On the road with the Stingers

Our reporter hops on the bus with the women’s hockey team to Ottawa

It was 3 p.m on Friday, Oct. 25. The bags were packed, the bus was loaded and we were headed to face the Gee-Gees from the University of Ottawa. Last weekend I had the privilege to join the women’s hockey team on a road trip and got to experience what it was like to ride the bus with Concordia’s athletes.

They spent most of the trip talking, surfing the web with the bus’ built-in wifi and watching movies. After a 20-minute documentary on the Montreal Stars, a local women’s professional team, the team voted on the next movie. They chose to watch 13 Going on 30, an old chick flick starring Jennifer Garner.

By the end of the movie we had arrived in Ottawa, and then team was all business. The Stingers quickly got changed into their warm up clothes and dived into their routine, mostly standard warm up drills of running, jumping and stretching. Following their standard on-ice warm up, last minute tape-jobs and pep talks, the Stingers were ready.

The first period got off to a great start for the Stingers as they pushed the pace of the game. With six minutes left in the period, the Stingers capitalized on a power play when Alyssa Sherrard tucked the puck past the Gee-Gees goalie to give the Stingers the 1-0 lead.

In the second period, after a bunch of penalties by both teams, neither team could take advantage of their power play opportunities. Solid goaltending on both ends of the ice kept the period scoreless until late in the second. Following a cross checking penalty against Ottawa, Concordia padded their lead. Stingers center Cassiel Lalonde-Lajeunesse took a great shot and gave Concordia the 2-0 lead.

The game plan for the third period was simple: preserve the lead. However, it didn’t start out that way. Within 18 seconds, Ottawa had cut Concordia’s lead to 2-1, thanks to a goal by Violaine Houle. After that, the Stingers went back to attacking the Gee-Gees net looking for a third goal to regain their two-goal lead. The Stingers got another power play advantage, but couldn’t beat Ottawa goalie Caitlin Fowler. She stood tall in net and stopped every shot she faced on the power play. The game went back-and-forth as both teams pushed hard to get goals on the board, but this match became the battle of the goaltenders.

Fast-forward to the end of the period with just two minutes left in the game. Stingers player Marie-Joelle Allard got called for a questionable hit to the head. Concordia’s captain Danielle Scarlett contested the call with the referee but the official did not change his mind.

Unfortunately, with just 23 seconds on the clock, the Gee-Gees finally capitalized on a power play. Ottawa forward Carol-Ann Upshall fired a shot that went top-shelf and into the back of the net, tying the game at 2-2.

As the game went into overtime, both teams were looking for that goal that would end the game. Both teams pushed hard and got plenty of shots on net. Near the end of the period Concordia seemed to dominate but, once again, couldn’t beat Fowler.

The game continued into a shootout with best-of-five shooters. No player on either team scored until the third round when Upshall scored again for the Gee-Gees. Sadly, that’s all it took. The shootout finished 1-0 for the Gee-Gees and the final score was 3-2 for Ottawa.

After the game assistant coach Mike Mcgrath was proud of his team for the great effort.

“We played great and we totally deserved better. It was a physical game and I still don’t understand that mystery call, but we kept strong and showed how strong we can be,” said Mcgrath.

Stingers goalie Katherine Purchase was happy with her performance, her first in a Stingers jersey.

“I played pretty good the first two periods and I feel I got cold in the third period. I was a little nervous but it was good to get some experience,” said Purchase.

Despite the loss, the trip back was a positive one. Waiting for us on the bus was some pasta with garlic bread. The mood was upbeat and relaxing. Food makes everything better, even a tough loss.

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