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Stingers win season opener in shootouts

by James Kierans October 15, 2016
Stingers win season opener in shootouts

Concordia came back from two goals down to defeat the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team beat the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees 5-4 in a shootout, surmounting a two-goal deficit midway through the third period to secure a win in their season opener on Oct. 14 at the Ed Meagher arena.

The Stingers had a slow start to the game, with the Gee-Gees pressuring them early and often. Ottawa defenders played aggressively at their own blue line, while their forwards caused turnover after turnover in Concordia’s defensive zone.

“In our first period, we didn’t start well,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu. “We might have had the benefit of some power plays, but overall we were a little bit flat.”

Ottawa took four minor penalties in the first period. Concordia took advantage, with forward Marie-Pascale Bernier scoring from a sharp angle to give her team a 1-0 lead.

The Gee-Gees responded with just four seconds left before first intermission, as forward Melissa Grégoire chipped a rebound past Stingers goaltender Katherine Purchase.

In the second period, the Stingers adjusted to Ottawa’s aggressive defenders, creating several breakouts into the Ottawa zone.

“Ultimately, we just said that we have to work harder,” Chu said. “They were beating us to pucks, we were half into our [strategies], and not fully in.”

Concordia had the puck on their sticks for most of the period, but Ottawa would still strike first. Forward Roxanne Rioux of the Gee-Gees scored on a power play halfway through the second period. The Stingers would tie it again before intermission, as Stinger forward Claudia Dubois fired a screened shot past Gee-Gees goalie Maude Lévesque-Ryan.

The momentum stayed with the home team at the start of the third, but Concordia’s skaters struggled to take advantage of scoring chances, despite commanding the play.

“When you’re playing against a good team, they’re gonna force you, and we’re not always going to be able to get the same opportunities and be able to put pucks on net,” Chu said.

Midway through the third period, Ottawa took the lead, scoring two quick goals only 90 seconds apart. Stingers forward Claudia Fortin then got called for a hooking penalty with eight minutes left in the game, but the Gee-Gees were unable to convert.

As the penalty expired, Concordia forward Stephanie Lalancette rushed up the ice alone, deking through a defender, and sniping the puck past the Ottawa goalie, bringing the score to 4-3.

“We want to possess, possess and eventually we’ll start to wear them down,” Chu said of her team’s persistence.

Minutes later, the Stingers, on their seventh power play of the game, would tie the game with a point shot from defender Caroll-Ann Gagné, forcing overtime.

Despite lots of action at both ends of the rink, the teams went to a shootout after five minutes of four-on-four. Dubois scored the only goal in the shootout for the Stingers, banking one off the crossbar and back in the net off of Lévesque-Ryan. Purchase stopped every shot she faced to secure the win for Concordia.

Chu said that she encourages her team to enjoy the moment but that with their next game on Sunday, their focus will have to shift quickly.

“It’s another game, and if they don’t show up to play, it doesn’t matter if we won tonight,” Chu said.

The Stingers will host the Université de Montréal Carabins in their next game on Oct. 16 at 3 p.m.

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