Concordia’s women’s hockey team dropped back-to-back games vs. Université de Montréal
Concordia’s hockey season has officially come to a close for the Stingers varsity teams. While McGill trumped the men’s hockey team a couple weeks ago, the women’s squad was eliminated from the post-season after being swept by the Montréal Carabins on Saturday, Feb. 28.
The best-of-three series began on Thursday, Feb. 26 when the team travelled to Université de Montréal. The Carabins had the Stingers’ number all year as they swept the season series 4-0 against Concordia. In game one, the Carabins jumped out to the early 1-0 lead and would not give Concordia’s offence the chance to answer. The game stayed 1-0 throughout most of the contest, until the Carabins extended their lead early in the third period. After securing the 2-0 victory in game one, Montréal forced Concordia into an elimination game on Saturday. Win, or the Stingers’ season was over.
The Carabins crowd and Stinger supporters filled the Ed Meagher Arena on Saturday to watch what was ultimately Concordia’s last game of the season. The visiting crowd was boisterous as they chanted “Aller les bleus!” throughout the game. The electricity of the crowd fueled the play on the ice, as both teams were energetic from the get-go.
Just under four minutes into the first period, the Carabins scored first on a goal that Concordia’s all-star rookie goaltender Katherine Purchase wished she could have had back. A bouncing puck that came off of the stick of Montreal’s Janique Duval squeaked past Purchase to give the Carabins the 1-0 lead.
Momentum was with Montréal early in the game as just two minutes after their opening goal, the Carabins drew back-to-back penalties. With a two-man advantage, the Carabins’ power play went to work.
Montréal forward Marion Allemoz found the back of the net for the Carabins’ second goal to quiet the home supporters. In a total of three minutes, and with the help of some untimely penalties, the Carabins were in complete control of the game.
“We took a dumb penalty in the first period, gave them a five-on-three on a call that I thought was cheesy,” said Stingers head coach Les Lawton after the game. “They took advantage of it and we just couldn’t battle back as hard as we tried, couldn’t get the puck behind the goalie.”
The Carabins were outshooting the Stingers 5-1 midway through the first but the Stingers did not give up that easily. If not for the undisciplined play and momentary lapse by the Stingers in the first period, the final scoreboard could have been different.
The second period belonged to the Stingers as the home team desperately tried to keep their season alive. Concordia applied the pressure right from the puck drop. The Stingers spent most of the opening 10 minutes in the Carabins’ zone, but couldn’t beat their defence. By the latter half of the period, the Stingers now controlled the shots on goal by 14-12.
The turning point in the game came late in the second period when the Stingers were awarded a five-on-three power play. Much like Montréal’s opportunity in the first period, this was Concordia’s chance to get on the scoreboard. During the advantage, the Stingers had multiple chances but nothing seemed to bounce their way. Every cross-ice pass seemed to skip, every mad scramble was cleared and shots that should have gone in seemed to miss by mere inches. It simply wasn’t meant to be for the Stingers on Saturday.
“I thought it was one of our better efforts of the season and I thought it was a game we could have won,” said Lawton.
Heading into the third period Concordia outshot Montréal 24-18 but the score remained 2-0 for the Carabins. Less than two minutes into the final period, Montréal made it 3-0 and all the momentum that the Stingers had gained was quickly erased. With under four minutes left in the game Concordia finally got on the board with a goal to make it 3-1.
Once the final buzzer rang, another season of Stingers varsity hockey was over. However, the progress that the women’s hockey program made should not be overlooked.
“We made some great strides this year. We’ve got a really good base of players that are going to help move this team forward,” said Lawton. “I think we learned how to win a little bit this year, which is something we’ve been struggling with in the last couple of years.” Onto next year Stingers fans, and hopefully, with better and brighter outcomes.
“I think we turned some heads, not only in our league but across the country,” said Lawton.