It was not a storybook ending to the careers of defencemen Gabrielle Meilleur, and Mary-Jane Roper and forwards Erin Lally and Jaymee Shell. The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team were beaten by the McGill Martlets 10-2 on Sunday, Feb. 23 at Ed Meagher Arena. The loss completed McGill’s sweep of the Stingers in the best-of-three series in the first round of the playoffs.
The Stingers and Martlets began the first period by trading possession, with a few scoring chances developing for either team. The Stingers broke the deadlock at the 14:15 mark of the period, as forward Alyssa Sherrard snuck behind the defencemen and scored on a breakaway.
McGill kept pressing for the remainder of the first period, and eventually tied the game up on the power play with less than a minute to play. Martlets defenceman, Brittany Fouracres, redirected Katia Clément-Heydra’s point shot, which fooled Stingers goaltender, Carolanne Lavoie-Pilon.
The Martlets scored 30 seconds into the second period on a wraparound by Clément-Heydra. Although the Stingers never let up, McGill scored another goal two minutes later, as forward Gabrielle Davidson backhanded a perfect shot over Lavoie-Pilon’s shoulder to make it 3-1. The Martlets scored four more goals before the end of the period.
The Stingers continued to fight into the third period, but the Martlets scored three more goals within 30 seconds of one another, midway through the period. The Stingers scored soon after to make the score 10-2, with Sherrard skating behind the net and passing out front to a wide open Danielle Scarlett.
Head coach Les Lawton felt that the Stingers played very well against the McGill powerhouse, but perfection would have been needed to beat them.
“When you look back, we really lost our opportunity on Friday night [in a 3-1 loss]. […] We are such a young team, we have to learn from our mistakes, and we have to learn to bounce back from our mistakes. That can be hard for a young team.”
Lawton also said that although this is a disappointing end to the year, there are encouraging signs for next season.
“We are really excited about our future, as we’ve got 12 first-year players that really brought some good work ethic and passion to our team. We’re very excited for the years ahead,” he said.
It was an emotional end to the game as the four veterans playing their final game in a Stingers uniform were surrounded and congratulated by their teammates. Five-year veteran Mary-Jane Roper leaves the team with nothing but happy memories of her time as a Stinger.
“Not many girls across Canada make it five years and graduate. A lot of people quit on the way through, and the only thing that helps you get through that is the support system,” she said. “Being a Stinger is about being part of the big family, and Les [Lawton] is great for that. He’s always there if you need something, especially in your first few years.”