Montreal 2, Concordia 1 (3OT): Stingers dominate play but fall short in marathon game

The Stingers came into game one of the RSEQ playoffs having been ranked as the number one team in the nation for effectively the entire season.

But matched up against the Université de Montréal Carabins, that ranking didn’t mean they weren’t going into a tight, closely matched, dangerous series. Every game between the two this year (outside of a 4-0 Concordia win) came down to a single goal, including a shootout finish in one game and a double overtime in another.

This game managed to top just how close this year’s matchups were, coming down to the wire in triple overtime as the Stingers fell to their cross-town rivals.

For head coach Julie Chu, the mentality that will get them through is the same mentality that got them into first place: not worrying about anything that’s behind them.

“All season long, the biggest thing we’ve always talked about is that we’re just focused on one game. Whatever rankings were before that doesn’t matter,” said Chu. “[The first place ranking] feels nice, awesome […] [but] we just focus on whatever’s in front of us, and that’s the next game. For us the biggest thing is what are we gonna do the next game. From now, get a good night’s rest, wake up, take a deep breath and be excited it’s a three-game series and we have the opportunity to fight back again.”

While it may not be the result the team wanted, they certainly won’t have any complaints about their effort or the way they played. They came at the Carabins like the top team in the league.

Through five complete periods of play and a few minutes of a sixth, the Stingers dominated. The game was without goals until the third as both team’s goalies stood strong, but regardless of the score, the play was almost entirely under the control of the Stingers.

They heavily outshot Montreal, killed them in puck possession and generally looked more dangerous all night. When Montreal would break out with the puck, the Stingers would crush the hopes of any oncoming rushes with calm preciseness and turn the attack the other way.

A collection of posts was one issue that their production faced but, more importantly, some controversial no-goal calls hit them. The Stingers looked to have scored go-ahead or game-winning goals at least three times, including two such non-markers by captain Claudia Dubois.

Each was waved off. One in particular, Dubois’ second called-off snipe, this time in overtime instead of the last minute of the third, looked to have beaten the Carabins netminder clean and players and fans alike celebrated until the referee called for a faceoff.

The team wasn’t ready to go off on the referees for this, but took a ‘play through it’ mentality and took the hand they were dealt without complaint.

“There’s a lot of possibilities of what could have been a goal but we can only control what’s in front of us,” said Chu. “What’s in front of us is ‘okay the goal’s not called, okay let’s line up and be great the next shift.’”

Despite the lack of scoring—until Emmy Fecteau scored on the powerplay in the third and Montreal tied it with under four minutes to play—both teams kept their energy high and seemed to be taking the game positively. As tight at the game was, no frustration got through visibly when it came to not finding the back of the net.

“The energy on the bench was awesome. They were positive, focused and ready to go,” said Chu of her players.

Now the Stingers are in a position to regroup, as Chu said. It’s not so much a matter of major adjustments as coming back with a good mentality and positivity despite the loss. A win in game two on Saturday afternoon would force a winner-take-all game three at Concordia. The Stingers played the far better game of the two teams and if they bring the same level of play next game, they’ll be putting themselves in a great position to come out on top this time.

“We played great hockey tonight,” said Chu. “Sometimes it doesn’t always equate in a win. We know our players have a lot of fight in them, they have a lot of character in that room. They’ll reset, refocus and be ready to go on Saturday.”


Photos by Cecilia Piga


“The best part of hockey,” 3ICE seeks to deliver an entertainment-fueled product

Picture this — you’re at a hockey game featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers with players like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The third period is winding down, the game is tied, and you whisper to the person next to you “I hope we’re gonna get to see some overtime.”

What’s not to love about overtime? 3-on-3 play is arguably the best thing in hockey right now — any game that has the extra frame is pretty much must-see-TV for fans. The teams’ coaches throw out their best players on the ice and the excitement commences. When a game heads to overtime, you are bound to see some highlight reel plays.

3ICE is a brand new summer hockey league that will kick off in the summer of 2021. It is strictly 3-on-3 play that CEO E.J. Johnston describes it as the most exciting way to play hockey.

“We’ve got all the best parts of hockey,” said Johnston. “It’s all the speed, dangles, creativity that fans want. It makes the rink that canvas that lets these players that are artists really show their stuff.”

Johnston partnered up with Hockey Hall of Famer, Craig Patrick, to create the new professional league which is totally independent from the NHL.

“[When it comes to creating the league] the wheels started turning legitimately about two and a half to three years ago,” said Johnston. “Going to the three-on-three camps of the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils, and watching the NHL overtime format. At first I felt that three-on-three was a gimmick but it did not take me long to be on board after watching a couple of games.”

In its first season, 3ICE will have eight teams, consisting of six skaters and one goalie with substitutes travelling with the teams in case of injury. The league will play mini tournaments in eight different cities over the summer. Games will be two eight-minute halves of running time, with a four minute intermission to clean the ice. Johnston says the thing that sets them most apart from traditional 3-on-3 hockey is that there will be no penalties — if a player commits an infraction, it will directly result in a penalty shot.

“Our product is going to be very snackable,” Johnston said. “We’re going to pack about seven games in a three and a half hour broadcast. It’s a great way to spend an evening out.”

3ICE has already confirmed that they have television broadcast deals with CBS Sports in the US, while in Canada their games will be broadcasted on TSN and RDS.

What hasn’t been confirmed is who will be playing in this league, as 3ICE has not secured any players yet. However, Johnston says that they do have some names in mind as comparables for the type of players they are aiming to attract as they have been talking to multiple agencies.

“He is an ex-NHLer, that no longer has a contract,” Johnston said. “I like to point to a guy like Conor Sheary. He’s a third liner playing 13-14 minutes a night but is the first guy over the boards when the game goes to overtime. [Our ideal player] has also played for three or five years in the NHL.”

Johnston also said that players nearing the end of their careers in the NHL but would still like to play once out of a contract like Jason Spezza and Corey Perry would also be great fits for 3ICE.

In terms of which eight cities will host the inaugural season of 3ICE, Johnston said that it will be up to the fans. Fan engagement will be a big part of the league, including voting on which cities will host, helping to design jerseys, and will even be able to weigh in on video reviews.

We genuinely want the fans to be a part of the process,” said Johnston. “We want them on the business side and the on-ice side. We’re trying to create what we call ‘the biggest locker-room in the world.’”

When it comes to which cities will be hosting these mini tournaments, Johnston mentioned four Canadian cities as potential candidates — those being Montreal, Toronto, Halifax and Quebec City. However, he said it will come down to wherever they garner the most interest from official votes that they will release to the fans sometime within the next two months.

Johnston said that the league has a lot of potential for expansion depending on how successful their first season goes.

“In our plans are things like expansion into Asia, Europe, the women’s game,” said Johnston. “We’d like to see our version of the Little League World Series where we’d have [intercontinental play].”

Graphic by @sundaeghost

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