Concordia defends their home court in basketball double-header vs. Laval

The Stingers men’s and women’s basketball teams handled business over the weekend, and have yet to drop a game since the return to play.

Women’s Basketball: Concordia 68-65 Laval

Coming off a 66-60 victory over Laval on Thursday, the Stingers were looking to sweep the Rouge et Or in the week in their Saturday afternoon rematch. Despite a late rally by Laval in the fourth quarter, Concordia was able to secure the win, tying for the top seed in the RSEQ regular season standings in the process. Stingers head coach Tenicha Gittens described Concordia’s back-to-back wins over Laval as important character builders. 

“We’re digging deep and making the extra plays,” Gittens said. “Basketball is not a perfect game, we strive to execute perfectly on both ends of the floor but it’s extremely rare to see a team play a flawless game. The whole point is to make sure that you’re the team that does a little bit more.”

The Stingers defence held Laval to six points in the opening quarter, but went into the halftime up only two points because of poor shooting woes and Laval opting to increase the pace of the game and push the ball in transition off Concordia’s misses. 

“In the second quarter, I thought we were bailing Laval out and putting them at the free-throw line too often. So the message at the half was about making sure we stayed disciplined and limiting their transition chances,” Gittens said. 

In the second half, Myriam Leclerc put on a show on offence as the primary ball-handler without Areej Burgonio in the lineup. The third-year Stingers guard tallied 29 points, and shot a perfect 15-15 from the free-throw line in a closely contested game. Leclerc proved she can handle the pressure, collecting eight rebounds and a pair of steals and assists to cap off her dominant showing.

Last week, Gittens outlined some expectations ahead of the second half of the regular season. Concordia’s head coach was adamant in predicting that Leclerc would step up in a big way for the team as she gradually worked her way back into playing shape following an injury to her knee. 

Over the last two games, the Stingers’ third-year guard is averaging 24.5 total points on 16 shot attempts per game, quickly cementing herself as an opposing defence’s nightmare. 

“I feel like I’m at 100 per cent,” Leclerc said. “Having the trust of my coaches and teammates helped a lot during my rehab. Right now, I’m confident that I’m back.” 

Myriam Leclerc led the Concordia Stingers on offence with 29 total points against the Laval Rouge et Or, Feb. 19. Kyran Thicke / Concordia Stingers

Men’s Basketball: Concordia 75-69 Laval

In their second meeting of the week, Concordia erased a first half deficit to defeat Laval at home. The Stingers bench provided a game-altering spark in the third quarter, which carried into the fourth quarter where Concordia held Laval scoreless through five minutes. 

Though the Rouge et Or made a valiant attempt at a comeback by scoring at will in the dying minutes of the game, Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic was pleased with the resilience the Stingers showed after slow starts in both their matchups versus Laval. 

“We played a bit timid down the stretch hoping for the time to expire and we simply can’t do that,” Popovic said. “But overall our players did a great job of adjusting and following the game plan in the second half.”  

For the second game in a row, Marc-André Fortin led the way for Laval on offence, finishing the game with 23 points on 11 made field goals. Though the Rouge et Or centre caused problems for the Stingers, Concordia’s defence was able to contain Laval on the boards, and forced their opponents to commit 20 turnovers. 

On Thursday, the Stingers were led by Concordia’s veteran starters Olivier Simon (22 total points, eight rebounds) and Sami Jahan (15 total points, five assists). The script was flipped on Saturday, where the team’s production came largely from their second unit in the second half. 

Stingers rookie guard Alec Phaneuf orchestrated the team’s efficient offence and registered nine points and eight assists without committing a single turnover. Additionally, forwards Félix-Antoine Guertin and Aleksa Popadic connected on three and four three-pointers respectively that deflated Laval’s defence. 

Once Popovic found a lineup that was proving to be successful both offensively and defensively, he kept them on the floor instead of substituting the starters back in the game without a second thought. This coaching concept is only possible with a deep team, one which has a variety of weapons at its disposal. Phaneuf went scoreless in six minutes played on Thursday, but knew he needed to stay ready for when his number got called.

“Every game this year is going to be different because we have a lot of depth,” said Phaneuf. “At the end of the day, everyone knows what’s important is the win, so whoever is feeling it is going to get more time on the floor.”

This Thursday, the Stingers basketball teams will host Bishop’s at Concordia Stadium. In-person attendance is prohibited, but watch the Concordia Stingers live or on-demand here.

Photos by Kyran Thicke


McGill 77, Concordia 62: Stingers rookies impress in disappointing start to season

The Stingers lose their season opener against last season’s top-seeded Redbirds

The Stingers began the 2021⁠–22 RSEQ regular season with a disappointing loss to their rival Redbirds on Thursday night. In the 77⁠–62 loss, Concordia’s rookies played major minutes and kept the team in the game, while the team’s senior players struggled with consistency.

“It’s encouraging to see our first-year guys play well,” said Rastko Popovic, head coach of the Stingers men’s basketball team. “But I thought our seniors just did not do the job tonight. We can’t expect our first-year guys to lead us to wins, especially when McGill’s two best players, especially Jamal Mayali, were outstanding tonight.” 

As a team, McGill’s offence was firing on all cylinders, especially from the perimeter where the Redbirds went 12⁠/31 on three-point field goal attempts. Conversely, Concordia’s offence struggled with their shot from behind the arc (4⁠/24 from three) and at the free-throw line (18/28). Despite McGill’s exceptional play on both ends of the floor, Stingers guard Sami Jahan said Concordia was their own worst enemy. 

“They [McGill] didn’t do anything that surprised us. We knew they moved the ball and could hit open shots, but we just didn’t execute on our game plan tonight and do what we were supposed to do,” Jahan said. 

McGill’s fifth-year guard Mayali led the way for the Redbirds, tallying 29 points on 16 shot attempts with six made threes. Concordia rookie Olivier Koumassou Bernier led the Stingers in minutes and brought confidence and energy to the team. He finished the game with 10 points to go along with his three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. 

The first half was back and forth with McGill leading 32–30 before the break, but Concordia struggled to keep their foot on the gas once play resumed. At the start of the third quarter, McGill went on an 8–0 run which gave the Redbirds a comfortable double-digit lead that Concordia could never overcome. Jahan put the team’s slow start to the second half on himself and the Stingers veterans.

“We didn’t come out with any energy,” Jahan said. “It was really the rookies that came into the game and held down the fort for us […] but we [the veterans] let the game slip and that’s on us.” 

Thursday night was Concordia’s first game of the season, but the Stingers coaching staff were already discussing ways to improve the team amongst themselves well after the game. 

“We have to play a lot harder and execute more offensively. There’s too many small details that we’re not doing right now. Today McGill played much harder. We showed some good things early on but we didn’t compete, especially in the second half,” Popovic said.

The Stingers will look to bounce back next week when they host Bishop’s and Laval at Concordia Stadium on Thursday and Saturday respectively.


Photograph by Laurent Beausoleil


Stingers 89, Martlets 52: Concordia dominates in women’s basketball season opener

Stingers start 2021⁠–22 RSEQ regular season on the right foot on the road against the Martlets

Stingers veterans helped lead the team to victory for their first regular season game in over 600 days. In preparation for the game, Stingers head coach Tenicha Gittens said she hoped to harness the excitement and turn it into good energy for a competitive and successful game. Concordia did just that, coming out ready to battle against the younger Martlets team. 

The Stingers took the lead almost immediately. McGill head coach Rikki Bowles called a timeout early in the first quarter in an attempt to stop the momentum. However, the Stingers remained strong, building their lead throughout the rest of the game. 

Caroline Task, a fifth-year guard, said winning the first game is “definitely a confidence booster” for the rest of the season. She attributed the successful start to strong defence and good team chemistry. 

“We feed a lot on our defence. And we were there, we were present defensively,” Task said. 

After an injury to Areej Burgonio’s left knee in the third quarter, Concordia’s command started to waver, and their lead began to shrink. Luckily, Burgonio was able to get her knee checked and re-taped, and quickly returned to the game to help her team get back on track. Stingers veteran Task wasn’t worried about the slowdown. 

“Obviously we had some lapses like any game, but we’re a team, we have really good chemistry off the court. And I think that really translates on the court,” Task said. 

The lapses are something Task believes the team will need to limit in their upcoming home opener against an experienced Bishops team. That game is set to start next week on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. 

With the first win of the 2021–22 RSEQ regular season already secured by the Stingers, it looks to be an exciting season. Gittens said she has the same goal as all the other teams in the conference, to be champions. Her strategy is to take things one day at a time and build the team “brick by brick.”

“It starts in the preseason at summertime. It’s in the weight room. It’s in practice. It’s in those extra shots you get up at night. Every part of that journey is a brick that you want to lay to build that wall, to get us to our ultimate goal — to be champions,” Gittens said.


Photograph by Laurent Beausoleil


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


Concordia comes up short against Montreal, suffering a 31-19 loss

The Stingers drop their second game in a row, failing to win in the pouring rain against the Carabins

Things didn’t go quite as planned for the Concordia Stingers on Saturday, as they weren’t able to secure a win against the Montreal Carabins, losing the match 31-19. It was a long game of catch-up for the Stingers, as they only held the lead briefly in the first quarter of the grueling contest. 

Stingers head coach Brad Collinson had high praise for his team after the game despite the loss. 

“The kids just showed some heart, they didn’t give up, they didn’t let the weather bother them, they just played,” Collinson said. 

It was evident from the opening kickoff that this wasn’t going to be a standard football game, as the heavy rain and wind made it extremely difficult to execute plays normally. Montreal kicked the game off with an early touchdown throw, as Carabins quarterback Jonathan Sénécal threw a 59 yard bomb to wideout Hassan Dosso. Concordia did a great job in response, as fan-favourite wide receiver Jaylan Greaves made a spectacular running catch for 72 yards. The drive was capped off with a touchdown from Jacob Salvail, who beat his defender on a gorgeous out route.

A Concordia safety gave the Stingers their first, and ultimately their only lead of the game. This newfound window of momentum was quickly slammed shut, after Stingers star quarterback Olivier Roy threw an interception which set up a field goal for Montreal, giving the visiting team a 10-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Carabins started the second quarter off hot, driving down the field and finishing off with a touchdown score from running back Bertrand Beaulieu. The cherry on top for Montreal was the single point touchback they received during the ensuing kickoff. 

At this point in the game, the rain became a real problem and made it incredibly difficult for both sides to secure the ball. A series of turnovers in close proximity in the second quarter summed it up best, as a Concordia interception was followed by a turnover on downs, which was quickly followed by a Montreal fumble. 

This set up a quarterback sneak touchdown from Stingers backup Adrien Guay. After this score, both offences struggled greatly with advancing the ball. An ugly quarter ended with a Montreal safety, putting the Carabins up by four points and leading 20-16 to end the half.

Montreal received the second half kickoff just as the weather appeared to be calming down, and did a tremendous job capitalizing on the opportunity with their offence. A long and demanding drive was finished with Bertrand trucking his way into the Stingers’ endzone for another touchdown. He was the star of this game, finishing with 158 yards and two touchdowns. 

A field goal in the fourth quarter gave Concordia brief hope, but a single point touchback and a Montreal field goal put the game out of reach for the Stingers. 

The Stingers will look to snap their two game losing streak on Oct. 23, when the rival McGill Redbirds visit their home field.


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


McGill 2, Concordia 1: Stingers drop Theresa Humes Cup opener

Concordia loses in overtime thriller versus McGill

On Friday, the Concordia Stingers welcomed the McGill Martlets at the Ed Meagher Arena for the opening game of the Theresa Humes Cup. This year’s edition of the preseason tournament is hosting four teams, as Bishop’s University, University of Montreal, McGill, and Concordia face off against each other over the weekend.

The Stingers fought a tough battle, but lost to McGill 2-1. Stingers head coach Julie Chu said that with time the team will improve on their mistakes, particularly on special teams, but Chu is not worried as the season progresses. 

“We’re going to get better,” Chu said. “Our special teams were a factor and are going to be a factor all year long, so we’ll keep on looking at areas we did a good job and areas we need to get better.”

In the first period, McGill forward Marika Labrecque and defensewoman Jaime Kastelic both went to the box, giving the Stingers two power play opportunities. Though Concordia created many scoring chances, the Stingers couldn’t capitalize.

In the second period, the forecheck from Concordia’s captain Audrey Belzile resulted in a defensive zone turnover from Martlets defensewoman Lydia MacLellan. Stingers rookie Émilie Lavoie had an open lane in the middle of the zone and sniped it past goaltender Tricia Deguire.  

Later in the period, it was the Stingers’ turn to head to the penalty box. Despite the fact that McGill spent the majority of the power plays in Concordia’s zone, the Martlets couldn’t take advantage. The closing score after the second period was 1-0 Concordia.

The last period was where the pace picked up. Both teams went back and forth with one another. The turning point was when Labrecque racked up her second penalty, resulting in a disadvantage for McGill going into the final 10 minutes in the game. 

Though the Stingers looked solid on all their power play advantages this game and seemed poised and relaxed when settling in the zone, things changed when forward Léonie Philbert coughed the puck up at the blue line leading to a shorthanded breakaway goal from McGill forward Emma Piers, tying up the score 1-1.

At the start of the overtime period, Lavoie collided with a McGill player and received a four-minute major hit-to-the-head penalty. The penalty resulted in the Stingers suffering a 4 on 3 disadvantage for the rest of the five-minute overtime period. McGill’s special teams took over from that point on as captain Jade Downie-Landry, Katie Rankin, Labrecque, and Laura Jardin went to work.  

With 1:35 left in overtime, Downie-Landry came down the wing and passed it through traffic to an open Jardin who tucked it into the net for a McGill win 2-1. 

Not being able to capitalize on chances seemed to be the running theme for both teams. Concordia was great at applying pressure (especially on the forecheck) and blocking shots during the penalty kill, or blocking passing lanes towards the net. The only thing that could not be done was the most important objective in hockey: to score. Chu acknowledges that one goal won’t be enough to win games.

“We’re a team that can score goals so we want to be able to get more than one in regulation,” Chu said.


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


Concordia 36 McGill 33: Shaughnessy Cup ends in overtime thriller

The Stingers display their character as they edge out longtime rivals McGill Redbirds in overtime

One week after a historic win against the Université de Montréal, the Stingers overcame adversity to win the 52nd edition of the Shaughnessy Cup against the McGill Redbirds — despite being down 33-11 at one point in front of a sellout crowd of 3500 at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium.  

In the first half, a fumble and an interception resulted in two early touchdowns for McGill. Stingers head coach Brad Collinson said that despite the win, the team needs to improve in the early stages of games.

“Getting off to a good start is something we are constantly talking about,” Collinson said. “We’ve had two short weeks to prepare for these last two games, now with a full week to get ready [for Sherbrooke] we’re going to hammer it through and make sure the players understand.” 

The Stingers’ offence struggled early largely due to constant pressure coming from the Redbirds’ defensive front that managed to sack Stingers quarterback Olivier Roy five times throughout the game.  

Concordia trailed 16-2 at the half and continued to struggle into the third quarter. The Stingers could not move the ball and a 39-yard scoop and score from the Redbirds put McGill in front 23-4.

The Stingers hoist the Shaughnessy Cup in front of their visiting fans

But the tide of the game turned after a 50-yard touchdown grab by Stingers’ receiver Jaylan Greaves capped off a 94-yard Concordia drive to end the quarter.

McGill answered with another touchdown, but these would be the last points they would score. Down 33-11 with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Roy and his offence changed gears, scoring three touchdowns on consecutive drives to tie the game.

The first came off a 6-yard grab by Olivier Morency that followed two dropped passes by veteran receiver Jeremy Murphy in the endzone.

The next touchdown came on a skillful play by Roy who ran from sideline to sideline to avoid defenders and launched a 35-yard bomb to Jacob Salvail.

After big stops by their defence, the Stingers got the ball back — down eight points with 2:36 to go in the 4th quarter. Murphy was able to redeem himself with two huge catches on this drive, including the touchdown that set them up to tie the game. Roy took care of the two-point conversion himself and ran up the middle to force an overtime.

Following the game, Murphy said he was confident he would get an opportunity to bounce back.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Murphy said. “So I know there’s always going to be another chance for me to make a play. My guys trusted me, and I trusted my guys. I wasn’t worried about it.”

The Redbirds started off with the ball in extra time but were unable to score.

The Stingers got the ball back and completed another incredible comeback. Morency picked up a first down on a 20-yard rush that set up fifth-year kicker Andrew Stevens in perfect field position to seal the game. The veteran did not miss his opportunity and nailed a 21-yard field goal through the uprights. 

After another emotional rollercoaster of a game, Murphy summed up his thoughts on the team’s latest comeback victory.

“If we could start off our games like this, we’re looking pretty good,” Murphy said.

The Stingers will look to start strong and extend their win streak at home next week against the Sherbrooke Vert & Or.


Photographs by Catherine Reynolds


Ottawa 7, Concordia 2: There’s a job to do

After a collection of tight games and surprising many with a wild run to the OUA East finals, the Stingers fell in a 7-2 blowout to the now division champions, the Ottawa Gee Gee’s.

There was no time to sit and sulk though. There is still work to be done.

“It’s a tough loss but we’re not done, that’s what’s fun,” said Stingers head coach Marc-André Élement.

After a playoff run that included a victory over their most bitter rival, a sweep of the league’s top team, a triple overtime win, and eventually being swept themselves, the Stingers have one last challenge to face on their way to pushing for a berth at the national championship in Halifax.

They will be one of two teams vying for the bronze medal of the OUA and the final spot at nationals. They take on the loser of the OUA West final in a winner takes all, one game elimination battle later this week.

“It’s a game seven right away. So we have to be on our toes and play Stingers hockey,” said captain Philippe Sanche.

Because of new rules, regardless of the opponent and prior seeding, any Quebec team is not eligible to host such a game, so they’ll be traveling down to Ontario for the matchup.

The Stingers will need to work to get back to the team that toppled both Carleton and McGill as opposed to the one that showed up against Ottawa. The Gee Gee’s got them to lose their composure, taking penalties that simply hadn’t been a problem before this series. The vicious forecheck of the visitors left the Stingers scrambling and giving up turnovers in game two.

The Stingers’ offensive creativity that had gotten them so far seemed to dry up in the game after an intense first period in which both teams scored twice, including a late shorthanded goal by rookie Tyler Hylland.

The Stingers have liked playing with their backs against the wall this season and situations like that have provided some of their best hockey this year. It’s that exact scenario that they find themselves in now: Win and you’re in.

The team is refocusing themselves already and setting their eyes on where they can still get to.

“Obviously it’s hard because you want to win the league but you still have a chance to go to nationals,” said Sanche who went to nationals two season ago. “In my experience, even if we lost [at nationals two years ago], it was a great experience.”

There may be some doubting that they can get there now. They were a low seeded team heading into the playoffs, are now coming off of a blowout loss, and have to travel into enemy territory in Ontario.

That kind of adversity and underdog mentality is what the team has thrived on all season though. Whether it was injuries, suspensions, officiating trouble, the players reminded themselves that they had something to push back against.

“It’s been kind of our story the whole year,” said Stingers defenceman Carl Neill. “We didn’t play to our best capabilities throughout the season, so coming into the playoffs we ranked a bit lower. It might be the case next week now. It’s familiar territory for us. I’m sure the boys will be ready.”

They’re back to embracing that idea and certainly aren’t feeling scared of the new challenges this last chance game is going to bring them.

“It’ll be good for us to go down there and just work,” said Sanche. “We don’t have pressure. We’re just gonna play hockey and get a win.”

Some players have been in this exact spot before. Neill, Sanche, defender Alexandre Gosselin, and centre Jean-Philippe Beaulieu were all on the Stingers team that fell to McGill in the playoffs two years ago before beating the York Lions and earning a spot at nationals.

These players and their coach are reminding the young team that, regardless of the loss, their goal is right there for taking because they’ve seen it before. That’s certainly rubbed off on the rest of the Stingers.

We’ve been going through adversity all year, this is just another stepping stone,” said Hylland. “We’re going to take the sting of this loss with us and we’re going to carry it into the next game [as motivation].”

Hylland and his team feel they can make some noise and upset the country’s best. Now they just need to earn the chance to do so with one more win.


Photos by Ora Bar


Bishop’s 78, Concordia 71: Stingers Men’s Basketball team lose in semi-finals

The Concordia Stingers Men’s Basketball team suffered a 78-71 loss against Bishop’s University at the RSEQ semi-finals on Wednesday night, Feb. 26.

Both teams fought tooth-and-nail, with non-stop action at both ends of the court. It was a roller-coaster of a game, each side taking the lead at different times. Ultimately, the last few minutes saw the Gaiters edge the Stingers to a seven-point win.

“It’s one game, it doesn’t mean they’re a better team than us, they were a better team today,” said Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic. “Our guys fought, we competed, it was a close game, back and forth like a playoff game should be.”

The Stingers and Gaiters had come into the semi-finals after splitting four intense regular season games—both teams won twice at their respective home courts. The odds were pretty even coming in, and the determination from both teams was reflected in the scoreline.

“We had a couple of big shots down the stretch,” said Popovic. “I’m more disappointed for our seniors. I’ve been around, I’ve won a lot of games, I’ve lost a lot of games, it’s part of coaching, but this was their last year, their last game, it sucks to lose like this.”

Cedrick Bryan Coriolan and Adrian Armstrong are graduating this year, and although their last game did not pan out the way any Stinger had hoped, they are leaving the team with an impressive repertoire.

Coriolan was named in the RSEQ university men’s basketball honour roll as a second team all-star for his outstanding play in the 2019-20 season. The Stingers guard played 12 games, averaging 11.3 points, 1.3 steals, and 3.1 assists.

During the 2019-20 season, Armstrong made the top-10 list in RSEQ individual university basketball statistics for scoring (average of 13.7), assists, (average 2.9), steals (average 1.4), and three-point percentage (average .326).

“I thank those guys for everything they’ve done, to Concordia University, to Concordia basketball, they came in as boys now they’re leaving as men with their degrees, and at the end of the day that’s what I’m most proud of for them, they’re ready for real life,” said Popovic. “I appreciate their competitiveness, every single day they showed up and really represented what Concordia basketball is, and I’ll love those guys for the rest of my life. This one game doesn’t define their careers, it’s sports, at the end of the game it’s a game. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. These guys will become alumna now, the reason we’ve had so much success till now is that they were on the team, and I’m so proud of them.”

As for the rest of the squad, as it goes with sports (and Nelson Mandela), you either win or you learn.

“There are guys coming back, we’ll have new recruits, it’s a cycle that restarts,” said Popovic. “This loss stings and [our team has] got to use that as motivation, everybody can get better.”

With new recruits, as well as the remaining players on the team, the Stingers coach believes the team has a lot to offer, especially with talents that are just starting—like rookie Sami Jahan, who had an incredible first-run with the team, having also been nominated in the RSEQ basketball men’s honour roll.

That’s the joy of coaching, next season starts tomorrow for us, we gotta get ready, and start building towards the summer when we start playing our games,” said Popovic.


Photos by Kyran Thicke



Stingers women’s and men’s basketball teams finish their seasons on different notes

Women’s Game

The Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team offered a great show, but ultimately lost 60-57 to the Université de Laval Rouge et Or on Saturday afternoon at Concordia Gym.

The Stingers had a tough first half, trailing 35-24 midway through the game. The team allowed key three-point baskets, and seemed lost on the court. However, they came back strong in the second half, controlling the ball for most of the remaining time.

Head coach Tenicha Gittens said that her halftime talks with the players shook them off. She said she told her team that they had to finish the right way.

“You can just go out there and [just kind of play], or go out there and make it hard for them to compete,” Gittens said. “They went out there and played their heart out.”

Despite not having any impact on the rest of their Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season, Gittens was pleased to see her players show up the way they did against the Rouge et Or.

“We obviously knew it had nothing to do in terms of playoff hopes, but it still did in terms of going out there and competing [until the end],” Gittens said. “It gives our fans something to look forward to coming into the next season, and even us for the coaches and players.”

Gittens added she’s still proud of her team despite not finishing with the same result as last season, where they went to nationals.

“I don’t think I had one player who was 100 per cent healthy [this season],” Gittens said. “I always want more out of them, so as a coach you’re never really satisfied. Yet, overall, they showed a lot of [effort and character].”

The Stingers finish the 2019-20 season in last place of their division with a 4-12 record. 

Men’s Game

The Stingers men’s basketball team finished their 2019-20 RSEQ season with a convincing 92-68 win over the Université de Laval Rouge et Or, also on Saturday afternoon at Concordia Gym.

It was the fourth and final regular season contest between the two teams. The Stingers had won the previous three games, with two of them having been decided by only five points.

After scoring 15 points and leading by just two points after the first quarter, the Stingers got their offence going, almost doubling their offensive production from the first 10 minutes in the next two quarters. That good stretch, along with their good defensive play helped the Stingers to take a serious lead early in the game.

“We know what the Rouge et Or will do, so it’s about us [being positioned and everything],” said forward Olivier Simon. “I think we just need to follow our defensive game plan. When we are winning just by five points, it’s because we did something wrong.”

Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic said the team’s defence was better today than it was in games they won by just a few points, including those two against the Rouge et Or earlier this season. He said the roster available for the game also helped.

“This is the first game we play with our full roster since [early January],” Popovic said. “We’ve had all twelve players playing today, so it was a good team win in order to get ready for the playoffs.”

The Stingers will play their RSEQ semifinal game against the Bishop’s University Gaiters this Wednesday, at 7 p.m. at Concordia Gym. The teams each won two of the four head-to-head battles this season, with the Gaiters winning the most recent two.

Photos by Alex Hutchins


Weekend Recap: Men’s hockey team dominates Lakers, women’s bounce back against Carabins

Women’s hockey:

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


Men’s hockey:

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


Stingers 7, Lakers 2: “Leaders lead the way”

The Stingers headed into their Saturday night clash with the Nipissing Lakers having lost four games in a row — all to top ranked opponents in McGill, Carleton and twice to UQTR.

This turned into an important game as the Stingers were only two points ahead of the Lakers going into this game.

“The guys know that every game is an important one, especially in our league,” said head coach Marc-André Élement. “They were two points behind us, we needed that win and we got it.”

It was apparent early on that this game would be a barn burner as both teams combined for five goals in the first period, with Concordia coming out on top — leading 3-2 after the first frame.

“The team is really happy [with the way they played],” said Élement. “I just didn’t like the first period to be honest. We had a three goal lead and took some stupid penalties [so it got away from us].”

Philippe Sanche recorded a hattrick in the game and Carl Neill added three assists to his season point totals as well. Élement said that he needed his veterans to step up in this game, considering the gravity of its significance with regards to the playoff picture.

Our message before the game was ‘leaders lead the way,’” said Élement. “They really needed to step up and that’s [exactly] what they did.”

Sanche credits his performance from last night to his linemates. He, along with Alexander Katerinakis and Tyler Hylland, dominated the game whenever they were on the ice. The three players combined for four goals and two assists.

“You wanna score every game,” said Sanche. “Our overall work in the offensive zone was great. It was a great game offensively for us.”

The Stingers are back in action tonight. They’ll take on the Queen’s University Gaels who beat them back on Oct. 11 by a score of 5-0.


Feature photo by Cecilia Piga

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