The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team went into this weekend having to face two of the top five teams in the country. I don’t care what the U Sports rankings say, Concordia, UDEM and McGill are all giants in Canadian university sports.
“It’s a long season and we’re in a tremendous league,” said head coach Julie Chu. “We know that we’re going to be in tight, hard-fought games and we gotta make sure that we continue doing the little things right and staying positive is the number one thing. We have an opportunity tomorrow to go and have a great game too.”
The Stingers first game came against McGill. The Martlets came out flying and worked well to pressure the Stingers into making costly mistakes. After two periods of play, the Martlets were up 3-1. The Stingers then managed to come back to tie the game thanks to the efforts of captain Claudia Dubois, Audrey Belzile and Rosalie Bégin-Cyr who combined to force Concordia’s next two goals. Despite the comeback, the Stingers couldn’t get any momentum through the first overtime, and in the second overtime period, the Martlets capitalized and took the dub. This was the first time all season that the Stingers dropped back-to-back games.
The next day against the UDEM Carabins, the Stingers made sure to not make that mistake again. In what would be a tight, hard-fought and physical battle against Montreal, Concordia managed to outlast their opponent to take the shootout win. Back-up goalie Madison Oakes got the start against the Carabins to play in her third ever U Sports match, and she did not disappoint. Oakes was calm in the crease, only allowing one goal, including blanking all three Carabins shootout attempts.
“It’s kind of like your first shift back after not playing for a while,” said Chu. “But I think she settled in really well as the game went on. She’s a gamer. I think anytime our goaltenders are able to make big saves, that gives us a boost of energy.”
Bégin-Cyr continued her torrid scoring pace with a three-goal weekend, moving into a tie for sixth place in U Sports scoring.
– Matthew Coyte, Managing Editor
The Stingers men’s hockey team put on a show for their fans on Saturday night. Going into their game with Nipissing, Stingers were on a four-game losing streak with their most recent loss coming on Jan. 15 against UQTR, losing by a score of 3-1. The Stingers had their chances in that game but again, it was their lack of ability to put the puck in the back of the net that got the best of them. Special teams were also an issue against the Patriotes as they were 0/5 with the man advantage.
Then came Saturday.
Only two points separated the Stingers and the Nipissing Lakers heading into the game. Having lost four in a row and facing a team trailing them in the standings, this game was critical for the Stingers. Head coach Marc-André Élement said the message going into the game was “leaders lead the way,” and boy, did they ever.
Fourth year player and team captain Philippe Sanche netted a hat-trick while assistant captain Carl Neill added three assists to his point total on the season. The team has shown flashes of brilliance in the past this season but haven’t been able to string together consecutive wins since Nov. 1. Things only get harder for the Stingers as they only have one more home game left on their schedule between now and the end of the regular season.
On top of all that, the special teams units really stepped up in a big way. The Stingers went 2/8 on the powerplay—which included goals from Jeff de Wit and Alexander Katerinakis. Meanwhile their penalty killing unit did a great job for the most part of neutralizing the Lakers’ powerplay, only holding them to a singular goal on eight attempts. On top of that, one of Philippe Sanche’s goals was a short handed marker.
A game like the one against Nipissing can turn into a critical one for the Stingers down the final stretch of the season. Beating a team that is jockeying for playoff position with the Stingers is no small feat. It can boost the confidence of the team which at this point is much needed. It is one thing to say that they can compete with any team in the country, as many of the players have said before. It’s another thing to do it.
That theory will be put to the test this weekend when the team heads to Ottawa to face off against the Ravens and the Gee Gees.
– Matthew Ohayon, Sports Editor
Photos by Britanny Clarke and Cecilia Piga