The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team played their best even-strength game of the season on Sunday against the No. 2 ranked McGill Martlets. Unfortunately, the Lady Bees allowed four power play goals in a 4-0 loss at the Ed Meagher arena.
“It wasn’t a 4-0 game,” said Stingers head coach Les Lawton, whose Stingers managed to keep up with the high-powered Martlets at even strength. “The score didn’t match the game, but it’s still frustrating,” Lawton said.
Concordia took eleven penalties in the game while McGill took nine of their own. The difference in the game was the four power plays the Martlets converted, while the Stingers failed on their own chances.
“We tried a new strategy on the power play after watching film,” said Stingers forward Angela Di Stasi. “That may have held us back [Sunday].”
“We need to get our power play on track,” Lawton said.
While Concordia’s 4-0 loss on Sunday matched the score from last week’s match against McGill, it was a very different game. Concordia not only held the Martlets to 27 shots, but managed 21 shots of their own after failing to reach double digits in their first meeting of the regular season.
McGill opened the scoring on their first power play opportunity of the game, 7:44 into the opening period on a point shot from defenceman Gillian Merrifield.
The Martlets opened up a 2-0 lead in the second period fifteen minutes into the frame on an unassisted goal from Catherine Ward.
Only 30 seconds after Ward’s goal the Stingers had a power play opportunity of their own to close the gap, but failed to capitalize on one of their best scoring chances of the game.
McGill scored their final two goals midway through the third period by converting both parts of a 5-on-3 advantage. Vanessa Davidson and Kate Elzinga scored 1:24 apart.
Lawton was disappointed in the way his team came out after the second period.
“I feel we lacked that killer instinct down 2-0,” Lawton said. “A goal in the third period can shift some momentum.”
Perhaps any goal against the Martlets could shift momentum. Through seven games this season, the Martlets, led by Team Canada netminder Charline Labonte, have not allowed a goal. While that may add pressure on the opposing goaltender, Stingers goalie Meggy Hatin-Leveillee disagreed.
“You can’t think about it,” she said. “Hockey is a mental game and once you start thinking about things like that, you’re screwed,” Hatin-Leveillee said.
With the loss the Stingers sit in last place of the Quebec Student Sport Federation (QSSF) conference behind McGill, Carleton and Ottawa.
It can be argued that, save for a 4-1 win against the Ottawa Gee Gees (Concordia’s only win in conference play), their best performances have come against McGill. It can be argued further that Concordia’s performance against McGill on Sunday could have beaten any other team in the QSSF – one of the tightest conferences in the country.
“This is how we have to play,” said Hatin-Leveillee. “McGill are our cross-town rivals and a lot of the girls know each other, but we have to try to bring this energy to our other games,” she said.
“The rivalry is so intense,” Di Stasi said. “We had a new warm up for this game that we can bring to our other games and know we can start off well and build that into a full 60 minutes.”
With Concordia only one-third of the way through an 18-game season that sees them play each team six times, there is still plenty of opportunity for the Stingers to move up the standings and avoid a second straight last-place finish.
“We’re going to come up,” Di Stasi said. “This year, we have the team to do it. We’re motivated and the first step is Carleton.”
The Stingers face the Ravens in their next game Sunday Nov. 11 at the Ed Meagher arena at 3 p.m.