Stingers ready for action at CIAU nationals

CALGARY- The competition will be fierce at the women’s hockey national championships, but the Stingers are confidant they can get the job done. From February 22-25, the Stingers will be competing in the Canadian Inter-university Athletic Union’s women’s hockey nationals at the University of Calgary.
The Stingers will be making their fourth appearance at the nationals, making them the only team to compete is every single women’s hockey championship since its inauguration in 1998. The Stingers won the national title in 1998 and 1999. Last season, they won the bronze medal.
This year, Concordia is looking to once again become national champions, but they know it will not be an easy task.
“I think Toronto is the team to beat here,” said Stinger head coach Les Lawton. “But I think we have a good chance to surprise them.”
Lawton feels that his team has improved a lot since Christmas time and thinks that his team can get the job done. One of the main reasons for the mid-season turnaround was the additions of left wing Caroline Ouellette, who also plays on the Canadian national team, as well as the addition of defender Lauren Houghton from John Abbott College.
“I think Caroline [Ouellette] will be the best player here this weekend. I don’t think the other teams realize how productive she can be, especially with the bigger ice surface,” Lawton stated.
The Stingers first game at the nationals will be Friday, February 23 at 4:00pm against either St. Francis Xavier university or the University of Regina.
According to Lawton, who was recently named QSSF coach of the year for the second consecutive year, the Stingers cannot take anyone lightly.
“They are obviously good teams, because that is what it takes to make it here,” Lawton said.
Lawton will be watching the teams play on Thursday, an off day for his team, in preparation for games on Friday and Saturday.
According to the Stingers coach, he has no specific game plan that he intends to use.
“We’re not going to create the wheel here. We’re just going to make sure that we are focused and ready to go when the games start.”
Lawton says he will be depending on solid goaltending from Lisa Herrit, who led all QSSF goaltenders with a 1.98 GAA with one shutout. He will also be counting on the teams captain and QSSF leading scorer Lisa-Marie Breton to lead the offence along with Ouellette.
Breton was nominated as an all-Canadian this season and was also named to the QSSF’s first team all-stars along with teammate Marie-Claude Allard.
After their game on Friday, the Stingers will play again on Saturday at noon. Depending on the results of those games, Concordia will play in one of the three final games on Sunday. The bronze medal game goes at 10:30 am and the gold medal game will be played at 3:00pm.
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