The Carabins now lead the best of three series 1-0
After an even strength four-on-four overtime period that failed to produce much action, the Stingers were unable to hold off the Université de Montreal Carabins as Carabins forward Ariane Barker scored in the second overtime. This gave the Carabins a 3-2 win and a 1-0 lead in the three game playoff series.
In what was almost a mirror image of the season finale, the Stingers looked as though they could pull off the upset only to watch a rallying Carabins team score late and escape with a victory.
Everything was smooth for the Stingers at the start of the game. In the first period, the Stingers went on the powerplay, where Stingers defenseman Marie-Joelle Allard scored off of a pass from teammate Devon Thompson.
The Stingers continued the strong play throughout the period and the team was able to win loose pucks against the strong Carabins team.
“Anytime you lose in overtime is tough but our girls battled and it was a great game and we’re really proud of their effort and the way they competed today,” said Stingers coach Julie Chu.
The same sentiments were echoed by Stingers goaltender Briar Bache who made save after save to keep her team in the game.
“My team was unreal today,” Bache said. “They battled so hard and sacrificed everything, literally putting their bodies on the line in order to stop the puck getting to the net. They were amazing in front of me.”
The start of the second period went exactly the same way for the Stingers as they replicated their formula from the first period. The Stingers were limiting access to the center of the ice, blocking shots and relying on Bache to make opportune saves.
Feeding off the momentum, Stingers defenseman Veronique Boudreau sparked a two on one on a nifty move along the boards then quickly passed to Stingers forward Suzie Sauriol who made no mistake and put it past Carabins goaltender Marie-Pier Chabot. This gave the Stingers a 2-0 lead to end the second period.
In the third period the momentum began to shift. The Stingers were unable to contain the Carabins offense which led to goals by Carabins forwards Jessica Cormier and Barker. These goals tied the game and sent the match into overtime, where the Stingers eventually lost. For Chu, it was a lack of capitalizing on opportunities that led to the third period collapse.
“We had our powerplays, we didn’t get as much flow off of those like we wanted to and then right off the powerplay they got momentum scoring a goal,” said Chu. “We got to make sure that we manage that energy. Our power play should give us momentum.”
Heading into game two, the Stingers game plan will not be changed.
“We did a great job. I think for our team it’s just continuing to execute and taking advantage of the opportunities we get to score,” said Chu. “Our special teams are going to be huge for us.”
The Stingers will have a chance to tie the best of three series at one game apiece on Saturday, Feb. 27 at home.