The no. 6 ranked Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team showed signs of brilliance Friday night in a 3-1 loss to the no. 7 ranked McGill Martlets, but a bad second period was one of their downfalls and a reason they lost their season opener.
Concordia’s young defense seemed overmatched at times against the bigger and more experienced Martlets. The young defense was playing a player short as well ,because rookie Lindsay McCusky was injured. She should be back this week.
The Stingers fell behind when Shauna Denis broke in alone. Denis was stopped by Concordia goalie Cecilia Anderson, but Kristin Leuszler came bearing down the ice and put home the rebound to make the game 1-0. However, it seemed to most in attendance, as well as the Stinger’s players and coaches, that a whistle blew right before Leuszler put the puck in the net, but apparently the referee nor the linesmen heard – or at least didn’t want to hear- the whistle.
“What I think happened was the referee blew the play dead before the linesman called the goal,” said Stingers head coach Les Lawton. “I definitely heard a whistle, and I think we were flustered after that and we never really recovered.”
The Stingers were already down 3-0 when they got their first goal. Rose Healy made a stretch pass to rookie Mary-Jane O’Shea, who then passed the puck to Dominique Rancour, who made McGill goaltender, Catherine Herron, look silly before putting the puck in the net.
O’Shea, playing her first game as a Stinger, arguably had Concordia’s best scoring chance prior to the goal, when she created a turnover and drove to the net, but her shot was saved by Herron.
Anderson, for her part, was huge for the Stingers making 30 saves in a losing cause, and most of those saves came on open shots and breakaways. Anderson’s biggest save of the night was when she stopped Kalley Robertson on a breakaway. The rebound was where the big save was made. Anderson slid across her crease, stuck out her blocker and made a save that caused the entire crowd to ooh and ahh.
McGill’s other goals were scored by Denis and Mandy Zambor. Denis’ goal happened when she found herself behind everyone, while the Stingers were making a line change. Christine Hartnoll found Denis open, and she broke in all alone and scored.
“I think they were more prepared than we were, and I think that is because they played more preseason games than we did,” Lawton said.
The Stingers might take some more time to get going. Lawton has four brand new lines compared to last season, including breaking up two lines he had coming back from last year; Rancour flanked by Janie Brassard and new captain Jodi Gosse and last year’s energy line of Tawnya Danis, Angela Di Stasi and Isabelle Caron. The Stingers also lost QSSF rookie of the year defender, Sandy Roy, who transferred after one year with the team.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time,” said Lawton. “We have to go to the science building, and maybe bring the team to one of the chemistry labs up there, and see what we could do to get some things rolling.”
“All you want to do is get better everyday and get better as the season goes on,” he continued.
Di Stasi, a third-year forward, agrees. “It’s the first game in a long season,” she said.
The Stingers also played an exhibition game the next day against the Red Deer College Queens at Ed Meagher Arena. The team jumped out to an early lead when Di Stasi led Brassard on a long pass to score on the RDC goalie, but allowed two third period goals, including one in the final minute to fall 2-1. The Stingers were without defender Victoria Johnstone and McCusky in the loss, and played the entire game with four defensemen. Meggy Hatin-Leveillee started the game and was replaced by Catherine Boulay midway through the game.
The Stingers next game is Oct. 15 against Queen’s at the Ed Meagher Arena. Game time is 2:30.