Three veterans honoured in final regular season game
This was the last game of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) 2018-2019 season before the playoffs. This game meant a lot for the Stingers, who needed a win to secure home-ice advantage in their playoff semi-final matchup against the McGill Martlets.
The Stingers successfully secured a home-ice advantage with what was their seventh-consecutive win. Head coach Julie Chu said everyone is playing well right now, which explains the team’s current success.
“We’re not having lags,” Chu said. “We’re able to roll four lines right now, our three [defensive pairings] are doing a great job, and our goaltender is being really solid.”
All four lines contributed offensively to help the Stingers beat the Gee-Gees, including goals from five different players. Chu said it’s important to not just rely on one line scoring.
“Everyone knows they’re a valuable part of this team,” Chu said. “At different points, we’ll ask different people to be able to score, or to produce in different ways. Whatever it might be, our players buy into that. I think when you have people buying in all year long it allows us to score goals, but also to do smaller things that don’t end up the scoresheet, but are equally as important for us.”
Forward Audrey Belzile, who scored the Stingers’s third goal, said that even ahead 6-0 after two periods, players kept giving their best, knowing they had to enter the playoffs with good habits.
“We told ourselves we were preparing for Thursday,” Belzile said. “We [wanted to do those] little things and give our all until the end because we’re not a team that gives up, and it would give momentum to the opponent.”
In the victory, Stingers defenceman Sandrine Lavictoire scored her first career goal in the RSEQ. Her goal was the last of the game and came with six minutes left in the third period.
“I’m happy I did it before the season ended,” said Lavictoire. “I waited until the 20th game to do it, but I’m happy.”
After the game, the team honoured graduating players Devon Thompson, Sophie Gagnon, Melinda Prévost and Katherine Purchase, who registered her third shutout of the season. Chu said these players can serve as an extra motivation for the playoffs.
“Those four graduating players have done a lot for this program,” Chu said. “They monitor themselves in that locker room. We don’t have to spend as much energy on making sure that the team is running strong and that the voice in the locker room is positive. They make sure it is.”
The Stingers have won two of the five games against the Martlets this season, scoring eight goals. Chu said the Stingers will face a really good team, which makes the home-ice advantage huge for that best-of-three semifinal series.
“Getting a chance to be in your own locker room, your own rink, with your fans and an environment that [you] love, it’s always a bonus,” Chu said. “However, we also know that at this point it’s going to be a war out there.”
The Stingers open their series against the Martlets Thursday night at the Ed Meagher Arena.
Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.