Hockey Sports

Roller coaster semifinal weekend for Stingers Hockey

Stingers men’s hockey swept by rival McGill Redbirds, women’s team takes down feisty Ottawa Gee-Gees.

The Concordia Stingers men’s and women’s hockey teams both kicked off their semifinal playoff rounds this past week. While the teams were in different scenarios based on their divisional standings, both had momentum and high hopes coming into their respective series.

It was the men’s team that took to the ice at McGill’s McConnell Arena on Feb. 21. Coming off a two-game sweep of the Queen’s University Gaels, the Stingers matched up against the top-seeded Redbirds in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East division semifinals. 

After two periods in game one, Concordia found themselves down 5-2. After resetting with a goalie change and a timeout, the Stingers came out in the third period flying. Forward Isiah Campbell scored his second of the game and fifth in just three playoff games, closing the McGill lead to 5-4 in the dying minutes of regulation. 

Campbell spoke postgame about what has driven him to perform in such a big way.

“Honestly, I’m just playing for the logo on the front [of my jersey],” he said about his motivation. “I always try to battle hard and give my 100 percent every shift I have.”

With their net empty, the Stingers fired all they had at Redbirds goaltender Alexis Shank. In the end, however, it was not enough. McGill added an empty netter and took game one by a score of 6-4. 

Stingers’ head coach Marc-André Elément offered some insight into what he wanted his team to improve on for game two.

“We didn’t execute our game plan at all,” said Elément post-game. “We’ll have to play a full 60 minutes and if not, it’s going to be tough being successful.” That 60-minute effort would be necessary in game two, because with a loss, the Stingers’ season would come to an end.

Game two had a much more defensive tone than the high-scoring game one. The Stingers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when forward Gabriel Proulx netted one past Shank. The score would remain even until McGill scored two unanswered goals in the second period to take the lead.

Stingers forward Isiah Campbell focuses on the play. Photo Courtesy of Concordia Athletics.

With their season 20 minutes away from ending, the Stingers’ desperation began to be on full display. Every chance the Stingers had to take a shot, they put the puck to goal but could not solve the Redbird goalie. In the final minutes, Concordia was forced to pull their goalie as a last-ditch effort to knot the game at two. McGill would capitalize on the opportunity and put the series to rest, 3-1 the final score.

With the season concluding for the men’s team, it also marked the end of the Concordia hockey careers for forward Charles-Antoine Giguère, forward and assistant captain Tyler Hylland, and forward and captain Phélix Martineau. 

Coach Elément shared some final comments on the legacy these three players will leave with.

“Three amazing guys—Giguère, Tyler, and our captain Marti— they’ve all left a big footprint on our program and I’m proud of them all,” he shared emotionally.

Though an unfortunate result at the Ed Meagher Arena in game two for the men’s team, the action of semifinal weekend was not over yet.

After completing their undefeated 25-0-0 record in the regular season, the Stingers women’s hockey team hosted the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees on Feb. 22 for game one of the RSEQ semifinals.

It had been six days since the Stingers played last, and the rust showed early as the Gee-Gees took an early 1-0 lead. Once the second period began, it did not take long for the Stingers to claw their way back in front. Three unanswered goals by forwards Jessymaude Drapeau, Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, and Emmy Fecteau put the Stingers in command up 3-1.

In the third period, the Stingers shut Ottawa down from any golden scoring opportunities while adding two more goals of their own, winning game one by a score of 5-1.

With the series shifting to Ottawa for game two, Concordia had the opportunity to win and clinch not only the RSEQ finals, but also the USports National Championship tournament.

The first period of game two had a similar feel to game one. Ottawa came out playing desperately, knowing their season was on the line. A penalty to the Stingers allowed the Gee-Gees to set up in their offensive zone and bury a shot past Stingers’ goaltender Jordyn Verbeek.

As the second period began, the response by Concordia was overshadowed by the staunch goaltending of Ottawa’s Aurélie Dubuc. All 39 shots through the first two periods were stopped by Dubuc, giving Ottawa the momentum to add another goal. The Stingers had not been down by two goals heading into the third period all season long, but that did not stop them from battling hard until the final buzzer.

Still down by two goals in the final minutes, the Stingers elected to pull their goalie and get the extra skater. It was shortly after when Concordia finally solved Dubuc. Running out of time and still needing a goal, the Stingers pulled their goalie once more. This time, they could not capitalize. Ottawa became the first team to beat the Stingers since the preseason on Oct. 1, more importantly forcing a game three back at the Ed Meagher Arena. It would be up to Concordia to turn the page quickly and not get shaken by the loss.

Turning the page is just what they did.

Three minutes into the first period, Stingers’ forward Chloé Gendreau opened the scoring giving Concordia a 1-0 lead and all the momentum. This was followed up by the Stingers scoring three more goals in just seven minutes to give them a 4-0 after the opening frame.

Once the second period began, the floodgates had fully opened. Five goals in a span of 10 minutes saw the Stingers in front by a 9-0 score after 40 minutes. In the final period of the game, the Stingers added four more goals to the scoresheet, crushing the Gee-Gees by a score of 13-0.

The win clinches Concordia a spot in both the RSEQ final as well as the USports National Championship tournament. The RSEQ final will begin on Feb. 29 at the Ed Meagher Arena, where the Stingers will play host to the rival Université de Montréal Carabins. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.

Following the end of the RSEQ season, the Stingers will head to the University of Saskatchewan, who will be hosting this year’s USports National Championship. The tournament will take place between March 14 and 17, and the matchups are yet to be determined.

Football Sports

Can the Montreal Alouettes win the Grey Cup?

The Alouettes are playing their best football at the right time of year.

The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) just completed their most successful regular season in 11 years, finishing with 11 wins and seven losses. This effort earned the squad a spot in the Grey Cup playoffs with home field advantage in the first round.

The CFL is the Canadian equivalent to the wildly-popular National Football League (NFL) in the United States. Although there are some differences in the rules between the two leagues, the CFL puts out a good brand of football to the spectators that have watched over its storied history. Locally, the Alouettes have won seven Grey Cup championships, most recently in 2010. In 2023, they will try to hoist the historic trophy once again.

This season has been successful for the Alouettes. The 2022 offseason saw the Alouettes lose quarterback Trevor Harris, as well as star wide receivers Jake Wieneke and Geno Lewis, but the team filled the spots successfully. Newly-acquired quarterback Cody Fajardo stayed healthy, something the Alouettes desperately needed, playing all 18 regular season games this year. He also found a connection with former NFL player Austin Mack, who finished the season fourth in passes caught among all CFL receivers.

These statistics are in large part due to Concordia alum Kristian Matte, who was a CFL East All-Star in 2019 and 2021, and the rest of the offensive line. Montreal’s strong defense protected Fajardo from getting sacked and helped keep opponents off the scoreboard. Montreal gave up the second-least amount of points this season.

On Nov. 4, the Alouettes hosted the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL Playoff East Semi-Final. In front of a 20,127 fan sell out at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, the Alouettes punched their ticket to the CFL Playoff East Final with a 27-12 win. Running back William Stanback led both teams in rushing yards, finishing the game with 95 and giving Fajardo extra options when passing yards were hard to come by.

This year’s East Semi-Final was a rematch from last year’s and so will be the East Final on Nov. 11 against the Toronto Argonauts. Last year, the Alouettes beat Hamilton 28-17, but ran into the Argonauts (who would go on to win the Grey Cup), losing a heartbreaker, 34-27. Montreal is hoping history doesn’t repeat itself in 2023.

It will surely be a tough test for the Alouettes this year if they want to clinch a berth in the 110th Grey Cup Final. Toronto finished this season with 16 victories out of 18 games and haven’t lost a single game at home. However, the Alouettes haven’t lost since Sep. 15, winning five straight games and finding themselves two wins away from becoming champions.


Who will be the American and National Leagues’ MLB MVPs in 2023?

With the regular season over, the debate is on for who should win the two MLB league MVPs.

After each Major League Baseball (MLB) season, fans debate over who is most deserving to win their respective league’s MVP title. Why is this such a hot topic of conversation? 

The MLB consists of two leagues—the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). The MLB selects two writers from each team’s city to submit a ballot on who they think should win MVP in each league. Once the votes are tallied and the two players are selected, the winners will go down in history with the greats, including the likes of Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.

This MLB season was a special one on the topic of MVP candidates.

In the NL, baseball fans witnessed an outstanding season from Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts. Betts finished top five in the MLB in hits, runs batted in (RBI), walks, runs scored and batting average— the amount of hits a batter gets in a season divided by the number of their at bats.

He also led the MLB in a new statistic that analysts like to use to weigh the skill of players called wins above replacement (WAR), the estimated amount of wins the player added to their team’s record in a season. Betts, who finished with 8.4 WAR, took home NL player of the month honours in August, hitting 11 home runs in 29 games.

While Betts’ season was one to remember, it is hard to overlook one of the most talented offences of all time, the Atlanta Braves—led by first baseman Matt Olson and right-fielder Ronald Acuña Jr., who formed a dangerous one-two punch all season long. 

Olson put up his career’s best numbers by far this year, hitting 54 home runs and 139 RBI, leading the MLB in both categories. He also played all 162 games during the regular season—only one other MLB player accomplished that this year. To top off his impressive season, Olson was one of the nine NL nominees for the Hank Aaron Award, granted to the best offensive player in each league. With a season like this, he has a good shot at winning league MVP, but with the talent across the NL this season, it is certainly not a run away.

Meanwhile, Acuña Jr. had one of the best offensive years in MLB history. Acuña Jr. became the first player in MLB history to hit 40 home runs (41 total) and steal 70 bases (73 total) in the same season. To put this into perspective, the next closest player to this performance never got over 50 stolen bases. Acuña Jr., the three-time 2023 NL player of the month winner, finished the year top five in almost every category one can think of and managed to get on base 42 per cent of all plate appearances. Acuña Jr.’s historic year was simply remarkable and is one that should secure him the NL MVP in 2023.

Like in the NL, the AL had no shortage of skill. Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager put together a nice year, leading the AL in doubles and finishing top five in various categories. With a 6.9 WAR in 2023, Seager helped carry his team from 68 wins in 2022 to 90 wins and a playoff berth in 2023. The all-star had a very good year and will be essential to his team’s success in the playoffs.

Despite Seager putting up a personal best year in the statistics department, it does not seem to be a close race between him and the batter/pitcher hybrid who is considered to many as the best all-around player of all time, Shohei Ohtani. Before being shut down late in the season due to injuries, Ohtani finished with a phenomenal 10 WAR to lead the MLB. Not only did Ohtani lead the AL in many of the major offensive statistical categories, but he also had a very solid year on the mound. In 2023, Ohtani won 10 of the 15 games he pitched in, threw a complete-game shut-out, and was the only batter in the MLB to pitch as a starter.

Had the 2022 AL MVP Aaron Judge not sustained the foot injury that kept him on the sideline for two months, we may be having a different discussion about who should win MVP. But with these statistics, especially with 27 games missed, Ohtani could be the clear winner for AL MVP in 2023.

The 2023 season will go down in MLB history as one of the most entertaining to watch. With the playoffs underway, time will tell who wins their respective leagues’ MVP award. Once the World Series concludes, the winners will be announced. World Series Championship or not, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Shohei Ohtani should be making some space in their trophy cabinets.


Concordia’s men’s and women’s hockey teams advance in the playoffs

Both Stingers hockey teams sweep their opponents in their best-of-three series

Stingers men’s hockey will play UQTR in OUA semifinals

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team sweeps McGill in a best-of-three series in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarterfinals. The Stingers will be facing off against the Patriotes of the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières (UQTR) in the OUA semifinals.

Game 1 will be taking place in Trois-Rivières next Wednesday, March 1, with Game 2 at Concordia on March 3, and Game 3 back at UQTR on March 5 if necessary.

The Stingers finished the regular season ranked second in the OUA East division, right between UQTR and McGill, with both the Stingers and the Patriotes earning themselves a first-round bye and sweeping their opponents in the quarterfinals.

In what was an intense and physical battle, the Stingers came out on top, beating the McGill Redbirds 6-3 in Game 1 and 4-0 in Game 2.

Although the Stingers had a 1-3 record against the Patriotes this regular season, they have shown, night in and night out, that you can’t count them out. They always come out to play, especially in the third period, and this could be a game-changer for them in this series.

Concordia Stingers women’s hockey vs. Bishop’s Gaiters in RSEQ semifinals, 2023. Kyran Thicke/ Concordia Athletics

Stingers women’s hockey will face Montreal in RSEQ final

For the second year in a row, the Stingers’ women’s hockey team is headed to the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) final. This year, it was following a sweep of the Bishop’s University Gaiters in a best-of-three series.

The Stingers have also clinched a spot in the U Sports National Championship, starting on March 16.

The defending provincial and national champs will be facing the University of Montreal Carabins in the RSEQ final.

Game 1 vs. Montreal will be taking place on Thursday, March 2 at the Ed Meagher Arena, Game 2 on March 4 at the CEPSUM arena, and Game 3 back at Concordia on March 5 if necessary.

The Stingers finished the regular season first in the RSEQ, with the University of Montreal in second place, giving Concordia home-ice advantage.

The Stingers dominated the series against the Gaiters, winning both games with a score of 5-1. The Montreal vs. Ottawa series needed overtime in the third game to determine the winner.

Concordia had a 3-2 record against Montreal in the regular season. As it’s been the case all season long, Stingers hockey never disappoints, so this will make for an entertaining RSEQ final.


A first in four years for the Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2016

The world of sports has been shaken by COVID-19. Major League Baseball (MLB), 2020–21 was shortened to a 60-game season, which forced the league to modify its postseason format.

Compared to what would normally be 10 teams in normal seasons, this year’s MLB postseason allows 16 teams to compete for the title. With a 32-28 record, the Toronto Blue Jays took the eighth and last spot in the American League and qualified for the wild-card series round.

Even if their last World Series championship dates back to 1993, the Blue Jays have given their fans many great memories during their recent postseason appearances. From Jose Bautista’s bat flip in 2015 to being one series away from playing in the World Series in 2016, the MLB’s only Canadian team always seems to find a way to stand out.

Despite having given sports leagues many organizational and scheduling problems, the pandemic seems to have been oddly helpful for Canadian teams. In hockey, six Canadian teams qualified for this year’s National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs, including the Montreal Canadiens, who were ranked 24th out of 31 teams in the NHL when the season was stopped in March.

The Habs were the 24th and last team to enter this year’s unique NHL playoff format, despite their 31-31-9 record. For the Blue Jays, the situation was pretty similar, as they took advantage of a reduced schedule to win just enough games to punch their ticket into the postseason.

Final thoughts:

Win or not, the postseason is always a great opportunity for players to gain experience and learn. COVID-19 has no doubt been a worldwide problem, but every positive moment and vibe created must be embraced, and the Blue Jays making the postseason is definitely one of them.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Stingers men’s basketball team’s season ends in disappointment

The Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team started this 2019-20 Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) season as league’s defending champions.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t defend their title.

Head coach Rastko Popovic described last year’s championship as the result of years of hard work.There’s never a guarantee of winning in sports, he said at the beginning of 2019-20, and each season is a new start and a new challenge.

After losing 78-71 to the Bishop’s University Gaiters in the RSEQ semi-finals last month, Popovic described the 2019-20 season as a “challenging” one.

“It was obviously disappointing at the end with the result,” said Popovic. “Yet, with the injuries we had, we were forced to do some things differently. We were still able, after losing Adrian Armstrong almost half of the season and Cedrick Bryan Coriolan almost a quarter of the season, to adjust with the younger guys.”

Despite those challenges, the head coach said it helped watching the team’s younger players develop throughout the season.

“Yes, we wanted to win a championship, but we understand we still got a good season where guys got better and improved in many areas. I think we proved a lot,” said Popovic.

Armstrong and Coriolan played their fifth and final seasons with the Stingers. Both were a huge part of the team’s success over the past couple years, including their 2019 championship year.

Armstrong finished 2019-20 as the RSEQ top-10 in a lot of the division’s individual university basketball statistics categories, including for scoring, steals and assists. Coriolan was named in the second all-star team in the RSEQ last season.

Popovic said a mix of everything in the Stingers’ season made things tough for the team. Although he said the team wasn’t bad, he pointed out they often had to deal with different lineups because of injuries.

“I think defensively we were good enough to have a chance to win the [championship], but offensively we didn’t play well enough,” said Popovic. “I think the inconsistency on the offensive end ended us losing our playoff game,” he said.

In 11 games played in his rookie season, Sami Jahan registered impressive numbers, scoring 147 points, 61 rebounds and 33 assists. Popovic thought Jahan played good games as a rookie and really was a positive this season despite not winning the championship. He said the team has many rookies who improved and will continue to be a big part of the Stingers in the future.

“Jahan had a huge progression from Christmas to the end of the season,” said Popovic. “He showed he can be a potential starter for us next year with the way he played. Aleksa Popadic was starting to have a good rookie year as well before he got hurt. I think those guys really improved as rookies. Ali White showed good flashes as well. I think the progression there was good.”

Yet, Jahan’s improvement in his first year really stood out for Popovic. For the head coach, it’s the most positive aspect to take out of the season.

“He showed that he belongs at this level of competition and that he can compete [in this league],” Popovic said. “He was able to do things that are required to compete here and have success at this level.”

Next season should be an interesting one for the Stingers. After going through the 2019-20 season with a fairly young group, the 2020-21 edition of the Stingers should boast an older squad, filled with second and third-year players.

Popovic said that his coaching staff will reevaluate their offensive and defensive schemes once they’ve completed their recruiting rounds.

“We’ll probably [bring some changes] in our plays, and Jahan will probably get more minutes, but right now it’s too early to tell,” Popovic said. “We’ll probably be faster with him. We’ll still have Olivier Simon and Sami Ghandour. We’ll need to make sure those guys will be the leaders of our team.”

Simon and Ghandour will be the only two fifth-year players in the lineup next season. Simon finished the season sixth in the league for points with 244, fourth in rebounds with 114 and third in blocks with 12. Ghandour finished third in rebounds with 116 and tenth in blocks with seven. Both have played a huge role in the team since joining it.

Photos by Laurence Brisson Dubreuil


Reflecting on the Stingers women’s hockey team’s breakthrough season

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team spent all but one week as the best team in U Sports during the 2019-20 season.

For 14 weeks straight, the Stingers were voted to the No. 1 spot—and for good reason. This was the best regular season of Julie Chu’s head coaching tenure. The Stingers finished as the top team in the RSEQ (arguably the toughest division in U Sports) with a 15-3-1-1 record.

The Stingers were forced to hold off the Université de Montreal (UdeM) Carabins and McGill Martlets. All three of these teams should have consistently been ranked in the U Sports top five every week this season. All season long, not only did the Stingers survive those games against UdeM and McGill, they thrived, consistently winning hard-fought matches. The Stingers won the RSEQ division title for the first time since 2004-05.

Even though this team preached the “one game at a time” mentality, going into the playoffs, the expectations were that the Stingers would be heading to Charlottetown, P.E.I., to push for a national championship. Those expectations came to a crashing halt during the semi-finals of the RSEQ playoffs when the Stingers lost the best-of-three series to the Carabins.


Let’s start with the positives: they scored goals like nobody’s business, they fired a TON of shots on net. The systems on special teams figured themselves out and proved to be impactful. I’m sure if U Sports kept track of possession numbers, the Stingers would be close to the top as well. But the Stingers’ success this season was in large part due to the following two reasons.

Proving themselves

Three seasons ago, the Stingers won bronze at nationals. If that proved that the Stingers had the ability to compete with top teams, this season proved that they are a top team.

Despite not making it to the national championship this season, the Stingers proved themselves as a force in U Sports. No other team in Canada would have fared as well in the RSEQ as they did. Chu has built a team designed for long-term success in a gruelling division. She’s brought in rookies capable of immediately becoming impact players. Veterans play key roles in creating that winning culture. Goaltending continues to be one of the most underrated aspects of this team.


Individual talent


The Stingers played well as a team all season, but it didn’t hurt to have some of the top players in the country either. Rosalie Bégin-Cyr led the RSEQ in points with 28 in 20 games (she also led the U Sports top scorers in PPG).

Claudia Dubois capped off her five-year run with Concordia by being named team captain and becoming one of the best two-way forwards in U Sports. She also put up 23 points—the highest point total of her career—to finish second in RSEQ scoring, only behind Bégin-Cyr.

Audrey Belzile continues to be one of the most exciting players in U Sports and scored 22 points during the season. Brigitte Laganière exploded for 18 assists on defence, all while becoming one of the premier defenders in the division.


Alice Philbert went 12-4, sported a 1.99 GAA and 0.921 SV% while backstopping the Stingers to a division title. On any other team, Philbert is THE star player. On the Stingers, she flies under the radar more than she should. Emmy Fecteau led all RSEQ rookies with 17 points and played on the top line for a good chunk of the season.

So it shouldn’t come as a shock that the team cleaned up at the RSEQ awards. Chu won her second Coach of the Year award, Bégin-Cyr was named the division’s MVP and Fecteau was named RSEQ Rookie of the Year. Bégin-Cyr, Belzile and Laganière were all named First Team All-Stars. Alexandra Nikolidakis and Dubois were named Second Team All-Stars.

Now, remember that this team is only losing two players to graduation this year. With this type of talent returning to the roster, the expectations for next season are already sky-high.

Six-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has a great quote in the Netflix series Drive to Survive that goes “It’s easier to chase than to lead.” I think that sentiment sums up the Stingers pretty well this year.

They were vaulted to the top of the U Sports rankings in Week 2 and they held the position until the end of the regular season. For 14 weeks, the Stingers played with a target on their back. They managed to push past this, but you could tell that they were getting their opponents’ best every single night. Not many teams took days off against Concordia.

Despite this, even from a critical standpoint, the Stingers’ faults were either minor or addressed.

By no means did the Stingers get complacent—quite the opposite is true. All season, Chu spoke about how she and her team were focused on fixing the chinks in their armour. As the season progressed, the team won games by playing faster than anyone else. And all season long, that style and mentality worked. The team won a lot. They scored a lot. They played their game. Even the Stingers’ power play struggles managed to turn around and the team finished at 15 per cent.

Unfortunately, sometimes you play a team that just figures it out.

In the semi-finals, the Stingers struggled to gain momentum against the Carabins because they played a different style. While the Stingers focused on getting the pucks to the slot through speed, the Carabins played along the boards, keeping the Stingers to the outside and forcing the puck into scoring chances. The Game 3 shot map shows this well.

During the regular season, the Stingers were able to win those battles. In the playoffs, it was the Carabins who won those same battles. Credit where credit’s due, the Carabins played a great playoff series, a series that can be added to the ever-growing rivalry between the two squads.

While the Stingers are probably disappointed in how their season ended, there’s no way this stops the momentum the program has built over the past three seasons.

Even though the Stingers won’t be making the trip to P.E.I., make no mistake—this is a team capable of competing for a national championship next season.

Photos by Cecilia Piga


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


Concordia 3, Carleton 1: The Stingers have caught fire and are a breath away from a championship

The underdog upset has actually been completed.

The Concordia Stingers, who had just 31 points and 13 wins in the regular season, have swept the OUA’s top team, the Carleton Ravens.

These are the Ravens that shutout the Stingers in the first game of the year, finished the season with 49 points and just four losses, and were ranked as the third best team in Canada.

Not one word of that mattered when the Stingers took the ice Saturday night.

“The good guys came out on top,” said Stingers defenceman Carl Neill.

In an arena with a crowd that spent the night cheering and chanting (a few creative ones got thrown Carleton’s way, particularly by the Stingers football players in attendance), the Stingers’ play was as electric as the atmosphere that threatened to blow the roof off the Ed Meagher Arena.

Like last week against McGill, the Stingers were a model of efficiency.

They generated chances from different areas to keep the Ravens defense guessing, the controlled play with simple, smartly executed rushes, and they shut down almost every chance that came their way.

It wasn’t always pretty. It was always smothering, fast, and effective.

The team was roaring at every level of play. Their forwards were pushing the Ravens into their own end and forcing them to scramble. The D broke up play after play while joining the rush and goalie Kyle Jessiman showed up big (more on him later).

The second period against the Ravens may have been their best of the season. Three goals, over 20 shots, few chances against, and a sense of dominance.

“It looked like the ice was tilted in their end. The puck wasn’t getting out and we had a bunch of  chances. When they did get a few chances, [Jessiman] stood on his head,” said Neill.

While the game was a good example of every player rolling, Jessiman and a few others shined. The rookie goalie shut down everything, earning chants of “MVP” from the crowd, particularly after two late saves in the second that both looked like sure goals.

The team’s second line was also unstoppable. Jean-Philippe Beaulieu played the game of his life, scoring two goals and stymieing Carleton chances all night. He, along with Chase Harwell and Felix Lauzon shut down Carleton while creating chance after chance offensively.

“I wouldn’t even say it’s the second line. I’d say it’s a 1a/1b situation. That’s huge for us. That depth is what you need in the playoffs,” said rookie Tyler Hylland.

Now the Stingers find themselves in the OUA East finals. Two wins from a spot at nationals. It’s been a bumpy road, but one that they feel has made them stronger.

They battled for their position in the standings all season, finishing fifth in the division.

The Stingers were plagued with injuries, losing both starting goaltenders, their top veteran forward for half the year, one of their top rookie recruits, and up to eight players on a given night.

They also dealt with several suspensions, including one to one of their top players in Neill. Adversity has been a frequently used word around the team.

We were frustrated by bad luck. Injuries, suspensions. It felt like we could never get our full team out there,” said Hylland.

The team believed in itself though. One thing kept being repeated: “when we’re at our best we can compete with anyone in the country.”

It may have sounded off early in the year, but when they caught fire after Christmas, when the team was finally healthy and added Jessiman in net and Lauzon on the wing, it began to look more and more true.

They were competing with, and beating, top teams. All of a sudden the offense was potent and they were allowing fewer and fewer goals.

[We’re] starting to play like the team that we are,” said Neill.

Now, they’ve solidified themselves as true contenders. They’ve beaten rival McGill in a close series and swept one of the best teams in the country. They’re riding the high of underdog wins against teams that they certainly don’t like.

The mood is great for the Stingers.

“This is one of the best years in my entire career,” said Sanche. “The guys are having fun and it shows on the ice. We’ve been having fun since after Christmas. Even when we lost four in a row. Then we just started rolling. The boys got onto the bus and they’re playing simple, great hockey.”

The Stingers will take on the Ottawa Gee Gees in the OUA East Final, a team they had a 2-1-0 record against in the regular season.

While they may not have entered the playoffs at the top of the standings, they came into the postseason winning four games in a row and six of their last seven. Back then, Hylland said that regardless of their position in the standings, teams knew they didn’t want to play Concordia.

Two playoff series and another four game win streak later, and the Stingers have certainly proven that they’re not a team anyone should look forward to facing.


Photos by Alex Hutchins


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

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