Inexperience trouble for Stingers

REGINA – Despite a great record in 2001-2002, including a 12-game winning streak, the Concordia Stingers didn’t have what it takes and lost their two first games in the CIS Women’s Championships in Regina two weeks ago.
After losing their crucial round-robin game 5-2 to the number-one ranked Alberta Pandas, the Maroon and Gold could not pull it together and lost against the Toronto Varsity Blues the following day by a score of 2-1.
Although the Stingers do have National Championship experience as a team, each individual player might not. “We do have a good, strong, solid team,” said Stingers Head Coach Les Lawton. “But experience is a key factor to a team’s success, no matter how good that team plays.”
The 2001-2002 roster of the Concordia Stingers’ women’s hockey team displays a variety of players, some rookies, and some veterans.
But of these veterans, very few have been with the Stingers for over two years. In fact, only captain Lisa-Marie Breton will be graduating this season, and the roster also includes only three 4th-year players. Out of a teamlist of 23 , a total of only four players have been playing with the Stingers for over three years.
One would think that this still offers a team a good experience base, but the other side of the coin shows that the Stingers had nine rookies this season.
“It is true that we have many young players,” 4th-year left wing Marie-Claude Allard said. “Maybe they do not have Nationals’ experience, but we do have a good base of veterans who step up to guide the younger players.”
Although rookies such as centre Dominique Rancour, who has 20 goals and 23 assists this season, and goaltender Jessica Anderson, who has a 91.4 per cent saving percentage, have excelled this season, it cannot be denied that the Stingers’ youth had an effect on their performance against experienced teams like the Pandas and the Blues.
The Concordia Stingers won the QSSF Championship, fending off a strong and experienced McGill Martlet team, and were ranked third in the country coming to Regina for the Nationals with a QSSF record of 12-3-1.
The Toronto Varsity Blues, with an OUA record of 17-2-1, are head-to-head with the Stingers, with six 4th and 5th year veterans and eight rookies. The teams’ similarities could explain why yesterday’s game was a close one.
“To have more seniority is definitely an advantage,” Toronto Assistant Coach Dan Church said. “The Stingers did have an older team when they won their gold medals [1998 and 1999], so you can see that their lack of experience has caught up to them.”
University of Alberta Pandas’ roster includes nine 4th and 5th year veterans and only three rookies, and their experience shined through during their season with a 16-0 record, and in last Thursday’s game against the Stingers.
Concordia came into the second period leading 2-0, but the Pandas turned the tables in order to win 5-2. The Stingers’ style of play was no different than usual, but it was obvious which team dominated the game.
“This was my first year at Nationals, so I guess I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Rancour. “I don’t doubt that we are a great team, we could beat a team like the Pandas any other day, but their experience was apparent on the ice, for they are used to the kind of pressure a national tournament can have on a team.”


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