Down 3-1 going into the third period, the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team managed a strong comeback attempt but ultimately fell to the McGill Martlets 4-3 in double overtime.
It’s the first time all season that the Stingers have dropped back-to-back games.
“We gained a really important point. That’s a good point on the road, especially being down by two,” said head coach Julie Chu post-game.
The first period was a mixed bag for the Stingers, who didn’t register a shot on net for the first eight minutes. Dubois and Belzile were responsible for generating most of the team’s chances once the Stingers got settled and started shooting. Belzile just looked like a human wrecking ball, careening around the ice, avoiding Martlet players and in some cases, definitely not avoiding them. Dubois continues to show why she wears the ‘C’, controlling play in the offensive zone and completing most of her zone entries. It’s in times like this that I wish we had advanced stats for U Sports—because even with 16 and 14 points respectively—the box score doesn’t do Dubois or Belzile justice in terms of their impact on the ice. McGill dominated much of the first period, forcing the puck deep and trying to force the puck out in front of goalie Alice Philbert. Philbert would finish the game with 23 saves on 27 shots.
Dubois and Belzile both shined, but this game belonged to Rosalie Bégin-Cyr. The RSEQ leading scorer added two goals to her total in this game and she’s now up to 11 goals and 10 assists in 13 games this season. In this game, Bégin-Cyr’s vision to put herself in the right spots was perfectly demonstrated by her two goals. Her first was a chase-down on a puck before firing it through the pads of Martlet goalie Tricia Deguire. The second was a shot from the slot where Bégin-Cyr had movement coming across the ice and fired a cross-body shot that went off the post and in. Deguire made 36 saves on 39 shots.
“She’s only a second-year player and she’s a huge impact player for us,” said Chu about Bégin-Cyr. “I just think she’s going to continue to get better and better. The big thing about Rosalie is that she’s such a smart player. She’s skilled and talented and has a lot of great tools, but she probably has one of the best visions in the game. I think her instincts put her in good spots, and also give her linemates great opportunities as well.”
The biggest issue for the Stingers all year has been their power play. The team was 5-for-51 going into this game which adds up to a difficult 9.8% power play, worst in the division.
“It’s just repetition,” said Chu. “It’s taking a look at the game video and finding ways to make better reads. We have talented players, players that can score, pass, do all those things, but a successful power play has the ability to move the puck but ultimately read what’s the opening. I think that’s what we’ve had some trouble on.”
Now let’s combine a couple of things here. Let’s combine the Stingers’ seemingly cursed power play with the stop-at-nothing attitude that Belzile brings to her game. What comes out of the oven is a power play goal that saved the Stingers a crucial point in this game. Drawing a four-minute power play, the Stingers started out the extra player advantage similar to how they’ve done all season; they struggled. They struggled getting the puck out of their own end and they struggled moving the puck into dangerous areas. The Stingers called their time out, and pulled Philbert with over three minutes to play. With 36 seconds left on the power play, Dubois ripped a shot from the high circle, but the puck bounced off Deguire directly to Belzile who was barreling down the boards and fired a one-timer to tie it up.
“When our power play is not successful, that’s often times what’s happening, we’re not making the correct reads, maybe we’re forcing a little too much,” said Chu. “So it was good to see our girls really fight in the third, being down two goals, coming back getting one, and then plugging away and getting an opportunity on the power play at the end of that game to be successful as well.”
That was as much momentum as the Stingers would gather though. Overtime was dominated by the Martlets, first in the 4-on-4 period, and again in the 3-on-3 period. Kellyanne Lecours from McGill was the one to finally bury the puck past Philbert for the Martlets win.
“The big thing is to not hang our heads,” said Chu. “It’s a long season and we’re in a tremendous league. We know that we’re going to be in tight, hard-fought games and we gotta make sure that we continue doing the little things right and staying positive is the number one thing. We have an opportunity tomorrow to go and have a great game too.”
- Don’t be fooled by McGill’s lower ranking on the top 10 list. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them jump a couple of spots. Matter of fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Concordia loses it’s #1 ranking if they can’t definitively beat UDEM on Sunday.