Stingers’ 4-1 victory over McGill crowns Concordia RSEQ champions

The Concordia women’s hockey team sweeps the McGill Martlets to continue their undefeated playoff run.

The Concordia Stingers defeated the McGill Martlets 4-1 in the second part of back-to-back games after shutting them out 3-0 on Thursday. Concordia completed their second sweep and remain undefeated in the playoffs this year as they were crowned RSEQ champions on Friday.

The game started at a quick pace, with Concordia wanting to end the series, and McGill desperately trying to hang on.

The first goal came right after an offensive zone faceoff win by McGill. Stingers forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr stole the puck, shooting it directly on net and giving her team a 1-0 lead with about six minutes left in the period.

The Stingers got their second penalty of the night shortly after, but their penalty kill did the work and goaltender Alice Philbert made all the necessary saves.

As Stingers forward Audrey-Ann Rodrigue was looking to clear the zone on the penalty kill, forward Emmy Fecteau was already in the neutral zone, collecting the pass from Rodrigue with a breakaway chance that developed into a 1-on-1. Her initial shot was saved by McGill goaltender Tricia Deguire, but Fecteau had joined her teammate just in time to score on the rebound, collecting a shorthanded goal and doubling the Stingers’ lead only a minute and a half after their first goal.

Concordia was handed three more penalties in the first half of the second period, which led to a powerplay goal by McGill forward Jade Downie-Landry.

It was McGill’s turn to be undisciplined in the second half of the frame, and Concordia forward Stéphanie Lalancette capitalized on the last second of a 5-on-3 with six seconds remaining in the period.

“Special teams are important in the postseason,” Stingers head coach Julie Chu said. “Obviously 5-on-5 too, but special teams are going to be the difference-makers when you have really good teams that are well-matched. So it was a good battle and I thought McGill had a really great game.”

Being up 3-1 with 20 minutes left to play, the Stingers played a defensive third period, while the Martlets were pushing to tie the game. The Stingers did everything they had to do, even pushing to get a bigger lead.

McGill pulled Deguire for the extra attacker with two and a half minutes remaining. However, Concordia stood tall as forward and captain Audrey Belzile scored an empty-net goal with a minute remaining, her last goal at the Ed Meagher Arena.

“It’s just incredible. After a year of COVID and the cancelled year, we came back a long way and we were ready for this year,” Belzile said. “And for all the graduating students, it was our last chance and I think we showed what this team is capable of.”

“All the girls worked so hard all year and winning this championship is everything […] I’m so proud of all of the girls,” Philbert said.

This was her second consecutive start after getting a shutout in their previous matchup. On Friday, she added to her exceptional season by allowing only one goal on 35 shots.

There was no doubt for Chu that Philbert was going to get both starts.

“She’s our goaltender and she’s proven it not only at practices every single day, and the way she pushes, but in the way that she’s competing and playing in games, so she’s going to get the nod,” Chu said.

It was bigger than just a championship for Philbert, who also got to celebrate and share the moment with her sister Léonie, who plays defence for the Stingers.

“We lost our grandmother two weeks ago, and before she passed away she told us ‘Go win it for me,’ and I know she’s been with us during those moments for the last few weeks,” Alice said. “And I’m really happy for my sister. She went from playing forward to defence and was injured for half of the season, so I’m really proud of her and everything she’s accomplished.”

Chu said it’s been a journey for everyone, from the staff and coaches, to the student-athletes, especially.

“All the pressures that they’ve had to go through, all the ups and the downs and the disappointments, to get to this point and work hard and have this final result is really awesome and we’re really pumped that we got a chance to win at home, which is special because that crowd is amazing,” Chu added.

The arena couldn’t have been any louder as “We Are The Champions” blared through the stadium and the girls celebrated on the ice.

Having hoisted the Dr. Ed Enos championship trophy, the Stingers will now be headed to the national championship at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PEI. Teams will compete for the Golden Path Trophy, which is presented annually to the U Sports women’s hockey champions.


Photograph by Kyran Thicke 


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


How to grow women’s hockey

Increasing visibility and investment and paying a living wage could be the key

Brooke Boquist, a forward for the Toronto Six in the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), works in real estate by day and plays hockey by night and during the weekends. She said her lifestyle can be tough.

“If you’re working and making these trips every weekend or every couple of weeks, it’s pretty busy. So it’s definitely not easy, but we find a way to make it work,” she added.

Before signing with the Six last season, Boquist played two seasons in the Swedish Women’s Hockey League (SDHL), where she didn’t need a second job and was able to completely focus on her game.

“But now here, I can’t just play hockey and not work,” said the 25-year-old forward. “It’s just that you don’t make enough money to do that. And living-wise, I live in downtown Toronto. It’s like a whole different story, right?” she said and laughed. Despite city living costs, she’s happy to have found an interest outside of hockey that she can pursue at the same time.

Boquist said her team has practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and plays games on the weekends. Each PHF team is projected to play 20 games this season, whereas in Sweden her team used to practice every day and play almost every weekend.

Being a professional female hockey player in North America isn’t easy. As opposed to professional male hockey players, female players can’t only focus on their passion, and train, play, and breathe hockey, as that simply doesn’t earn them a living wage. 

The PHF along with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) are the two professional leagues for women’s hockey in North America. The PHF is comprised of six teams, and the PWHPA of five. That’s a total of 11 professional women’s hockey teams compared to 108 professional men’s teams in five different leagues across North America, including the National Hockey League (NHL).

Many female players, current and former, want women’s hockey to grow to allow these athletes to make a living wage by playing hockey, just like male players.

Julie Chu, head coach of the Concordia Stingers’ women’s hockey team and four-time U.S. Olympic medalist in hockey, said that in order for women’s hockey to get there, the investment has to come first.

While this would allow players to earn a living wage, it would also let them train full-time and “put a product on the ice that is going to be really strong and be top quality,” Chu said.

However, she added that it’s really difficult for players to be able to get to that stage, even if they want to, since they need to have a full-time job, as is the case with Boquist and her teammates.

“There are some amazing athletes still playing in the PHF and the PWHPA, and they’re able to do this,” Chu said. “But just imagine if those athletes have the ability just to be professional athletes and the time and investment that they can put into being a great hockey player, resting, recovering, getting stronger, […] all those resources. That just increases the product itself. So, we need that investment to make the product better.”

Chu played in what used to be the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) with the Montreal Canadiennes (who were formerly known as the Montreal Stars). Being in different situations, Chu said it has really made a difference in understanding that “we can only be as good as we can be, with the resources we have.”

She also strongly believes that increasing visibility would be a big step in making hockey more accessible to women.

“I’m a big believer that, if we’re able to see it, if things are visible, then we have the opportunity to think about wanting to do it,” Chu said.

She said that promoting current athletes at the elite level for the female game is really important. Chu described adding women’s international hockey in the video game NHL 22 as a “huge milestone” for the visibility of women in the sport. There are several ways better representation has been achieved, such as having female player cards in Tim Hortons’ new hockey cards collection.

“I think we do have to make a more conscious effort to make sure that in our local organizations, we’re giving value to each of them equally, versus having the women just be an afterthought,” Chu said. For example, women might not be included within boards of local hockey organizations, or they might not be given the best ice time because they are an afterthought, so a good solution for shared facilities between men’s and women’s teams would be to alternate good ice time – which usually refers to daytime access to facilities – according to Chu. 

She added that we need to make sure that women are part of conversations or part of the solutions if organizations are looking at things that concern both female and male teams.

Another way to increase visibility would be to expand the PHF. The league announced on Jan. 18 that the plan is to expand to Montreal next season.

“I think the main goal for women’s hockey is to get the exposure out there right now and to, eventually, at some point in time, have the girls make a living wage,” Boquist said. “That’s the sole focus. And I think that expanding the league to get more exposure is everything in the right direction.” Currently, the average salary for PHF players is $15,000 per season with a team salary cap of $300,000. With the cap increasing to $750,000 next season, the average salary should reach $37,500.

“It would be awesome to expand into Montreal […] and across Canada,” Boquist said. 

“Obviously we should focus on one thing at a time, but it would be nice to have another team in Canada.” The other three professional female teams in Canada are part of the PWHPA: Team Sonnet of the Toronto Region, Team Harvey’s of the Montreal Region, and Team Scotiabank of the Calgary Region.

However, Chu added that more needed to be done prior to taking that step. She said there’s currently a disconnect in the women’s hockey world since the PWHPA and PHF are separate entities, and that the two should find a way to merge or dissolve separately to then come together in a new league in order to have everyone working together in one entity.

The most ideal situation for her would be for the PHF and PWHPA to merge and launch right after the Winter Olympics. She said using the momentum and visibility of the worldwide event would make the transition a bit easier.

Boquist believes the PHF’s expansion will provide women in Montreal an opportunity to be part of the league without having to relocate. She also thinks the league will benefit from a potential rivalry with Toronto.

Along with an expansion to Montreal, the PHF announced a possibility to add new American teams to the Federation. For the moment, the PHF’s Board of Governors will invest $25 million to the players over the next three years, starting with $7.5 million next season. The plan isn’t only to improve the players’ salaries, but also healthcare benefits, as well as to update facilities, buy new equipment, and increase ice time in terms of both practices and games. The plan is to expand the schedule to 28 games.

“This is amazing news for the league and for women’s hockey,” Boquist said. “Such a great step in the right direction, not only with raising the salary cap but also the expansion (…) particularly to another Canadian team in Montreal.”

At the end of the day, the ultimate goal for Chu, Boquist, and for women’s hockey in general, is to be able to pay players a living wage.

“I believe in everything the PHF is doing right now,” Boquist said. “We’re getting there, we’re making the right steps and doing what we can so one day, I don’t know how long it will take, but one day, hopefully, the girls will be able to just focus on hockey.”


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


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


Experience and patience are keys for Stingers’ success this season

After an 18-month hiatus, the Stingers are looking to stay on top of the RSEQ standings.

As the Concordia women’s hockey team takes to the ice for the first time next week at the Theresa Humes Cup since the 18-month hiatus, Stingers head coach Julie Chu said that the anticipation to start the regular season has been overwhelming for the team. 

“Everyone was really excited to get back together again in a full season mode,” Chu said.

Fifth-year players are eligible to play in a sixth season due to the cancellation of last year’s. While some players have moved on to other things, notable players like Audrey Belzile and Brigitte Laganière will not only provide production and firepower to the roster, but also experience for the younger players coming into the rotation.

“We have a great group of veterans, [and] they’re going to be adding a level of maturity and veteran presence, especially when understanding our systems,” Chu said. The experienced veterans being paired with the youthful excitement of newly-acquired players will not only provide depth to the roster, but also an eagerness to grow and become better throughout the whole lineup.

With some experience on the lineup, important acquisitions have been made. Former NCAA defencemen Alexandra Calderone and Ariane Julien have returned home, not only providing a high level of talent, but also beefing up the Stingers’ defence “When you have players that have played at a really high level and have veteran experience, though not a veteran on our team, it helps a lot to have a great defensive core,” Chu said.

Though newly acquired players have proven themselves from a talent perspective, for Chu and her coaching staff, character is the defining asset that will dictate a player’s position on the team. 

“If they’re not a fit to our culture then it doesn’t add value to what we want to accomplish as a team,” Chu said.

Head coach Julie Chu (in purple) and the Stingers coaching staff. (Kyran Thicke / Concordia Stingers)

After taking the helm from former legendary head coach Les Lawton, Chu has had ups and downs with the team. Winning their first RSEQ playoff game in 11 years in 2016-17 and falling short against McGill provided positive experience on how to handle themselves in the second round against a dominant team. It played a big role not only for the team’s growth, but also the anticipation of knowing what to expect from their opponents deep into the playoffs. Beating McGill in the second round of the playoffs, that same year, the team won the RSEQ Championship and won bronze in the U SPORTS National Championship. Both those end of season accomplishments ultimately morphed the program overnight into a legitimate contender.

“We went on to nationals and unfortunately lost in our semi-final game in shootout to the team that went on to win,” Chu said. “What I was proud of is that our players rebounded and did an awesome job winning the bronze medal.”

In the 2019-20 season, though ranking first in the nation for 14 consecutive weeks, the loss in the playoffs as well as losing the chance to play nationals was a hard pill to swallow. Not ending the season on a high note would be demoralizing for most teams, however Chu said the Stingers are using their most recent season as motivation for what’s to come. 

“COVID took away their opportunity to continue playing so now they want to make the most of it,” Chu said.  

The fact that the Stingers haven’t played an organized game in nearly two years will be the ultimate challenge. 

“We have to be patient to get back into our rhythm, we have to be patient to allow us to develop and to grow.” 

For Chu and her coaching staff, the ultimate goal is to win, but what is more important is to lay down a good foundation so that by the end of the season, they’ll be back to the level they were at, before the pandemic.

Chu emphasized that this year is unlike any other. The inability to play for a full season will prompt growing pains, especially at the beginning of the year. 

“Whether we’re a sixth-year, or a first-year player, we’re all going to come back and not be in the same place necessarily that we would if we just finished a regular season,” Chu said.

Chu is also preaching resilience to her team. Not knowing what’s in store regarding how the pandemic will play out down the road is also another complication to consider this season.

“There will be some things in our control and some things that are not so we focus on things that are in our control to make sure that we can do everything that we can,” Chu said. 

With all teams coming off an inactive year, and with Bishop’s University Gaiters now introduced into the division, Chu added that it will be harder to estimate where the team will end up.

“Usually right now I’d give you the season outlook, but I think we’re a bit in the unknown because we haven’t played,” Chu said. “For me, that is what’s most challenging.” 

The Stingers will host the Theresa Humes cup next week from Oct. 1-3 at the Ed Meagher Arena. Their first game will be against McGill at 12 p.m. 


Photograph by Gabriel Guindi


Stingers women’s hockey building off of last season

The 2018-19 Réseau du Sport Etudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season didn’t finish the way the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team had hoped. After winning the RSEQ championship in 2018, the Stingers were eliminated in the semifinals by McGill last playoffs in what was a learning season for them.

This year’s Stingers roster will present a more mature group than last season, when 11 players were rookies. Stingers head coach Julie Chu said the team experienced a lot of growth over the past months, which is a big factor in approaching the new season.

“It’s the commitment it takes to play at this level,” Chu said. “It’s the patience to know that with so many first-year players, it takes time to get to the level we need to be in regards to fitness, conditioning, overall execution on a consistent basis, and just understanding the system at the next level.”

The ending of the Stingers’s last season pushed the players to work even harder this summer. Chu said it’s incredible to see the effort and commitment players made over the summer, and how it helped them improve their game.

“Over the summer, all of our returning players wanted to make a commitment at getting better, and making sure that by the start of this season, they were in a much better position [than last year],” Chu said. “Because of that, we’re in a much different spot and we’re able to compete at a higher level [since the beginning of our exhibition games].”

Stingers forward Claudia Dubois will be one of the team’s veterans in 2019-20, as this season will be her fifth. Having been part of both 2018 RESQ’s championship team and last year’s team that lost in the semi-finals, Dubois said she’s gained enough experience to be a leader this season.

“It’s for sure a big role in the team,” Dubois said. “I just want to lead by example the best I can with the rookies, and guide them in the best direction as possible for the upcoming years at university.”

Dubois said players took a step back at the conclusion of last season. Even if the Stingers were hoping for a better result, Dubois thought this was a needed lesson, as it’s been a couple of good years for the Concordia women’s hockey program.

“I think to have experienced that as a team was a reset for this season,” Dubois said. “We know we’ll have to work hard for everything. It was hard at the beginning of the off-season, but as we were moving forward this summer, it became a motivation for all of us in discussions and practices. We’re looking forward to play McGill, but any team in the league will be sort of a revenge and opportunity to prove it was a mistake [last season’s results].”

Chu said the current Stingers roster is not only a great one, but also the ideal kind of group for players and coaches. She explained that compared to last year with all the rookies, this year’s team presents a better mix of players from all years.

“We can’t have a team of only rookies because that’s a lot of energy,” Chu said. “Yet, we also can’t have a team of only returners. Now that we’re introducing five new players to our program, it’s just adding to the veterans that we have here, which makes it better. What we have here is a really good balance of different qualities and skills that players bring to our team, lineup, and practices every day.”

With most players having already played their first year at university level, Chu said everyone seems more settled in than at the same point of the year last off-season.

“We don’t have as many players going through their first moments of figuring out everything like last year, where half of our team was new,” Chu said. “A lot more energy was spent on things as simple as understanding how to register for classes, or even moving to Montreal. It’s really fun to see our team coming together, and be in a good position in order to continue moving forward and getting better in this early part of the season.”

Stingers forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, RSEQ’s highest-scoring rookie and one of the Stingers’ 11 first-year players last year, said most of the team will now have made a little step forward with that first season completed.

“We now know how the league works, as well as the team’s system and everything that’s around it. We certainly have a really talented group right now with quality players in all positions.”

Dubois said players know they have what it takes to win. However, she explained the team is focusing on one step at a time, and doesn’t want to look too far ahead.

“We’re focusing on the first half of the season [that goes] until Christmas,” Dubois said. “We started playing better in the second half of the season last year. It wasn’t too late, but it didn’t help us at the end with the standings and the playoffs. We want to win and we know we have the team to do it, so we’ll proceed one step at a time and it all starts now.”


Feature photo by Laurence BD


Learning season for Stingers women’s hockey

Concordia went 8-1-1 in 2019 after a rocky start to the regular season

It was a learning season for the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team, which saw many ups and downs. They were eliminated in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-final in February.

The Stingers started the season with 11 rookies, and finished the regular season in second place with a 13-4-3 record. Head coach Julie Chu said that if there’s one thing to take away from this season, it’s growth.

“[Every season], we start at a different point,” Chu said. “This year, we [did so] because we were young and had a lot of new players.”

Forward Lidia Fillion (pictured) finished the season with seven goals. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

After winning five of the first 10 games, Chu asked her players for patience.

“We had a young team in a lot of ways,” Chu said. “Even if they’re talented players who have been successful, it still takes time to develop and play a complete team game for a full 60 minutes. I think that’s what we saw in the first half of the season. We didn’t have the consistency and execution that we needed in order to win games.”

Five Stingers earned individual RSEQ awards, including forwards Audrey Belzile and Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, the Stingers’s best scorer and the RSEQ’s highest-scoring rookie, respectively. Chu said the working environment her players built help them to succeed.

“They want to get better and learn,” Chu said. “They push themselves, and they do it in a competitive and awesome environment where they find a way to support each other. I don’t think it’s surprising that we had individuals from the team who were honoured for successful seasons.”

Veterans Katherine Purchase, Devon Thompson, Melinda Prévost, and Sophie Gagnon won’t be back with the Stingers next season. Chu said these graduating players helped develop Concordia’s hockey program into what it is.

“They are huge part of why we have the foundation we have [today],” Chu said. “When young players arrive in our program, they know what to expect. They know what they’re building off [of], and I think that’s a really special part of the culture and tradition we want to have here at Concordia.”

Despite Purchase’s departure, the Stingers will still be able to count on goaltender Alice Philbert for the upcoming season. Chu said that having Philbert with the team for the seasons ahead is huge.

“Alice has been a great part of our team the last two years,” Chu said. “She always works hard, she wants to get better. She asks questions and because of that, she’s been able to develop and become a really great goaltender.”

The Stingers announced in December that forward Scout Watkins Southward of the Kingston Junior Ice Wolves will join the team for the beginning of next season. Chu thinks Watkins Southward will bring a lot to the team.

“She has the work ethic, the personality, and the character we want to include in our program,” Chu said. “I think that she will arrive and have a really big impact right off the start. We’re really excited for everything that she will be able to bring.”

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Martlets eliminate Stingers in RSEQ semi-final

Concordia loses game two 5-3 after giving up three-goal lead

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team were eliminated in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-finals by the McGill Martlets Saturday afternoon. The Martlets won 5-3 after the Stingers opened the game with a 3-0 lead at the McConnell Arena.

The game started well for the Stingers as they established dominance early in the first period. Forward Claudia Dubois opened the scoring 10 minutes into the game with her first goal of the series. Concordia head coach Julie Chu said that after Thursday’s loss in game one, the team wanted to improve for Saturday.

The Stingers haven’t beat the Martlets in a playoff game since 2005. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

“We talked about our mentality heading into this game,” Chu said. “It [was] a one-game season at that point for us, so we had to be ready to play and be ready to jump.”

The Stingers had a three-goal lead in the second period when forwards Rosalie Bégin-Cyr and Maria Manarolis scored two goals in less than five minutes. However, the Stingers lost their momentum after Manarolis’s goal, as the Martlets called a time-out and made a goaltending change. The Martlets then scored five unanswered goals. Chu said her team maintained a good position all game long despite the score.

“It wasn’t about a panic moment or anything,” Chu said. “It’s just a couple of moments that [the Martlets] found the back of the net, but, ultimately, they got four goals on seven shots [in the third period].”

The Stingers also had seven shots in the third period, but couldn’t beat back-up Martlets goalie Amanda Hadwen. Chu said she was still happy with how her team competed in the third period.

“I think the total effort of our team was really solid,” Chu said. “They’ve been battling all year long to be the team that they are, and I’m really proud of them. I think we didn’t come to play in the first game. This one we came to play.”

The Stingers won the RSEQ championship last year, but couldn’t win a playoff game this season. The head coach wants to use this loss as motivation for next season.

“This is definitely a tough one to swallow,” Chu said. “It will hurt for a long time, but for those who get the opportunity to return next year, that will be their fire. It will be their fire to not feel like this again and to know that we have it in this team.”

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


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.


Full team effort gives women’s hockey team six-game win streak

Stingers beat the Carabins 3-1 at home in final meeting between rivals

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team continued their winning streak Saturday afternoon. They beat the Université de Montréal (UdeM) Carabins 3-1 at the Ed Meagher Arena for their six-straight win. Head coach Julie Chu credits a full team effort for the win streak.

“With our culture, even players that aren’t dressed, they bring great team energy in practices and in the stands, and that makes a huge difference,” Chu said following the win. “We’re happy with how our whole team is playing.”

It was the fifth and final meeting between the Stingers and Carabins this season. UdeM got the better of Concordia in three of the four previous meetings, winning all three games by one goal, including two in overtime. The Stingers’s only win against the Carabins before this game was a 2-1 victory on Nov. 2, 2018. The two teams, placed first and second in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), were separated by three points in the standings.

“We know every game is big at this point because our league is so tight,” said Chu when asked if the Stingers needed extra motivation heading in. “We just had to bare down and play good hockey. For sure [we’re thinking] about the playoffs, but we had to think about today and they played great.”

Goalie Alice Philbert allowed one goal in her last two starts. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Alice Philbert got her second-straight start in the Stingers’s net in place of Katherine Purchase. She missed Thursday’s 6-0 in Ottawa and this game for unknown reasons. Chu said the Stingers are lucky to have three strong goalies who she can rely on when called upon.

Montréal’s Aube Racine had to make 12 saves in the first period, and kept the scored tied 0-0 at the first intermission. The Stingers finally beat her five minutes into the second with a good shot from forward Lidia Fillion.

“Anytime we could put goals away against them, it’s a good thing [because] their goaltender is really strong,” Chu said. “For sure, it’s something we talked about between the first and second with our opportunities to make sure we capitalize [on scoring chances].”

The Carabins tied it 1-1 with a goal from Annie Germain 10 minutes later, but the even score didn’t last long. Less than two minutes later, Fillion scored her second of the game, which turned out to be the game-winning goal.

“She had some injuries early on the year, but now she’s playing really good hockey,” said the head coach about Fillion, who has seven goals this season. “She’s steady and solid, and we’re happy with the way she’s playing.”

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Stingers close in on first place with win over Carleton

Forward Sophie Gagnon scores twice as Katherine Purchase collects third win

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team beat the Carleton Ravens 5-2 Sunday afternoon at the Ed Meagher Arena. Forward Sophie Gagnon scored two goals and added an assist in the victory.

The Stingers won all four games played against the Ravens so far this season, outscoring them 19-3. They also won two of those by shutouts.

In the two games this weekend, the Stingers scored nine goals. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

Stingers head coach Julie Chu was pleased with how her team competed against the Ravens, a team she calls a hard-working opponent. Chu wanted to see consistency from her team throughout the game.

“From start to finish, you could see it,” Chu said. “They scored a late goal. They don’t give up. And so for us, I think it’s trying to have to same intensity, focus, and urgency toward the way that we play.”

The Stingers took the lead early in the first period when forward Lidia Fillion scored her third goal of the season. “It was really great to see that our girls came out on fire in that first period,” Chu said. “They put us in a good place, and just kept getting better and better.”

Gagnon then added two goals in less than six minutes to give the Stingers a decisive 3-1 lead in the first. The forward gave credit to her teammates for her performance.

“I’m just at the right place at the right time,” Gagnon said. “When we need to put it [the puck] in the net, I do so.”

With two goals against the Ravens, Gagnon now has five goals and two assists in her last four games. Chu described her forward as a warrior.

“[Gagnon] is not afraid to go to the net,” Chu said. “She competes in every moment, and I think that’s a big reason why she’s been successful over her career. She has that great determination. She’s willing to go through a knee, go through a wall to get a play done.”

Gagnon said the team had good zone exits against the Ravens, which created good offensive opportunities and helped the whole team produce in the game.

The first of Gagnon’s two goals was on the power play, and Rosalie Begin-Cyr scored a second power-play goal for the Stingers in the second period. Chu said the team really worked on reading plays and executing them at the right time.

“Today, I thought we did a really good job of moving the puck quickly, tape to tape,” Chu said. “Then, when we had opportunities to shoot and find shooting lanes, we were able to execute on those. That was really big.”

The Stingers finished the game with 39 shots, while the Ravens finished with 12. Goaltender Katherine Purchase registered her third victory of the season.

With an 8-4-3 record, the Stingers are still in third place, but sit three points behind first place, with five games remaining in the regular season. They play their next game on Feb. 1 in Ottawa against the Ravens.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.

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