Lawton looks to rebound from tough year

Les Lawton’s 24th season was a season unlike any other he had to deal with. Two conference wins, his first season under .500 and his first last place finish as head coach of the Concordia Stingers. Add that to the fact that his daughter, Mallory, was a member of an undefeated Dawson Blues team and it was a tough season both at home and behind the bench.

Les Lawton’s 24th season was a season unlike any other he had to deal with. Two conference wins, his first season under .500 and his first last place finish as head coach of the Concordia Stingers.
Add that to the fact that his daughter, Mallory, was a member of an undefeated Dawson Blues team and it was a tough season both at home and behind the bench.
Lawton acknowledged that last season was hard to take, but he also points out that he has pulled in what he called a good crop of rookies and expectations are higher for the team this season.
The Stingers were an inexperienced team last year, something compounded by the fact that the team did not play any pre-season games. This year, they played in two tournaments, which assistant captain Angela Di Stasi says helped the team off the ice as well as on it.
“It was much better to play in the two pre-season tournaments,” she said, mentioning the tourneys the team took part in at Brock University and the University of Toronto earlier this month.
“We got to know each other better, we had some team bonding and when the team is closer together off the ice, it makes things better on the ice,” she said.
It also allowed certain players to shine. Esther Latoures, a player who played defence last year, returns to the forward position she played two years ago and shone in the two tournaments, according to Lawton.
“[Esther] adds a lot of depth to our forward lines,” Lawton said. “She was probably our best forward over the pre-season tournaments.”
Heading into the season opener at the Ed Meagher arena this Friday night, Latoures was named one of the Stingers assistant captains along with Di Stasi and Tawnya Danis. Blueliner Rose Healy was chosen by her teammates as captain for the upcoming season.
This year expectations are higher for the Stingers, one of the most dominant teams historically at Concordia.
Only three players have graduated from last year’s team, captain Andrea Dolan, Sophie Beaudry and Isabelle Caron. Every one of the rest of the Stingers return for this season.
Despite the strong start (three wins against Brock, Ottawa and Toronto and losses to Guelph and McGill), Di Stasi says that there is a lot of work to do.
“We want to use these tournaments as momentum into the season, to know what we have to work on,” she said. “Every game we want to get better.”
The main problem with the Stingers a year ago was their inability to score goals, going at one point last season five games (all losses) getting outscored 16-3, and getting shutout three times.
This season, the team is hoping that the Latoures switch as well as the maturity of second year players like Donna Ringrose and veteran leadership from Di Stasi, Danis and Mary Jane O’Shea will spark the offence.
“The fourth and fifth year players have to lead,” Di Stasi said. “But, we need everybody to step up to score goals. The fact that we have a great defence means we’ll work together and good things will happen,” she said.
“We have very skilled rookies and they will to bring oomph to the team,” Di Stasi said. “It can’t just be the veterans. We need everybody to win.”
The women’s hockey team kicks off its regular season Friday Night when they take on the Ottawa Gee Gee’s at 7 p.m. at the Ed Meagher arena.

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