Concordia’s women’s hockey team sweeps Montreal in RSEQ semifinals

After winning their series against Montreal, Concordia will be facing McGill in the RSEQ finals.

The Concordia Stingers got a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Carabins on Saturday, winning the best-of-three series to complete the sweep after their 3-0 victory on Mar. 3.

After being down 0-1 in the series, Montreal started on a fast pace and they were able to open the scoring early on, with a powerplay opportunity a little less than three minutes into the game.

The rest of the period wasn’t too busy, until the very end when Montreal was handed a couple of penalties which led to Concordia starting the second frame with a 5-on-3. The Stingers would capitalize on the powerplay with a goal by Jessymaude Drapeau to tie the game.

“I think for us, our powerplay at the beginning of the season was doing good things but it wasn’t really clicking,” Stingers head coach Julie Chu said. “So we talked a lot and we worked a lot with our powerplay to just stay patient and to trust that when we need it, it’s going to come up big for us, and it did today and [last game].”

After the power play goal, the momentum shifted towards Concordia and they seized control of the game.

“Starting on the 5-on-3 and the big goal, it put us back on track,” said Audrey Belzile, captain and forward for the Stingers. “After that, we were just rolling and they were the ones who had to keep up with us, so that was a game changer.”

Concordia kept the momentum until the very end of the period, with Belzile scoring what would be the game-winning goal with about three minutes remaining in the period.

“We came back in the room… We were like ‘one period and we got this,’” Belzile said. “[Montreal] had to play with pressure and we just had to play a good game.”

After the game, Chu emphasized the importance of continuing to push the pace and attack while ahead. In the final period, the Stingers didn’t allow many chances for the Carabins to score, by not only playing responsible defence, but by keeping the pressure on their opponents.

“We had said in the room that every little detail matters,” Belzile said. “So every blocked shot, every chip that gets the puck out of the zone, were the plays we had to make. And I think we did that perfectly, and we won the game at the end, so that’s good.”

The Stingers will face off against the McGill Martlets for the RSEQ finals in another best-of-three series next week. Game 1 will take place on Mar. 10 at McGill.


Photograph by Nicolas Raffin


Audrey Belzile’s last dance

The captain of the Stingers female hockey team looks back on her university career and what to expect in her final season

As her custom Concordia maroon and yellow painted skates touch the ice, Stingers captain Audrey Belzile is dialled in. From warmups to the start of the national anthem, no one can deter her from playing her game. A mix of physicality and finesse, aggressive forechecking and backchecking, Belzile is a leader that demonstrates on a nightly basis to the rest of the team how to be an all-around contributor.

Growing up in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Belzile’s affinity for hockey was passed down by her mother. With hockey clearly in the family lineage, Belzile received her first pair of skates from her mom at five years old. Every opportunity she had to hop on the ice blossomed her love for skating. 

“Every time we went outside during the winter, I always wanted to continue skating. I liked it so much she registered me for hockey.”

Belzile eventually grew into an effective player all throughout the amateur level.  Her consistency secured a position playing for the Cégep St-Laurent Patriotes, where she broke out as a player, tallying 59 points in 39 games. Her two seasons playing there garnered the attention of high-level American colleges, providing the next step in Belzile’s career.

Teams from Yale, Clarkson, and Maine were all interested in Belzile, but language was the ultimate deterrent from attaining her goal. Choosing Boston University as her preferred team, the university recommended that Belzile undergo an English exam to be granted a scholarship. The minimum grade to be accepted was 80 per cent — Belzile scored 76 per cent. Boston University recommended that Belzile return to CEGEP to practice her English and retake the test the year after in order to be eligible. 

“If you don’t succeed in class, for them it’s a loss of money,” Belzile said. “Admissions didn’t feel comfortable in giving a full scholarship.”

The increased level of competition in female hockey in Quebec influenced Belzile to return and play at a university level in the province. Many players from Quebec decide to play for domestic universities, upping the level of hockey comparable to the NCAA. 

“The teams are super good now because lots of girls decided to stay in Quebec,” Belzile said. 

Visiting both McGill and Concordia, she ultimately chose the Stingers. “I chose Concordia not only for the coaching staff, but because when I came on the team, the girls made it feel like I was already a part of the team.”

In Belzile’s five seasons, the Stingers have had great success, usually finishing as a top team in the regular season. She can’t credit the coaching staff enough, for not only her growth as a hockey player, but also for the invaluable knowledge of the game that they passed onto her . This season, Belzile and the team are trying to relive what they experienced in 2017–18, winning the RSEQ Championship and bronze in the U SPORTS Championship.

The COVID-19 pandemic not only robbed Belzile of her final year with the Stingers but also her chance at captaincy, and another shot at the championship.

“I was just not ready to close the chapter of my life in hockey when I didn’t know it was the end. I didn’t know that I played my last game, I didn’t know that it was my last year.” 

She missed the daily morning practices with teammates and the whole routine of it all. The sudden unexpectedness of not being able to play made Belzile want to get on the ice that much more.

Luckily for Belzile, one year of eligibility was granted by the RSEQ, allowing fifth-year players the chance of returning for their final season. 

“I was supposed to be done in the COVID year, but because we could come back, I added another minor this year in political science.” 

Many of her other fifth-year teammates decided to also play through their extra year of eligibility. Belzile described her five years with the team as one big family and was not yet prepared to move on. Hesitant at first, they all decided to return for their last season playing altogether.

“When we all said to each other that we all wanted to come back, it just clarified things and made us say okay let’s go for one last ride and try to win it.”

In the past, Belzile claimed that a major obstacle for the team’s success was envisioning the goal instead of concentrating on the present. She highlighted that the key to success this season is taking things one game at a time and avoiding looking too much into the future. Belzile can’t stress enough that this is a very talented team, and they have a great opportunity of going far this year.  

Though Belzile once dreamt of playing hockey professionally, she’d rather concentrate on pursuing a career in management than juggling a schedule of games and practices.

A graduate of international business with a minor in entrepreneurship, Belzile hopes to apply some of what she has learned as a captain in her future job hoping to work with an international company in management. Transitioning from sports to business, she’s adamant on putting the same level of determination that she has had in hockey for so long, in pursuing a successful career beyond it.


Photograph by Kaitlynn Rodney


Stingers upset in home opener versus Ottawa

Concordia women’s hockey team lost in nail-biting fashion at the hands of the Ottawa Gee-Gees

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team lost their home opener 2-1 in double overtime against the Ottawa Gee-Gees Friday evening at the Ed Meagher Arena. Though the Stingers made the Gee-Gees play on their heels, the main takeaway from the game was Concordia’s inability to capitalize on their many advantages. 

“We have to make it difficult on goaltenders and have a better net front presence, and ultimately we’ve got to bear down and score more than one goal,” said Julie Chu, Stingers head coach.

Whether it was an odd-man rush or a power play, the Stingers weren’t capable of capitalizing on chances, especially against Gee-Gees goaltender Aurélie Dubuc who stood on her head stopping 35 out of the 36 shots. Though scoring was a problem, breakouts plagued the Stingers offence in some instances, in-zone turnovers created scoring chances for the Gee-Gees. 

“The first period I don’t think we were reading [the breakout] well, the third period same thing. The passes were there, we just weren’t seeing it quick enough,” Chu said.

Regardless of the breakout, both teams were evenly matched and scored in similar fashion. The Stingers broke the ice early in the second period, scoring off an intercepted pass in the neutral zone. Defencewoman Brigitte Laganière intercepted the puck and passed it to Stingers captain Audrey Belzile, resulting in a two-on-one pass to Stéphanie Lalancette who tucked it in to put the Stingers up one.

Later on, Belzile drew a penalty for the Stingers while on the penalty kill. Now 4 on 4, a similar cough up in the neutral zone resulted in a sudden turnover by the Stingers. The Gee-Gees took full advantage of the error, zooming past the defence and scoring off a beautiful shot that slowly trickled behind Stingers goaltender Alice Philbert, tying the game 1-1.

Throughout the game, both teams were evenly matched creating a combined total of nine penalties shared between both teams. Especially near the end, as emotions ran high, things got chippy near the goalies in between whistles.

In the opening overtime period, the Stingers created many chances, including an empty-net that they couldn’t capitalize on. On the defensive end, Concordia was tightly positioned and blocked necessary shots to keep the Ottawa team from scoring in the first overtime sequence.

The final minute of the second overtime period was where the Stingers made a breakout error in their own zone, resulting in a sudden turnover right in front of Philbert. Gee-Gee’s forward Ariane Aubin exuded patience as she slowly went forehand to backhand, slipping the puck behind the net gave Ottawa their first win of the season.

“This is the first game out of 25, there’s still the whole season and we still got a point today,” Belzile said. “We’ve got to build from the positive things, so we don’t go down as a team.”

Belzile and the rest of the Stingers are still hungry for their first win as they face off against McGill on Sunday.


Photograph by Aashka Patel


A most unusual finish: rounding off a Stingers career during a pandemic

Cancellation of sports seasons means possible university career endings for senior athletes

Sports are on hold once again and Concordia’s student athletes are learning to cope with the disappointment of time lost on the playing field or the arena. Among those are fourth and fifth-year athletes, who are spending their last moments with the Concordia Stingers in limbo.

Audrey Belzile, fifth-year forward with the women’s hockey team, has been spending time at her family’s cottage outside of Montreal to escape the province’s hotspot, and is hoping for a season after Christmas.

“It’s tough because I chose to do a fifth year to focus on school and hockey,” Belzile said. “Now, there’s no hockey or training for a while, so I am just here with school. At least it’s keeping me busy.”

Belzile was hoping to cap off four successful years with the Stingers with a fifth and final season. Before joining the Stingers, the plan had been to go to a Division 1 NCAA school, but when that didn’t work out, she settled on Concordia because of the inclusive team culture.

All the staff and girls were super welcoming,” Belzile said. “That was the biggest difference for me between Concordia [and other schools]. I felt welcome the first day I was in the rink.”

Three Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) all star teams, two U Sports All-Canadian teams, a provincial championship, and a national bronze medal later, she said it has turned out to be a great decision.

The men’s rugby team also has to face the reality of the cancelled sports season. Jackson Marquardt, fifth-year veteran on the team, said he was “a little thrown-off” by the fact that practices were able to resume for the better part of September, as sports were allowed at that time in the province, but then had to be shut down again when red zone restrictions were put in place in October.

Like many students, the Ottawa native took refuge back home to focus on school, and while it’s nice to be busy, he said it’s tough being away from his usual rhythm.

“I miss playing rugby, and every single aspect of competing with the team,” Marquardt said. “It also feels like I’m missing out on a ‘what could have been’ season … especially after missing out on nationals last year.”

Marquardt has accumulated an impressive resume over his time as a Stinger athlete. After just one year of university rugby, he was invited to go on tour with Team Canada U19. He then followed it up with two All-Canadian nominations, as well as three RSEQ championships and two all-star team selections over the course of three seasons with men’s rugby. Marquardt spoke highly of the Concordia environment, including the coaching he received.

It’s some of the best coaching you can get in Canada and it was right at my university,” Marquardt said. “Looking back, I wouldn’t have done what I’ve done in rugby so far if I’d gone anywhere else.”

For student athletes, the time spent playing sports for their university will always be precious. It’s the culmination of years of development and growth as an athlete. As I’m writing this piece, I know my time spent as a Stinger will always be one that I look back on with immense pride and gratitude.

Concordia has a small athletics community compared to some universities, but this is often its greatest strength. Daily interactions with other teams and coaches are almost frequent and almost unavoidable (the hallways of our complex are quite narrow), but it’s how the Stinger culture has been formed over the years.

So for the sake of personal memories and great Concordia sporting moments, I hope these athletes didn’t finish their university careers last season, without even knowing it.


Photos courtesy of Audrey Belzile and Jackson Marquardt


Martlets dominate Stingers 6-2 in game one of semi-final

Concordia discouraged after allowing early first goal

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team fell to the McGill Martlets in game one of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-final. The visiting Martlets beat the Stingers 6-2 at the Ed Meagher arena Thursday night.

“We saw a little bit of our youth as a team out there,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu. “We got a little bit nervous and a little tight in that first period. Bottom line is that McGill just out-executed us today. They jumped on a lot of opportunities today that we gave them.”

Rosalie Bégin-Cyr received her rookie of the year award before the game. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

Prior to the game, five Stingers players were honoured as part of the RSEQ first, second, and rookie team all-stars for the 2018-19 season. Forwards Rosalie Bégin-Cyr and Audrey Belzile, along with defencemen Sandrine Lavictoire, Brigitte Laganière, and Claudia Fortin were those honoured. Bégin-Cyr received top honours as rookie of the year after being the highest-scoring rookie in the conference.

The Martlets got off to a flying start, scoring a mere minute into the game off a lucky bounce from a Christiana Colizza shot. Though momentum was in McGill’s favour, the Stingers caught a break with an unassisted goal by Lidia Fillion five minutes later. The tie game would be short lived, however, as the Martlets added two more goals in the period, including a shorthanded five-on-three goal.

The second period began much like the first, and the Stingers dug themselves into a deeper deficit following two early Martlets goals. By the time the score was 5-1 in favour of the Martlets, goaltender Katherine Purchase was replaced by Alice Philbert.

Each game between the two teams this season was won by the road team. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

Belzile scored shortly thereafter to give the Stingers new life and cut the Martlet’s lead. By the end of the second period, the Martlets outshot the Stingers 32-14.

“After the first goal, we got a little discouraged,” said Belzile following the game. “We were not focused on our details […], so we need to work on that that.”

Although the Stingers came out swinging in the third period, the Martlets were the only ones able to find the back of the net. Lauren Jardin scored a minute into the third to seal the deal for McGill.

The Martlets now head into game two of the best-of-three semi-final with a chance to eliminate the Stingers.

“It’s a three-game series for a reason,” Chu said. “They know there’s a reset and the season is not over. We’re going to assess what went on today and move on from there.”

The Stingers will aim to keep their season alive, and continue defending their RSEQ title on Saturday at 2 p.m. at McGill’s McConnell Arena.

Main photo by Gabe Chevalier.


Stingers clinch second place with 7-0 win

Three veterans honoured in final regular season game

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team concluded their regular season with a 7-0 win against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Sunday afternoon at the Ed Meagher Arena.

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.”

Sophie Gagnon (#11) was one of the graduating players honoured after the game. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

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.


Stingers bounce back from loss with convincing win

Katherine Purchase returns to action and records a shutout

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team blanked the Carleton University Ravens 6-0 Sunday afternoon at the Ed Meagher Arena. Forward Stéphanie Lalancette scored two goals and goaltender Katherine Purchase registered the shutout in her first start of the season to help the Stingers beat the Ravens.

Following Saturday’s lost to the McGill Martlets, Stingers head coach Julie Chu said her team missed killer instinct. She was pleased with how her team responded against the Ravens.

“We liked what we did today,” Chu said. “We had a pretty hard message on them after the game [Saturday]. Obviously they want to win, so when they lose 5-1 they’re really not feeling great about it. Then, we made sure they felt a little bit tougher about it. The best thing about this team is that they respond, and we have great leadership and great veterans that stepped up and realized we just needed a little reset.”

This was goalie Katherine Purchase’s first start since nationals last March. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Stingers took many of their 44 shots from the blue line and used their defencemen to create scoring opportunities. Chu said the team focused on playing great in the offensive zone.

“I think when we start some attacks down low it opens up our opportunities up top,” Chu said. “Our forwards did a really good job driving the net, creating spaces and time down low. It naturally opened up up top. What we were looking for our defencemen was to make sure we had some good puck movement and shots through as much as we could. I thought overall we did a really good job with that.”

The Stingers scored two power play goals in the game. According to Chu, the team’s special units worked well because of their quick puck management.

“It’s when we hold on to the puck a little bit longer [that it doesn’t work],” Chu said. “Maybe sometimes on the power play our intensity goes down. We have to move the puck quickly, tape to tape, and make sure we have a great net front presence.”

Forward Audrey Belzile, who recorded one goal and two assists in the victory, said the Stingers showed a totally different power play look than the one against the Martlets.

“I think we were moving the puck faster than yesterday,” Belzile said. “Yesterday we were stressed to make a mistake, but today we were simply moving the puck and taking shots. It’s especially what we didn’t do yesterday [that we did today], which is having a screen in front of the net to block the goaltender’s view. That’s what helped because she didn’t see pucks arrive.”

Purchase saved all 14 shots she received in her first start of the season with the Stingers. Chu said Purchase responded well to a game she knew would be challenging.

“Katherine [Purchase] did a great job,” Chu said. “In her first game, she had a tough start. Regardless of the score, she had to make some really good saves early on when it was 1-0 or 2-0. She had a two-on-one opportunity where she had to come up with a big save. If she doesn’t make that save, maybe it [would have changed] the flow of the game a little bit.”


Purchase said she prepared for this game knowing the team wanted to avenge their disappointing loss from Saturday. “It was a must win game for us,” Purchase said. “You could see just from the warm up that the team was ready and that gave me confidence.”

The Stingers play their next game on Jan. 18 against the Université de Montréal Carabins. The puck drop is at 7 p.m. at the CEPSUM Arena.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Stingers break goalless drought in 2-1 win over Carabins

Audrey Belzile scores team-leading second goal and adds assist

One week after losing 1-0 to the Université de Montréal Carabins, the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team avenged the loss with a 2-1 win Friday night. Forward Audrey Belzile scored a goal and an assist in the win at the Ed Meagher Arena, and was named the first star of the game.

Audrey Belzile scored a goal and earned an assist in the win. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

“[Belzile] has been great for us all year,” said head coach Julie Chu. “She wants to win, she’s a great competitor, and loves the fact that she can take on the role [of a leader].”

Heading into the game, the Carabins were ranked as the top team in the country by U Sports, while the Stingers were third. Both teams played cautious hockey in the first period, knowing their opponent was able to pounce off any mistake. The Stingers had a relentless forecheck, pinning the Carabins in their zone for most of the period, but couldn’t force their opponents to make any errors.

“I thought our girls did a great job of having a great forecheck to energize our team,” Chu said. “Ultimately our forecheck is our defensive play because we didn’t have the puck […] We did a great job creating opportunities from that.”

Despite the Stingers’s strong play in the first period, the Carabins scored less than 30 seconds into the second period. Stingers defence Brigitte Laganière turned the puck over in front of Stingers’s goalie Alice Philbert, and the Carabins’s Jessica Cormier made her pay with the opening goal.

“You have to put it in the back of your mind,” said captain Devon Thompson. “We played a first good 20 minutes of the game, so the first 20 seconds of a [period] won’t change it.”

Before this game, the Stingers didn’t score a goal in nearly 140 minutes of play, since their opening game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees. They were also facing Carabins goalie Maude Trevisan, who hadn’t allowed a single goal in two games this season. The scoring drought ended after nearly three total hours of play when Belzile put the first goal past Trevisan.

All five regular-season games last season between the two teams were decided by a goal. This game was no different. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

“Honestly it felt good,” Thompson said about ending the goalless streak. “It had been a little while we hadn’t put one in the back of the net.”

Teams traded scoring chances throughout, with Trevisan keeping the Stingers from scoring most of the game. On the other end, Philbert made key saves when we needed her to, including a few diving stops, finishing the game with 28 saves.

“We’ve had to lean on her and she made some big saves in that third period,” Chu said. “There were times we just left people a little more wide open than we would like to.”

Midway through the third period, Belzile took advantage of a Carabins’s mistake in the neutral zone to break in on a two-on-one. She passed the puck over to rookie Maria Manarolis who just got the shot by Trevisan for the game-winning goal, and her first goal with the Stingers.

“What we’re happy about is that everyone contributed,” Chu said. “We build this [winning] culture and believe in everyone on this team, so when our opportunities come, we are ready.”

The Stingers now have a 2-2-0 record and host the Carleton Ravens on Nov. 4 at 3 p.m.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.


Stingers shutout 3-0 in second consecutive game

McGill Martlets win in Concordia home-opener

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team were blanked for the second consecutive game on Sunday, Oct. 28. The McGill Martlets scored three goals in the third period and spoiled the Stingers’s home opener at the Ed Meagher Arena.

Missed opportunities and a slow start in the third period were reasons for the 3-0 loss against the Martlets. The Stingers had many scoring chances, but were unable to capitalize on any of them. The Stingers finished the game with 26 shots on goal, while the Martlets had 28.

“I think we didn’t have that much jump in the beginning [of the third period],” said head coach Julie Chu. “We did have a good penalty killing, which helps, but we need to have that intensity and the urgency to want to win right off the bat. It’s once they scored that we had a really good push.”

The Stingers and Martlets will meet four more times this season. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

Chu added that the team wasn’t consistent enough throughout the game.

“I think we had some flashes. We had a really good shift, and then had a couple of fine ones, but not great necessarily,” Chu said. “So we’ll need to find a way to create momentum and then sustain it and try to continue to build off of each other.”

Forward Audrey Belzile said the Stingers didn’t take advantage of their opportunities.

“We had many two-on-one, but often shot the puck next to the goal, or our sticks were not on the ice for rebounds,” Belzile said. “We didn’t take advantage of our chances, and McGill took advantage of theirs. I think it was equal on that aspect, but we’ll need to be more opportunisticnext time.”

Starting goalie Alice Philbert said they need to do a better job at coming out at the start of the game.

“We can’t wait after the first goal [to start playing],” Philbert said. “We have to capitalize on our chances and shoot more on the net to get good scoring chances.”

For the Martlets, Sidonie Chard and Marika Labrecque scored, while Frederique Gauthier closed the game with an empty-net goal.

The Stingers will play the Université de Montréal Carabins on Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. It will be the second game between both teams this season, after the Carabins won 1-0 on Oct. 26.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.


High-energy Stingers force game three in final

Katherine Purchase returned in nets to make 19 saves in win

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team kept their championship hopes alive with a 3-2 win over the Université de Montréal Carabins on Saturday at the Ed Meagher Arena.

After a slow start that saw the Stingers only get three shots in the first period, the Stingers came out in the next two periods flying, controlling much of the play and fending off a late push from the Carabins.

After losing the first game, it was do or die for the Stingers in the best-of-three series.

“We had our backs against the wall. We didn’t have a choice,” said Stingers forward Audrey Belzile after the game. “We had to put everything on the ice. Every player’s mentality switched, and we wanted to show them that game one was not our best hockey. Today, we played our game instead of adapting to theirs.”

Forward Audrey Belzile assisted on Stéphanie Lalancette’s goal in the first period. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

The Stingers grabbed the lead when Belzile flipped the puck over the stick of a Carabins defender, before firing a shot from one knee on Carabins goalie Marie-Pier Chabot. Stéphanie Lalancette was just in front of Chabot and managed to tip the shot over the goalie’s blocker for the first goal of the game, and her second of the final.

That was about as good as it got for the Stingers in the first, as they were swarmed by the Carabins for the rest of the period.

Out of the gate in the second though, the difference in energy level was night and day. Starting the period on the power play, the Stingers got into a rhythm, controlling much of the play and using their speed to match the physicality of the Carabins. Four minutes into the second period, defender Brigitte Laganière got a pass at the top of the circle and ripped a wrister over Chabot’s glove, giving the Stingers a two-goal lead.

“We don’t have to say a lot to fire up the team, especially against UdeM,” said head coach Julie Chu. “We get a lot of our energy from our forecheck, so we have to be relentless in those areas.”

It took the Carabins four minutes to respond to Laganière’s goal. Laganière fumbled the puck at the Carabins’s blueline leading to a two-on-one opportunity for the visiting team. Carabins forward Annie Germain carried the puck up the ice, and as the Concordia defender laid out to block the pass, she fired a shot just over the right pad of goalie Katherine Purchase to cut the lead in half.

Purchase returned to the crease after Alice Philbert got the start in game one of the series. Purchase stopped 19 of 21 shots.

Chu and Belzile both emphasized how Purchase motivates the team.

“There’s a reason that Kat is one of our captains this year,” Chu said. “That can be kind of tough for a goaltender to have that voice and have that presence, but that’s what Kat brings to that locker room.”

Stingers captain Marie-Joëlle Allard gave her team a 3-1 lead late in the second period with a power-play goal.

The Stingers’s shot chart. O represents the goals. By Matthew Coyte and Nicholas Di Giovanni.

The Stingers’s offensive zone pressure was highlighted by good puck movement and control down low, especially from Belzile who caused havoc for opposing defenders as she played her usual fast, physical, smart game. Belzile leads the team in points this playoffs with five.

Jessica Cormier scored the second goal for the Carabins five minutes into the third period, pulling her team to within one.

The Carabins pulled Chabot with 50 seconds left for the extra attacker, but were unable to tie the game as the Stingers threw their bodies in front of every shot. The late push was unsuccessful for the Carabins, and the Stingers forced the third and final game of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) final.

This was the first game between the two teams this season that didn’t need extra time.

“It’s a relief to finally win one in regulation,” Belzile said. “We’ve proven now that we can beat them in 60 minutes, and we’re hoping to do the same tomorrow.”

The final game of the series will be played on Sunday, March 4 at 2 p.m. at Montréal’s CEPSUM Arena.

Main photo by Kirubel Mehari.


Stingers dominate to take game one in convincing fashion

Audrey Belzile scores three goals as Gee-Gees only get 14 shots

With another hat-trick from forward Audrey Belzile, the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team won game one of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-final, 5-0, against the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Feb. 22.
If there was such thing as a perfect game one, this was it for the Stingers. Right from the opening face-off, they asserted dominance and consistency, setting aside what had been a trend of struggling first periods all season. The Stingers allowed a mere 14 shots from the Gee-Gees all game.
“We came ready to play and capitalized early on, and that’s really important,” said head coach Julie Chu. “It’s always huge to get game one.”
The Stingers wasted no time from the face-off as forward Sophie Gagnon found herself on a breakaway just 11 seconds in. She was tripped and earned a penalty shot, beating Gee-Gees goalie Maude Lévesque-Ryan to her blocker side.
“We had the penalty shot right off the bat. It’s a huge momentum boost for us when you get to capitalize on your first chance,” Chu said.
Forward Vyckie Gélinas scored another goal a few minutes later. Belzile added a goal in the final minute of the third period, again beating Lévesque-Ryan on her blocker side. The Stingers led 3-0 after the first period.

Audrey Belzile scored her second hat-trick of the season. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“When we come closer, she goes down which opens the [blocker] side, so we shoot there,” Belzile said about Lévesque-Ryan’s weakness.
In the second period on a five-on-three powerplay, Belzile picked up a loose puck in front of the net and scored her second goal of the night. A tame and focused Stingers team continued the pressure and took their only penalty of the game in the second period on a delay-of-game call. The Gee-Gees, however, were becoming more frustrated and took many roughing penalties throughout the game.
In the third period, Belzile completed her hat-trick on another powerplay. The Stingers’s fifth goal midway through the third period forced the Gee-Gees to do a goalie change.

“We’re confident, because the first game is very important. It sets the tone,” said Belzile, looking ahead to the rest of the series. “They are afraid, so now we have the control of the playoffs. We want to finish this in two games at their home.”
The best-of-three series goes back to Ottawa on Feb. 24 in a do-or-die game for the Gee-Gees. If the Stingers win, Concordia will advance to the RSEQ final and qualify for the national championship in London, Ont., in March.

Main photo by Alex Hutchins.


Setting up goals from anywhere

Second-year forward Stéphanie Lalancette is near the top of the league in assists

In a women’s hockey game against the Carleton Ravens on Feb. 4, Concordia Stingers forward Stéphanie Lalancette earned an assist while sitting on the bench.

Midway through the second period, Lalancette carried the puck into the offensive zone before running out of room in front of a Ravens defender. She dropped the puck to her linemate, Audrey Belzile, then headed to the bench for a line change. As Lalancette got off the ice, Belzile circled around and scored a top-shelf goal.

A point from the bench for Lalancette on a Belzile goal. That’s the type of season Lalancette is having: one filled with assists. Belzile scored four goals in that game, and Lalancette assisted on three of them.

It’s clear that Stéphanie Lalancette and Audrey Belzile also have a good relationship off the ice. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“I think [I am] more of a passer,” Lalancette said. “I like the feeling of being able to pass and [help] my teammates score.”

Lalancette is tied for the third-most assists in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), with nine total. Five of those assists were on goals by Belzile, and the other four were by the other player on her line, Lidia Fillion.

Even though Lalancette is the passer on that line, she scores goals too.

“I bring a lot of energy, and I could change a game in just one shift,” Lalancette said. “I bring a lot of scoring chances in just one shift.”

Head coach Julie Chu said Lalancette is always giving her full effort, be it at practice or in games.

“If you ever come to our practice and watch Steph, even on a simple warm-up drill, the way she’s ready and explodes on that drill, you don’t see that all the time,” Chu said. “Because she has that mentality of getting better, working and making the most out of every moment, that’s why it’s translating to the games and why she’s such a dominant player for us.”

Stéphanie Lalancette scored her first two goals of the season against the McGill Martlets on Oct. 21. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

In her rookie season last year, Lalancette scored six goals and added 10 assists. This season, she already has seven goals to go along with her nine assists in 17 games.

Belzile said she enjoys being on a line with her playmaking teammate. “I like her speed. She sees me well, and I see her well,” Belzile said. “We have good chemistry, and we just fit together.”

Although Lalancette is feeding Belzile goals with the Stingers, the pair played on rival teams in CEGEP. Lalancette played for the Limoilou Titans, and Belzile played for the St-Laurent Patriotes, two of the top teams in college hockey. “Before we were enemies, but now we’re really good friends,” Belzile said.

In the 2014-15 season, Limoilou beat St-Laurent in the final, and the year after, Limoilou eliminated St-Laurent in the semi-final en route to winning the RSEQ championship. Lalancette said that championship experience helped her bring a winning mentality to the Stingers.

She played with many current Stingers at Limoilou, including forwards Claudia Dubois and Marie-Pascale Bernier, and defencemen Claudia Fortin, Audrey-Anne Allard and Aurélie Hubert. Lalancette said playing with her CEGEP teammates at Concordia is a fun experience.

“We knew each other, so it helped us in our everyday life and on the ice too,” Lalancette said.

In her rookie season last year with the Stingers, Lalancette continued her winning streak. Despite finishing the season with a 10-9-1 record, the Stingers upset the Université de Montréal Carabins in the first round of the playoffs, and secured a spot at nationals, where they finished in fourth place.

“It was a great feeling,” Lalancette said about their trip to nationals last March in Napanee, Ont. “As a first-year, you never [expect] that.” On the subject of what the team’s goals are for this season, Lalancette asserted: “We expect to win. We want to win the playoffs of the RSEQ, and go to the nationals and really have a winning mentality.”

Stéphanie Lalancette battles a McGill Martlet during a game on Feb. 10. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Even though Lalancette has up to three more seasons left with the Stingers after this one, she doesn’t stop thinking about her future in professional hockey. She said her goal is to play for Les Canadiennes de Montréal, but needs to focus on school in order to get a job outside of hockey. She’s currently studying leisure sciences.

Lalancette said she’s studying leisure sciences because that’s what she enjoys in school, and it helps her on the rink too. “I can bring a lot of stuff on the ice. I like being around people and just helping as much as I can.”

Through two seasons playing with the Stingers and studying at Concordia, Lalancette knows the challenges of being a student-athlete.

“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “You need to be on time for everything; you can’t be late; you need to prepare yourself for every week and just be sure you’re ready on the ice and you’re ready to study too.”

Main photo by Alex Hutchins.

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