Slumping Stingers can’t hold leads

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team knew it had to win games against teams it had beaten in the past if it was to climb out of the basement of the standings.

Carabins' players celebrate one of their five goals. Photo by Navneet Pall

The women could handle a 4-0 defeat two weeks ago to run-away leaders McGill, but the other games would have to be capitalized on.

The losses last Friday and Saturday thus came as a hard pill to swallow as the Stingers remain at the bottom of the league.

Though Concordia scored first in both games, the Stingers were unable to hold onto leads against the Montréal Carabins and the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

In the Friday night game at Montréal, Audrey Gariepy scored first, but the Carabins came back with five straight goals.

Second place Montréal is a team the Stingers had beat once and lost to twice in the first half of the season. It is a team that coach Les Lawton knows his team can and needed to beat if they are to challenge for second place.

If Friday night’s loss was a tough pill to swallow, Saturday’s was a shot of gasoline.

Ottawa and Concordia were tied in points going into the game, but Ottawa topped Concordia 4-2, further dismantling the team’s ambition of moving up in the standings.

The Stingers scored first when Emilie Bocchia converted a first period power-play goal, her second in as many games. Ottawa tied it up, but Concordia came out in the second period blazing. Catherine Rancourt put one in 52 seconds into the second period retaking the lead.

It was all Ottawa from then on, however, as the Gee-Gees scored three straight goals to win the game.

The women now sit at the bottom of the standings with six points, two back of Ottawa, though the Stingers have a game in hand.

The Stingers’ next game will be at home against Ottawa on Sunday, Jan. 29 at  3 p.m.


Hockey team make trips across the ponds

It wasn’t just the Flyers and Rangers playing under the open sky this holiday.

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team played an outdoor classic of its own on a recent holiday Euro-trip.

The team was in high spirits as it came back from Switzerland and Italy, acting as school ambassador in a series of European games. The men played outdoors in St. Moritz, Switzerland before jumping the Alps and playing in Italy.

“We were driving up to the top of the Swiss Alps in a snow storm, on a one lane highway,” said coach Kevin Figsby. “With a snow bank on the right side, and a 3,000 ft. drop on the left side, and the guys were asking if it gets any better.”

Figsby said that the experience in Europe inspired the Concordia hockey players, who can draw on a history of graduates who play professional overseas.

Figsby said in the past 13 years, Concordia has put more players in pro-hockey in Europe than any other university in Canada. There are currently 19 former Stinger players playing in Europe. There are three graduating players on the current roster, who have a real possibility of playing overseas within the next two years.

The trip highlighted for the players the real possibilities aside from the NHL for those with the skill to play competitive hockey professionally.

“We had an absolutely fabulous trip,” said Figsby. “I thought our players did a tremendous job as ambassadors for our university.”

The experience is one that will stay with them forever, and they hope to keep the inspiration and experience going into the winter semester.

It is a young team with nine first-year players and 14 second-year players, and the team needs to tighten up and stay competitive in the tough second half, according to Figsby.

“If we continue to build and take the positive experience from Europe, I’m expecting an exciting second half,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty good chance to finish in the top half of the pack in the second half.”

The high-flying duo of George Lovatsis and Michael Stinziani look to continue their explosive ways as the team finishes off their season.

Concordia has four home games coming up in the next two weeks, all at the Loyola rink.

Their next game is Wednesday night, Jan. 18 at home against UQTR.

The women also did some jet-setting during the holidays, but they went across the other pond.

The Stingers women lost their first league game after trip to Japan. Photo by Anthony Isabella

The women travelled to a country known for bento boxes, kendo sticks and… hockey? The Stingers’ trip to Japan gave them innumerable cultural experiences that they can call on for inspiration in the winter term.

They played the Japanese national team in Sapporo, and then, in Tokyo, played a number of club teams.

“We embraced the culture and had a wonderful time,” said coach Les Lawton.

The experience is one that the women can use moving forward in the season. The samurai spirit will need to be fostered on the young team as they fight for a positive end to the season.

Concordia’s women’s hockey team needs to move in one direction heading into the second half of the season: up. They struggled in league play at the end of December.

Lawton acknowledged that his team is relatively young, but hopes that his players will use the experience they learned in the first half of the year and improve.

“We have to bring a little more intensity to our games,” said Lawton.

He is looking to Alyssa Sherrard, and the young goaltenders to pick up their games in the second half.

The tough veteran defensive pairing of Meghan George and Alynn Doiron will be leaned on as both players head into the tail end of their university sports careers.

The women’s next game is Friday, Jan. 20 at Université de Montréal at 7 p.m.


McGill continues to impress with solid win over Concordia

The McGill Martlets gave themselves a little cushion atop the university women’s hockey standings with a decisive win over the Concordia Stingers on Sunday. McGill is now three points ahead of second place Université de Montréal.

For Concordia, it was a tough loss that started out all wrong.

A mere 38 seconds in to the game, McGill’s Leslie Oles scored putting the Stingers on their back foot for the fourth straight game.

The Martlets dominated the opening frame outshooting the Stingers 12 to two, scoring twice, and leaving the Concordia women wanting.

The second goal of the period came just after the eight-minute mark by Martlet Kim Ton-That.

Concordia was desperate to halt a recent skid of three straight losses including one to Carleton less than 24 hours earlier, and came out of the gates in the second period fighting.

The team’s leading scorer, Véronique Laramée-Paquette, started the charge back with a goal 16 seconds into the second period on a pass from Hayley Boyd.

The goal brought the Stingers’ bench to its feet, as sticks started smacking the boards.

“I thought once we got down there for a moment we really picked ourselves back up,” said Stingers captain Alynn Doiron. “I think the team this year is so much better than all the other years I’ve played because we’re so determined to come back and really strong mentally,” she said.

While the Concordia women were fired up in the beginning, they couldn’t hold the momentum as a soft shot through the five hole of Marie-Pier Rémillard by McGill’s Jordanna Peroff killed the Stinger buzz three minutes later.

Peroff scored her second goal of the night when she streaked down the left wing and put one behind Rémillard again with a slick wrist shot to make it 4-1.

McGill converted on a quick power play goal after a checking to the head penalty by Meghan George, and scored again to end the period 6-1.

“We’ve got to step it up a notch,” said Martlet captain Cathy Chartrand. “It’s still a game, and there’s still 40 minutes to go, and we have to play a structure like we’ve been practicing, and I think that’s what we did.”

A period that had started off so promisingly for Concordia was not to be.

The Stingers got a late consolation prize in the form of a power play goal with five minutes remaining in the third period, from Audrey Gariepy off a set-up by Meghan George to end the game 6-2.

Concordia’s captain was optimistic in the face of defeat.

“Our team showed a lot of determination even if the score didn’t show how we were playing,” said Doiron. “It was good to see us win the last period and finish the first half of the season on a good note.”

For McGill, the season just keeps getting better.

“We’re working every day each practice to get better as a team,” said Chartrand. “I think since the beginning of the year we’ve been improving a lot. We just try to get better as a team every day. Hopefully we’re going to get there.”

Concordia is now in a tie for last place in the RSEQ.


The Stingers face off against McGill again on Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m.


Warrior effort by Carabins’ Barker thumps the Stingers

Battling in front in the Stingers lopsided loss. Photo by Anthony Isabella

They whacked their sticks against the boards to start periods like warriors knocking their swords against their shields. They played like warriors, too.

The Concordia Stingers felt the intensity of the Université de Montréal Carabins Sunday losing 7-1.

It was the second straight loss to the Carabins by the Stingers, which leaves them at the middle of the standings in third place.

Things did not start off well for Concordia as Montréal scored three goals within the first seven minutes of the first period. Montréal dominated the period leaving little room for the Stingers to capitalize.

Concordia was able to settle the storm somewhat in the middle of the period. The calm, however, was just a reprieve from an oncoming storm courtesy of one fierce Carabin.

Five minutes before the end of the opening period, Ariane Barker scored her second and far from final goal.

Period one ended 4-0.

“I feel good because my last game was not very good,” said Barker. “We have a good team. We are complete.”

The second period opened in a cagey fashion with the Stinger defence holding strong. Montréal had Concordia pinned in its own zone for about five minutes, but credit the Stinger defence and the goalkeeping of Carolanne Lavoie-Pilon for keeping the game respectable.

At the 11-minute mark, Concordia got on the board when Alyssa Sherrard converted a slick cross-goalmouth pass from Véronique Laramée-Paquette.

The joy was short-lived, however, as Barker struck again keeping the Carabins’ lead at four.

Lavoie-Pilon made a couple of nice saves in the final five minutes of the period, and there was the feeling that if the Stingers kept it tight, they just may be able to get back into the game.

The Stingers did not lay down in the third, and came out with intensity making more forays into the Carabins zone.

Though they got far more pucks on the net, the Stingers were unable to get anything passed goalie Rachel Ouellette.

Eight minutes into the third, Montréal put the game out of reach with a two on one goal from, you guessed it, Barker.

Five minutes before the period’s end, Barker scored again making it a hat-trick plus two for the Napierville, Que. native.

The game was a frustrating one for Concordia, who worked hard, but saw its work bear little fruit.

“There was effort, but it wasn’t directed in the right direction,” said assistant captain Meghan George. “We weren’t angling right. We got two next weekend, so that’s what we’re going to build towards.”


Concordia plays Carleton next Saturday, before their final game of the year 2011 against McGill on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Ed Meagher Arena.

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