Heartbreaking loss for Lady Bees

A late third-period rally by the Concordia Stingers’ women’s hockey team was too little, too late in the championship game of the 35th Annual Theresa Humes Tournament last Sunday.

The U18 Quebec All-Star team proved that youth was better than experience as they crushed the Stingers’ hopes for back-to-back wins by a 5-4 score.

As soon as the puck dropped, it became obvious that both teams were evenly matched.

The Quebec forwards intensely pressured Concordia’s defence, but goaltender Jessica Anderson managed to shoo the shots away.

Unfortunately for the Stingers, All-Star netminder Jenny Lavigne was a brick wall in front of the crease.

The first period was set to be a scoreless one until its final minute. On a two-on-one situation, forward Ariane Chretien-Castonguay passed the puck to teammate Valerie Chouinard, who tucked it in deep into the net past a bewildered Anderson.

Stinger captain Marie-Claude Allard refused to end the period with a deficit however, and managed a breakaway goal with only six seconds remaining, ending the period at one-all.

As the second frame started, the Maroon and Gold’s forwards turned up the heat on Lavigne.

They succeeded in their efforts exactly six minutes into the period when Anouk Grignon-L’Anglais sank in the puck over Lavigne’s sprawled body.

The tiebreaker became the game’s turning point, as both teams increased their speed and aggressiveness.

The Stingers were slightly too aggressive however, which earned them three penalties in five minutes. Although the Stingers have above-par penalty killing units, they were unable to contain the Blue and White’s two consecutive power play goals.

That oversight was a wake-up call for Concordia, whose defence began to effectively clear the puck for Anderson.

For the second time in the game, the Maroon and Gold refused to go into the locker room with a disadvantage, and centre Catherine de Abreau shot the puck past Lavigne on the rebound, evening things out 3-to-3 at the second intermission.

The third period clearly belonged to the All-Star team, who dominated every aspect of the game.

“It showed that they were younger than us, because they were faster than us,” Allard mentioned. “They took advantage of their speed.”

Chouinard scored what seemed to be a fluke goal, when she slowly shot the puck directly between Anderson pads for a 4-3 lead early in the period.

The Quebec squad’s efforts at pressuring the Concordia defence succeeded, as they were able to remain in the home team’s zone for long periods of time.

A 5-on-4 situation following a roughing call against Concordia’s Amber Lee was all that the Quebec girls needed to put a fifth goal up on the scoreboard.

“For two-and-a-half minutes in the third, we lost our composure quite a bit,” defender Lauren Houghton explained. “Aside from that, we played pretty good defensively.”

Soon after the Quebec goal, the Maroon and Gold found themselves in a power play situation. Despite remaining in their opponent’s zone for most of the two minutes, the Stingers were unable to capitalize.

The strategy magic of Coach Les Lawton worked following a late time-out as Grignon-L’Anglais scored a beautiful goal with 24 seconds left in the game, closing the gap to 5-4.

The Stingers were unable to pull a rabbit out of their hat in the remaining seconds, gracefully accepting the second place spot of the prestigious tournament.

Quebec Head Coach Jacques Blouin believed that his team had the talent to beat Concordia in spite of their youth.

“We can see that Concordia’s game is more mature than ours. They have a system in place and practice a lot together,” Blouin explained. “In our case, our talent really needs to beat the system, which it did.”

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