The Concordia Stingers started off with a bang at the 34th Theresa Humes women’s hockey tournament, winning both of their two first games by the same 7-1 score.
In their quarterfinal game last Friday against France’s Cergy Pontoise Jokers, the Stingers’ offence seemed shaky throughout the first 20 minutes, giving the impression that both teams were of equal calibre.
“It had been five weeks since our last game, so we were slightly rusty,” Stinger Dominique Rancour stated. “The [Jokers] really impressed us, that’s why it took us a while to get started.”
The Jokers displayed their strength in defensive zone coverage, but failed to stop powerful Concordia forward Leanne McPhee from scoring the game’s first goal. McPhee almost scored again but was stopped by the Pontoise goalie, and the teams headed to the locker rooms with a 1-0 advantage for the Stingers.
“We did a lot of smart things in the two first periods,” Stinger Head Coach Les Lawton said. “We had four lines and played all four, so we kept ourselves fresh and waited for the other team to tire out.”
The third period paved the way for Stinger domination with Concordia scoring six goals.
“Once we realized how quick with their sticks the other team was, we decided to go ahead and play a more physical game,” McPhee stated.
Early in the third, Concordia scored a spectacular goal.
Leanne Martell attempted to shoot the puck into the Pontoise net, but it went too high and hit the glass before bouncing into th ecrease between the goalie and Martell, then deflected off the Stingers’ stick and into the net.
Pontoise goalie Nolween Rousselle showed a tendency to drop to the ice too quickly, a weakness that Concordia took advantage of by scoring two quick goals in the top right corner of the net, giving the home team a 5-0 lead with ten minutes remaining.
Concordia forward Dominique Rancour, who had kept a low profile throughout, shone through in the winding minutes of the game by scoring two goals in under a minute.
The Stingers gave up their chances at a shutout when Pontoise forward Sophie Serres scored her team’s single goal with only 1:02 remaining in the game.
The Stingers advanced to the semi-finals on Saturday thanks to their win, where they dominated the Middlebury Panthers thanks to a hat trick by Marie-Claude Allard.
The game was intensely physical from the first drop of the puck. Both teams missed many opportunities to score throughout the first frame. The match took an exciting twist when a loose puck glided into the Concordia crease, leaving goaltender Jessica Anderson looking for it.
Just as the whistle blew, the Panthers’ offence attempted to shoot it into the net, but it was too late. The Stingers then took charge of the puck, and with only 18 seconds remaining in the period, Concordia forward Anouk Grignon L’Anglais scored to give her team a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.
The heat of the game intensified during the second period with both teams getting several penalties. Stinger captain Lisa-Marie Breton shot the puck into the top left corner to bring the score up to 2-0.
The Middlebury defence attempted to tighten up but was unable to slow Concordia’s Marie-Claude Allard, who scored her first goal on a breakaway and imitated her captain for her second goal by dumping the puck in the top corner of the net.
This power play goal finished off the second period with a score of 4-0 in favor of the Stingers.
Middlebury’s efforts to recover from their slump failed when Allard finished off her hat trick four minutes into the final period.
“I have been rather low-key on the ice recently, I guess I decided to be more intense today and score three goals to make up for my three penalties,” Allard said with a grin.
Stinger goaltender Jessica Anderson attempted risky saves against a slightly stronger Middlebury offence, but her best moves failed when Panther forward Angela Kapus outplayed the defense to score her team’s only goal.
“I’m proud of myself and of the team,” Anderson stated. “I had to leave my crease at times, but I remained calm despite the strong offence.”
The Stingers’ Leanne McPhee replied immediately with a goal of her own with four minutes remaining in regulation time. The game was near its end when Emilie Larocque outplayed the Panthers’ defence to put the nail in the Middlebury casket with a score of 7-1.
“The team played very strong for 60 minutes straight, I am very proud of them,” Stinger head coach, Les Lawton said. “If we play like this in the championship game, we have a very strong chance of winning the gold medal.”