Audrey Belzile scores her eighth goal in five games as Claudia Dubois collects three points
The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team beat the McGill Martlets for a fourth time this season, winning 5-3 on Feb. 10 at the Ed Meagher Arena. The Stingers got their goals from their top players, as forwards Claudia Dubois, Audrey Belzile, Stéphanie Lalancette, Marie-Pascale Bernier and Devon Thompson each scored.
“This was a playoff atmosphere,” said head coach Julie Chu. “A game like this is an emotional one […] That was a really fun game. McGill played really well, and it was great to see our team step up, handle the pressure down the stretch and execute in big-time moments.”
The Stingers have been slow starters in games this season, and this one was no different. The Martlets opened the scoring less than four minutes into the game with a goal by Kellyane Lecours. McGill dominated much of the first period, but Belzile scored her eighth goal in the last five games to give the Stingers a tie after the first period. This was Belzile’s 10th goal and 17th point of the season, slingshotting her to the top of the league’s leaderboard in each category.
“The first period we were a little bit sluggish on our execution,” Chu said. “We were in the right spots to do the right thing, but we didn’t execute it, and it took us a while to get our first shot of the game.”
The head coach said during the first period, she told her team to calm down. “Maybe we had too much energy, so we got a little bit scattered and we were a little jittery with the puck.”
Nerves are always a big part of the Concordia-McGill rivalry. Lalancette said in rivalry games like these, they need to stick to their own gameplan. “We knew it was a big game for us and we needed the win, so we played well for that reason,” Lalancette said.
The Stingers came out firing in the second period, with Bernier scoring just three minutes in to give Concordia a 2-1 lead. After McGill tied the game four minutes later, Bernier’s relentless forechecking in the Martlet’s zone forced a turnover, and Dubois picked up the loose puck and scored on a wraparound. Dubois finished the game with a goal and two assists.
“[Dubois] has been one of our top players all year long,” Chu said. The third-year player is now tied with Belzile and rookie forward Lidia Fillion for most points on the Stingers with 17.
Even though the Stingers outshot the Martlets 13-7 in the second, McGill came out strong to start the third period. Martlets forward Jade Downie-Landry tied the game just over a minute into the final period.
Even though the game was tied for most of the third period, Lalancette said the mood on the bench was positive. “We always kept the energy high, but we were able to control it,” Lalancette said.
With just over five minutes left in the period, Fillion carried the puck toward the Martlets net. She lost the puck in the crease, but Lalancette was right there to poke it into the net, scoring the eventual game-winning goal. Thompson added an empty-net goal late in the game.
The win improves the Stingers record to 13-4-1, good enough for second place in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ). With two games remaining, the Stingers are one point behind the Université de Montréal Carabins. The two teams play each other on Feb. 16 at Montréal. Chu said they need to prepare for the game against the Carabins like they would for any other game.
“We expect our players, every week, to come prepared and ready to work,” Chu said.
Main photo by Alex Hutchins.