Stingers settle for fifth at nationals

Consolation final vs. St. F-X
REGINA- Just call them Lisa Marie-Breton and the comeback girls. Although the Concordia Stingers lost their two first games of the CIS Women’s University Nationals, they were determined to show the St. Francis-Xavier X-Women who was the stronger team.
After allowing the X-Women to take a 4-1 lead at last Sunday’s consolation game, the Stingers managed to tie the score at 4-4 at the end of the second period, and dominated throughout the rest of the game to clinch the 5th place spot with a score of 8-4.
The Maroon and Gold got off to a great start, dominating the X-Women early in the first period.
Concordia’s Dominique Rancour opened up the scoring at 3:41, sinking in the puck over goaltender Amy Handrahan’s left shoulder. The X-Women’s offence began to push through the blue line, but could not get past a rough Stinger defence.
St. FX pressured the defence for several minutes until it cracked, allowing them to tie the score when X-Woman Tracey Sullivan got the puck past net minder Jessica Anderson after a scramble in front of the net.
The X-Women increased their lead only 11 seconds later at 15:31 on a powerplay when centre Sarah Kelly drilled the puck into the net between Anderson’s pads.
The Stingers scrambled to regain control of the puck but failed when St. FX’s Michelle Fortier successfully dumped the puck into the net three minutes later for a wraparound goal, allowing her team to take a 3-1 lead.
The Stingers tried to capitalize on a powerplay in the last two minutes of the game, but were unable to get the ball rolling, sealing the first frame with a 3-1 hole for the Stingers.
Concordia returned to their bench for the second period yelling and hitting their sticks against the boards, trying to pump themselves up.
Their spirited tactics seemed to work, for their offence skated hard to enter the X-Women’s zone, registering 14 shots on goal. Although the Stingers’ offence pressed hard, the defence relaxed halfway through the period, allowing the X-Women to score their forth and last goal.
Concordia decided to pull Anderson and replaced her with backup goaltender Lori Posluns.
The Stingers started to fight back from their slump by playing more aggressively and by pressuring the other team both offensively and defensively.
The Stingers’ comeback began late in the frame. With two X-Women in the penalty box, Suzanne Kaye found the back of the net with with only 2:17 remaining. “We dug ourselves into a hole a little bit when they [X-Women] scored two fast goals in the first period,” Head Coach Les Lawton said. “The turning point was when we scored in our 5-on-3 situation, and scored six goals after, where we displayed our character and our comfort with powerplay situations.”
Stinger captain Lisa-Marie Breton took teammate Anne-Marie St. Germain’s rebound fifteen seconds later in order to score her team’s third goal.
The X-Women’s defence looked distraught after these two goals, and the Stingers capitalized when centre Dominque Rancour tied the score with 32 seconds remaining in the stanza, sending both teams into the locker room deadlocked at 4-all. “We have two major strengths: pressure and speed,” Rancour explained.
“Though we did finish the first period on a bad note, we came back strong and skated past their defence and tied the game.”
The Stingers were determined to take control of the game when they skated onto the ice for the beginning of the third period, and were successful when forward Leanne Martell took the rebound off the goaltender’s pad to slip the puck past the goal line only one minute into the period.
The X-Women woke up on defence, but had a hard time containing powerful Stinger forwards, leaving it up to Handrahan to protect the net.
The Stingers pressed hard on offence and Suzanne Kaye shot the puck in the top left corner of the net on a powerplay, but the goal was called back because a player was in the crease.
Concordia did not let that call bring them down, and Marie-Claude Allard took matters into her own hands 30 seconds later and shot the puck between Handrahan’s pads at 12:49, allowing Concordia to take a 6-4 lead. “We had so much character, we didn’t let our first-period slump bring us down,” Allard said. “I’ll give the X-Women credit, they played well but couldn’t keep up with us. When we play like we’re on fire, we’re a hockey machine.”
The action did not stop there, and the Stingers’ offence began to get more daring, skating between the St. FX defence and Handrahan.
At 15:45, Concordia’s Kelly Sudia drilled the puck into a tiny opening between Handrahan’s left pad and the left goalpost, increasing their lead by 3 goals.
To add salt to the wound, Lisa-Marie Breton scored the last goal of the game and of her university career when she shot the puck towards Handrahan.
The goaltender, thinking she had made a save, did not realize that the puck had slipped past her pads, allowing the Stingers to end the tournament with a 8-4 win.
“This was already an emotional game for me,” Breton said. “But going into the second period, we told ourselves that we had to do something. We’re already used to battling back to win games against teams like McGill or Ottawa, so we had to do it one last time, and we did, our team spirit helped our performance, so we were able to get ourselves together and win this game.”


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