The Concordia women’s hockey team’s newly improved defence helped to extend the team’s unbeaten streak to seven conference games last Sunday at McGill’s McConnell Arena.
In their third game against the Martlets in four weeks, the Stingers rallied from a scoreless first period to hand over a 3-0 shutout.
Concordia goaltender Cecilia Anderson was heavily pressured throughout the first period, having to face 19 McGill shots.
However, she came out strong and defended her net against strong Martlet snipers.
“We had great goaltending today, in the first period specifically,” Coach Les Lawton said. “We’ve also had great defence in today’s game, so we’re quite happy with what we’ve done defensively in the past few games.”
The Stingers were unable to get the puck into the net despite a few opportunities, which ended the period zero-all.
The same opportunities showed up early in the second period, and left wing Leann McPhee decided to hold on to them by netting her team’s first goal two minutes into the period.
The Martlets kept up a fight with the Stingers, but the latter came out stronger as center Anouk Grignon L’Anglais found her way into enemy territory and shot the puck deep inside the opposition’s net.
The Stingers’ pressuring offence was too much to handle for the Martlets.
“We knew that if we put pressure on their defencemen, it would create some opportunities for us,” Lawton said. “And it did today. We took advantage on those opportunities, and we were much more focused today than we were last week.”
There weren’t any opportunities available in the remainder of the period as McGill’s defence tightened up in their zone, ending the second period with a 2-0 Stinger lead.
As in any McGill-Concordia match-up, the heat was on, which paved the way for an extremely physical game.
Forward Dominique Rancour, who received a high-stick in the throat from a McGill player, recognized that they had to turn up the heat in this game.
“Because of the rivalry, we apply pressure, we want to be in their legs so to speak,” she said. “But we also have to play harder because we know they’ll give us a tough and physical game.”
Despite that, the Stingers were able to contain the Martlets throughout the match and kept them away from their own zone.
The Red and White’s defenders’ slipped as the Maroon and Gold’s snipers pressed on, which resulted in rookie Isabelle Caron taking charge of the puck and slamming it past goalie Kalie Townsend for a power play goal.
There was too little time left for McGill to rally a comeback, ending the game with a 3-0 shutout in favour of the Stingers.
“The fact that we played so well defensively in this game really helped our offensive lines,” Rancour said. “We played super well in our defensive zone, we’d come into the neutral zone and clear the puck, forecheck, apply pressure, and we’d grab the puck and skate into their [McGill] zone. That was the difference in this game, so it helped us go from a tying a game with McGill [2-2 tie on Nov. 8] to giving them a shut-out.”