play unit one the ice, led by newly named captain Marie-Claude Allard and Rancour.
Their dominance was shown best in the third when McGill’s Veronique Lapierre was in the sin bin for interference.
Rancour skated in and unleashed a quick shot on St-Pierre, who was brick wall. Allard then tried to catch the rebound, but the McGill goaltender was all over it.
“It’s obviously always going to be a tight game. They’re a tough team – they have good forwards, defence and obviously a good goaltender, but it doesn’t matter,” said Allard after the game. “We’ll get through that goaltender. Next game.”
McGill opened up the scoring with the game winner at 12:12 in the first period when Katherine Safka took a pass from Justine Keyserlingk and skated in for a one-timer that flew over Concordia netminder Jessica Anderson’s right shoulder.
Safka then netted her second of the game, shorthanded at 14:35 of the third, beating Anderson again on the right side.
The Stingers’ dressing room still remained in good spirits because they know that they are still the team to beat this season.
“I think we played well,” Allard said. “I’m disappointed because it’s a loss, but I’m not disappointed with our team.”
If history repeats itself, Concordia will win their regular season bout against McGill, just as they did last year. Either way, these two teams make for evenly matched play and one heck of a hockey game.