Don’t write off Stingers just yet

Although it might be getting a bit crowded at the top of the QSSF division, the Concordia women’s hockey team showed that they’re not ready to be rubbed out of the picture just yet.

With a 3-1 victory over the McGill Martlets last Sunday at McConnel Arena, the Lady Stingers not only avenged a loss from the last match between these teams, but also proved that they deserve to be ranked above their cross-town rivals. Heading into the game McGill was seeded #6 in the country, with Concordia one spot behind them.

The result also pushed Concordia ahead of McGill in the Quebec Conference standings as they took over second spot in the four team division. But they still trail the Ottawa Gee-Gee’s by three points. “The win was important not only for playoff contention, but building confidence for our team,” head coach Les Lawton said. “We’ve been having trouble playing 60 minutes but today we played well as a team.”

The Lady Stingers got out to a rip-roaring start as they opened the scoring just two minutes in, when Genevieve Dupuis beat shaky looking netminder Catherine Herron with a weak backhand shot. But McGill quickly snuffed out Concordia’s momentum a couple minutes later, as resident scoring machine Kathryn Safka scored to tie things 1-1.

Although Concordia would continue to take the play to their opponents throughout the first period, outshooting them by a 15-7 margin, the score would remain square until the next frame.

Quality scoring chances were abundant in the second as the first good look came off the stick of Stinger Jodi Gosse, who took a centering feed but fired wide. Other great opportunities presented themselves to Stingers like Dominique Rancour and Isabelle Caron, who were both denied in close.

Had it not been for some sharp goaltending from Cecilia Anderson, McGill’s Valerie Paquette might have single-handedly buried the Stingers hopes for victory. Paquette was twice denied on breakaway chances, missing the net on one and getting stoned by Anderson on the other.

Just when it looked like it would all come down to the final 20 minutes, Rancour put her team back ahead with a tough turn and spin shot that caught the far corner with less than two minutes left on the clock.

The Martlets threw everything they had left at the Stingers in the last period, but Anderson continued her predictably impressive play to turn away any final surges off desperation. In the end, Anderson stopped 27 shots for the crucial two points.

Angela Di Stasi added an insurance marker for Concordia, her first goal of the season, bringing the puck from the side of the net and jamming in a backhander in close. “We’ve been struggling a bit and this was a real booster for us,” said Di Stasi, whose first goal of the year provided a sense of relief. “It feels great to get this one of my back. It especially felt good scoring against McGill.”

Concordia will be looking for an even more important win this Saturday when Ottawa, ranked #5 in the country, visits Loyola at 2 p.m.

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