I just want to start off by rescinding a take I made on Twitter before Sunday’s game between the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Any matchup in this divison is going to be tough, but you have to think that the Stingers would prefer Ottawa over Montreal or McGill.
— Matthew Coyte (@Matthew_Coyte) February 9, 2020
The last time I saw Ottawa play Concordia was a 6-2 Stingers win in early January. On Sunday, I went on Twitter and commented on how Ottawa (currently the #3 seed in the RSEQ) would be a better match-up for the Stingers than Montreal or McGill.
I’d like to take that back now.
The Stingers took six penalties and just seemed to be a step behind all game against the Gee-Gees. To Ottawa’s much deserved credit, they did everything that the Stingers usually do so well. They got shots off in dangerous areas, disrupted the Stingers zone entries, and drew penalties when it mattered.
The Gee-Gees (21 points) are now riding a five-game win streak and moved past Montreal (20 points) in the standings. They look like a team with a purpose. They move the puck extremely well, play with speed and work their special teams with efficiency. This is a dangerous team. With two games left in their season, they could technically even pass McGill (24 points) for second place.
Ottawa clearly had fresher legs after their Friday game against the Carabins was cancelled due to weather. Stingers head coach Julie Chu wasn’t making any excuses though.
“I don’t know if it was fatigue,” said Chu after the game. “I didn’t like the jump at the beginning of the second period. We just took penalties…We took six penalties, and they were all deserved. For a team that’s really good like Ottawa, they got good goaltending, they work hard, they can put pucks away.”
Stingers captain Claudia Dubois picked up her third goal of the weekend on a power play goal early in the first period. She’s up to 12 on the year now. After that, Ottawa controlled most of the pace.
“We had our power play opportunities in the first, we scored one which was good,” said Chu. “The key is in the second we had two breakaways, a pretty good rush and another backdoor play. I’d say four really good scoring chances. We have to put one or two of those away.”
Alice Philbert made the saves she could, but Ottawa hammered away around the net. Despite being outshot by the Stingers 30-22, the Gee-Gees looked like the more dangerous team. Sophie Gareau, Christine Deaudelin, and Melina Roy were Ottawa’s goal scorers.
The Stingers only have one game left in the regular season, a Valentine’s Day match against the last-placed Carleton Ravens. Even with playoffs looming, Chu isn’t looking past the regular season quite yet.
“We have our eyes set to do everything possible to make sure our team is feeling good and playing great hockey,” said Chu. “We have a big game against Carleton, and we’ll shift our focus after that […] That’s been one of our keys this year is that we haven’t been looking way down the road. We haven’t been talking about RSEQ championships, or nationals, or playoffs. We’ve been taking it one game at a time, and today was a big part of that.”
- The RSEQ is in a blender. If I’m Julie Chu and the Stingers, there’s no clear advantage to any of the potential matchups. Ottawa is getting hot at the right time. Montreal is a tough, experienced squad with a proven track record, McGill is relentless on the forecheck. Every series is going to be a marathon, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Feature photo by Britanny Clarke