Three goals in 41 seconds backed the Stingers to league-best 10-0-1.
The Stingers women’s hockey head coach Julie Chu expects a lot from her players. It’s why they had to be back at the rink in late December to compete in the Theresa Humes Tournament — a tournament they went 3-0 at.
“Coming out of December, it was about getting a good jump for the second half,” said Chu. “We ask our players to be back on [December] 27, which isn’t always easy. They got a good two weeks off and came back with focus and ready to go.”
Thanks to those expectations, the Stingers remain the top-ranked team in the country, and they didn’t worry about having to play any rust off in the first game of 2020. An explosive one minute stretch in the second period helped the Stingers defeat the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees 6-2 on Jan. 11.
“We were excited to have this first game back,” said captain Claudia Dubois, who finished the game with a goal and an assist. “It’s been a while since we played a regular season game. It was an exciting moment for us and we were all ready for it, so it was a good game.”
The Gee-Gees battled the entire game, but found each mistake they made ending up in the back of the net. Gee-Gees goalie Jennifer Walker made 30 saves on 36 shots. Gee-Gees rookie phenom Alice Fillion was a workhorse for them, forechecking hard at 5-v-5 and on the penalty kill, and just being a general problem for the Stingers. The Gee-Gees’ two goals came with heavy traffic in front of Stingers goalie Alice Philbert. Philbert was busy herself, making 29 saves on 31 shots.
The first period may have been one of the best the Stingers have played in a while, and the team jumped to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Maria Manarolis and Daniela Gendron, their first goals of the season. For Gendron, it was the first U Sports goal of her career.
“I’ve had goals in the pre-season, but this was pretty exciting,” said Gendron. “It was just to keep the momentum going and it was a pretty big goal. I’m surprised it went in honestly, I didn’t think it would. I was also on the [ice] when it went in.”
Despite the lead, the Gee-Gees came roaring back in the second period, and had it not been for Philbert, that 2-0 lead could have quickly turned into a deficit for the Stingers. Instead, the Stingers weathered the storm after allowing a goal. With two minutes left in the second period, they turned the dial up a notch.
Or three notches.
Audrey-Ann Rodrigue buried a cross-ice pass to Marie-Pascale Bernier to widen the Stingers’ lead to two with 1:46 left in the frame. Before the cheering could die down, Dubois and RSEQ leading scorer Rosalie Begin-Cyr capitalized on a Gee-Gee mistake and added another goal 10 seconds later. Just 31 seconds after that, Olivia Atkinson buried yet another goal to turn the score into a 5-1 lead. That’s right, three goals in 41 seconds. Six different Stingers picked up goals in this game.
“We were off a bit to start the second period,” said Dubois. “We got a penalty and they slowed us down a little bit. We were having trouble executing passes and those simple plays, but we have a team that never gives up and gives 100 per cent effort, so we came back with a ton of momentum.It was an exciting moment. We were just going all over [Ottawa] and forced a lot of mistakes from their defence and just got the puck in the net.”
The third period was a more even frame between the Stingers and the Gee-Gees, with both teams adding a goal to their scores, but in the end, the Stingers now improve to 10-0-1 on the season, and remain atop the RSEQ standings.
- Three goals in 41 seconds is absolutely insane and I can’t find any record of another U Sports team doing this.
- If this is your first time reading me in 2020, I keep track of shots at these games, and my results may differ than what is registered by the RSEQ.
Feature photo by Laurence BD