Stingers reclaim Humes’ gold

In one of the most dramatic finishes in tournament history, the Concordia Stingers beat the clock and the other team in order to pull off a memorable victory over the Cornell Big Red at the 34th Theresa Humes women’s hockey tournament at Concordia on Sunday.
Powerful Stinger forward Dominique Rancour broke the tie when she found the back of the net with only two seconds left in the third period to give the Stingers a 4-3 win.
Similarly to their two prior games of the tournament, Concordia got off to a shaky start and were met by a tough Cornell defence.
Stinger Lisa-Marie Breton, who is usually capable of skating right up to the opposing team’s goaltender, was stopped dead in her tracks many times due to aggressive Big Red defenders.
“[Cornell] was a very strong team,” Breton said. “Their defence took the puck away from us a few times. If we would have started off with a bang, we could have been the stronger team.”
Both teams appeared to be of equal calibre, although the Big Red defence was more present than the home team’s.
The teams displayed an
intensely physical brand of hockey throughout the first period but were unable to score.
Despite seeing a lot of up-and-down play, the first intermission sent the teams into the dressing rooms deadlocked at 0-0.
“The team was sloppy in the first period,” Stinger Head Coach Les Lawton said. “We didn’t play our ‘A’ -game, but we were able to shake it off and push harder in the start of the second period.”
Concordia captain Breton, who was named game MVP, took matters into her own hands and raised the puck in the top left corner of the net only two minutes into the second.
Concordia’s faltering defence had trouble containing Cornell’s mighty offensive lines, leaving Stinger goalie Jessica Anderson with a lot of work.
With 11 minutes remaining in the second frame, Cornell forward Allison Simpson easily eluded the quasi-invisible Concordia defence and shot the puck between Anderson’s pads to even out the score.
From that point on, the pace of the game intensified.
Cornell missed a great chance to score when the Concordia defence finally woke up in the winding minutes of the period.
The Stingers’ offence stormed back to its usual strength and with 19 seconds remaining, Kendra McDonald skated to the Big Red net and put a beautiful wrist shot into the top right corner to give her team a 2-1 advantage.
The second intermission seemed to have fueled both teams’ desire to win.
Cornell became more aggressive and managed to remain in Concordia’s zone for the majority of the third frame.
Anderson remained cool, however, thanks in part to her defence waking up, which pulled through during the period.
A scramble in front of the home team net resulted in a goal for the Big Red, with forward Briana Jentner slipping the puck over Anderson’s flopping body in the sixth minute of the period.
The Stingers replied with a goal of their own two minutes later when right wing Leanne Martell shot the puck in an opening in the left side of the net, leaving Big Red goaltender Liz Connelly looking disoriented.
The Cornell offence pulled out all the stops for the remainder of the game, showing Concordia the extent of their talent.
In a play that demonstrated perfect timing, Big Red forward Erin Ellis received a pass from teammate Pearle Nerenberg and skated around the net in order to sink in wrap-around goal, which brought the score to 3-3.
With only six minutes remaining in regulation time and with both teams playing defensively, the game was set to go into overtime.
But it never got that far.
The game-winning goal was set up by Concordia’s famous Breton-Allard-Rancour line, when they broke away from Cornell’s grasp.
Receiving a pass from teammate Marie-Claude Allard, centre Dominique Rancour saw an opening in the net and with two seconds remaining.
She shot the puck in, preventing an extra period and gave her team the Theresa Humes gold.
“I had the puck, I had self-confidence but I was nervous just the same,” Rancour stated. “I knew there was only a few seconds remaining and I saw the opening in the net. I knew what I had to do and I just shot the puck without any hesitation.”
Cornell’s Brooke Bestwick, who was named the tournament’s best defensive player, explained her team’s dismay about losing against Concordia.
“It was tough loss. Our hearts were in it and I believe we had the momentum throughout the game. Concordia never quit.”
In contrast, the tournament’s top offensive player, the Stingers’ Marie-Claude Allard, was jubilant.
“Winning the tournament is a big high for us, we had a good feeling about it and I’m sure this will set the pace for the rest of the season.”
The Stingers next face the Martlets on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. at Concordia’s Ed Meagher Arena.

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