For the second consecutive year, the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team find themselves reflecting on two consecutive conference losses after falling in the final of the Theresa Humes tournament. Concordia lost to the Ottawa Gee-Gees 5-3 on Sunday afternoon two days after falling to the No. 1 ranked McGill Martlets 7-1.
The loss against Ottawa is especially difficult for the Stingers because they held a meeting before getting on the bus to discuss things.
“We talked about the energy in practice and how we had a bad week on the ice in practice and it translated to our game against McGill [on Friday],” said Stingers forward Angela Di Stasi. “I go into every game thinking that we can win, but this game I really thought we would come out and win,” she said.
Unfortunately for the Stingers, they suffered from an extremely slow start. Only 41 seconds into the game, it was already 2-0 Ottawa.
Ottawa opened the scoring when a point shot by Michelle Snowden was knocked down in front and put in with a backhand by Kim Kerr 13 seconds after the opening faceoff. Less than 30 seconds later, Stingers goaltender Meggy Hatin-Léveillée was caught behind the net and a shot from Cass Bruelkelman found its way in.
“We wanted to prove something today,” said Di Stasi. “But we didn’t come out.”
Despite the slow start, the Stingers didn’t collapse and capitalized on undisciplined play by the Gee-Gees to pull even midway through a wild first period.
On a 5-on-3 advantage, Stingers forward Devon Rich took the puck at the right face off circle and fired a slap shot past Ottawa goaltender Melissa DiPetta.
Then 11 minutes into the opening frame, with Ottawa’s Ashley Burrill in the penalty box for tripping, a nice passing play followed by a scramble in front sent the puck into the slot, where pinching Concordia defenceman Rose Healy potted the goal that would tie the game at 2.
In the second period, Ottawa’s Joelle Charlebois and Concordia rookie forward Catherine Rancourt would trade goals to bring the score at 3-3 after 40 minutes.
Early in the third, with Ottawa captain Danika Smith already in the box for tripping, her teammate Michelle Snowden was called for roughing to give the Stingers a minute-long 5-on-3 advantage. However, Concordia couldn’t re-capture some of their power play magic from the first period and struggled to get any scoring chances with the advantage.
Things turned from bad to worse as the second penalty was expiring. After the Gee-Gees iced the puck, a wet spot on the ice slowed the puck down, which gave the Concordia defender a tough time picking it up. Kerr, the Gee-Gee’s top scorer, picked up the loose puck behind the net and put home a wrist shot past a sprawling Hatin-Léveillée on a wrap around to give Ottawa a 4-3 lead, and one they wouldn’t relinquish.
“It’s almost embarrassing,” said Rich about the shorthanded goal after an extended power play. “Power plays are a gift that we should be capitalizing on, not the opposite. It’s frustrating because these are four-point games that we should win,” she said.
“It was nice to see the character in our team to be able to bounce back,” Di Stasi said. “But, we just weren’t able to go up on them when we had the opportunity.”
“The message in between the second and third periods was to take a look around the room and see how much we wanted it,” said Ottawa head coach Shelley Coolidge. “It was a matter of pride and the girls came out and took it to them in the third,” she said.
According to the Coolidge, Ottawa had puck possession for close to 12 minutes of the final frame, the team’s highest in the three periods of the game.
“Most of the turnovers we had were not caused by [Concordia’s] forecheck,” Coolidge said. “It was our inability to make tape-to-tape passes. If we do it in practice, we should be able to do it in the game.”
Less than four minutes after Kerr’s go-ahead goal, Kayla Hottot scored to put the game out of reach for the Gee-Gees. Ottawa beat Carleton on Saturday night, which puts them in a solid second place in the Quebec conference. They sit six points ahead of Concordia and four clear of Carleton.
Friday @ McGill.
The Stingers were more disciplined in their game Friday against the No. 1 McGill Martlets, but the Martlets took advantage of Concordia’s performance 5-on-5.
“We did alright when we played even strength [in the final of the Theresa Humes tournament], but not [Friday],” said Stingers head coach Les Lawton. “It was a very flat performance after a flat week of practice. It’s disappointing.”
Rebecca Martindale opened the scoring for the Martlets who outshot the Stingers 44-12. Vanessa Davidson added a first period goal and Shauna Denis had two goals in the second period to pace the Martlets 7-1 victory.
Angela Di Stasi scored Concordia’s lone goal in the second period when she tipped a fluttering shot from the point by Alynn Doiron that handcuffed McGill goaltender Charline Labonté.
Audrey Doyon-Lessard made 37 saves for the Stingers in her first start since Oct. 28.
Friday’s game also saw Lawton mix up his top two lines. He flipped veteran wingers Tawnya Danis and Esther Latoures. Latoures now plays with Di Stasi and Donna Ringrose while Danis moved to a line with Devon Rich and Mary Jane O’Shea.
“It’s definitely nice to have a change,” said Rich. “Lines only last so long before there needs to be a switch.”
“We need more production from our top players,” Lawton said about the shake up. “[The line of Emilie Luck and rookies Catherine Rancourt and Maggie Mac Neil] has been our best line the past few games because of their positioning and because they are very disciplined,” he said.
“We’re in a bit of a funk. We’re not playing with confidence and the goals were a result of communication breakdowns and sloppy play,” Lawton said. “It’s important that we just play through it and not get too down on ourselves,” he said.
Conference play continues next week for the Stingers. They travel to Carleton for a Saturday night game and return to the Ed Meagher arena for another rematch with McGill on Sunday afternoon.