Women’s basketball, hockey teams faced Martlets in postseason action
The Concordia-McGill rivalry is one of the best in university sports, but it takes on another level when the two schools meet in the playoffs. That was exactly the case this season for both the women’s hockey and basketball teams in their respective Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-finals.
The Stingers women’s hockey team hadn’t beaten McGill in five previous playoff series. Their bad results against their cross-town rivals continued this year, losing in two games. McGill is now 12-0 against Concordia in the playoffs since the Stingers won the 2005 final in three games.
The women’s basketball team has had the same misfortune against the Martlets. Before this year’s playoff match-up, they hadn’t beaten McGill in the playoffs since 2002, losing in 2016 and 2017. This year’s team turned history around and beat the Martlets in the RSEQ semi-final, 62-55, at the Concordia Gym on Feb. 27. They also ended McGill’s seven-year run as provincial champions.
“All of us just wanted to dethrone them, as bad as that sounds,” said third-year guard Caroline Task after the game. “It was time for someone else to take the lead, so I think we went into this knowing this is what we wanted to do.”
It was a tightly-contested game, typical of the Concordia-McGill rivalry in any sport, with a loud and energetic crowd. The Stingers had a 10-point lead in the second quarter, and the Martlets responded well, leading by eight points in the fourth. That’s when the Stingers crowd got behind their team as Concordia scored 19 points in the last five minutes.
“Obviously there are a bit of butterflies in your stomach when you’re down with the time going down,” Task said. “Not for a second I didn’t think we wouldn’t pick it up.”
On the men’s side of basketball and hockey, there were no Concordia-McGill playoff meetings this year. McGill’s men’s basketball team lost in their semi-final, which would have set up a final against Concordia. In hockey, the Stingers met the Queen’s Gaels in the first round of the playoffs, but should have played McGill.
According to U Sports hockey insider Victor Findlay, the Gaels dressed an ineligible player in their final game of the season. The Ontario University Athletics Association only sanctioned them after their series against Concordia started, deducting them a point. Originally, the Gaels finished third, and McGill in fourth, but because of the loss of points, McGill jumped into the third seed. They would have played the sixth-placed Stingers if the issue had been dealt with earlier.
This could have set up a fantastic series between the schools. “It’s fun to play,” said rookie defenceman Bradley Lalonde after the Corey Cup on Feb. 2. “[The Ed Meagher arena] is kind of smaller, so when you get a lot of people, there’s a lot of noise.”
Stingers captain Philippe Hudon has seen it all from the rivalry during his five years at Concordia. “It’s an old rivalry, and these kind of games speak for themselves,” he said after the Corey Cup. “There should be more exposure to this kind of game, it’s fun hockey and the rivalry is tremendous.”
Fans will get another taste of the Concordia-McGill rivalry when the football season kicks off in September.
With files from Simon Prud’homme. Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.