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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 

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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

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The Buzz: Stingers weekend recap

Football, rugby, and soccer wrap up their respective postseasons, and regular season hockey is underway

Stingers men’s rugby wins fourth consecutive RSEQ title

Stingers defeated McGill 33-0 at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Jean-Christophe Vinette led the Stingers with two tries, and Luca Milne earned MVP honours in a game in which the Redbirds never took off. 

McGill and Concordia finished the regular season at 5-1 apiece, but the Redbirds went into the postseason as the first seed. The Stingers’ dominant showing was another feather on the cap for Concordia’s rugby dynasty. 

RSEQ football semifinals versus Laval ends Stingers season early 

Also on Saturday, the Stingers football team travelled to TELUS Stadium to face the Laval Rouge et Or, where Concordia ultimately lost 30-10. 

The Stingers offence led the RSEQ in many major aspects, but was essentially shut down by Laval. Stingers quarterback Olivier Roy threw for 283 passing yards but couldn’t score a touchdown and was sacked four times. 

The Stingers ended the 2021 RSEQ regular season at 4-4, an improvement from their performance in 2019, where they finished the season at 2-6.  

Concordia men’s soccer lose in RSEQ semifinal to Montreal

Concordia faced the first-placed Carabins in the playoffs on Friday at CEPSUM, where the Stingers lost 2-0. 

Stingers midfielder Anthony Phelps was the team’s MVP of the match, while Carabins’ Quentin Paumier earned the honour for Montreal by securing the game-winning goal in the opening minutes of the match. 

Concordia finished the regular season with a 5-4-3 record, and Stingers fourth-year midfielder Mohammad Reza Nafar led the RSEQ regular season in goals (7) and points (11).

Stingers men’s and women’s hockey seasons start strong

As sports gradually make the transition to indoor activity with winter around the corner, both the men’s and women’s hockey teams took to the ice over the weekend. 

Looking to bounce back from the loss in their home opener versus McGill on Nov. 3, the men’s team did just that in their 3-0 victory over the UQTR Patriotes on Friday. Stingers rookie Maxim Trépanier scored the game-winning goal in the first minute of the second period on the power-play.

The women’s team went into the weekend with a disappointing 0-2 record, but returned to form on Saturday with a 4-0 victory over Bishop’s at home in the Ed Meagher Arena, followed by a convincing 2-0 win on the road against Montreal on Sunday afternoon.

 

Graphic by James Fay

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Stingers 37 Gee-Gees 21: Concordia advance to RSEQ final

Stingers rally from behind to eliminate Ottawa in the RSEQ men’s rugby semi-final

The Gee-Gees got off to a hot start with a 14-3 lead to start the game by dominating possession. In the second part of the first half, Concordia was able to switch up momentum and return to their locker room at halftime up 22-14.

Stingers head coach John Lavery was not surprised by the way his team handled adversity after being in the hole early. 

“There are some experienced guys in this group that have been in a lot of big games before and they know how to handle pressure,” Lavery said. “Our leaders led, but not by talking. They led by action. They executed some stuff and put way more physical pressure on the opposition than they had in the first fifteen minutes.”

Ottawa came out at the start of the second half and scored early, making the game 25-21. Following the Ottawa try, both teams would go back and forth, resulting in almost 25 minutes of scoreless action.

However, Concordia never took their foot off the gas and added two more tries to seal the game. The last one came with only two minutes left and capped off a very intense match between two of the RSEQ’s best teams in the regular season. The final score of 37-21 surely pleased the crowd present at Concordia Stadium.

It was the second time this year that the Stingers have beaten the Gee-Gees. The last time they met, Concordia had beaten Ottawa 30-17. 

The Stingers will now be heading to their fourth consecutive RSEQ men’s rugby final where they will be facing the McGill Redbirds. A win would also mark a fourth consecutive provincial championship.

Lavery is expecting another competitive game against the team that finished first in the regular season.

“It’s going to be more or less the same. I will back us all day, but to be fair, I do not think there are going to be easy games between now and the time we’re done,” Lavery said. 

McGill will be highly motivated for the game as they will be seeking revenge on their cross-town rivals. They were defeated by Concordia 14-6 in a tightly contested match on Oct. 2. The Stingers had also eliminated them in the last RSEQ final in 2019 by a score of 38-19. 

This time however, Concordia will not be holding the home-field advantage in what has a chance to be their fourth straight title.  

 

Photograph by Aashka Patel

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Men’s basketball team heads to second-straight final

79-71 win against Bishop’s Gaiters a result of team effort

The Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team advanced to the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) final for a second year in a row. They beat the Bishop’s Gaiters 79-71 in the semi-final on Wednesday night at the Concordia Gym.

The Stingers will now host the RSEQ final after playing it at McGill last year. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

“So many guys stepped up; it’s a great win. I am really proud of the guys,” said head coach Rastko Popovic. “It’s all about team culture. Guys understand that they need to work hard; they want to listen. We pushed them to be the best.”

The Stingers had the lead for most of the game, except at the beginning of the fourth quarter when the Gaiters pushed back for a four-point lead.

That did not last long because the Stingers were hot from three-point range, finishing 11 three-point shots in the game. One of those was a highlight-reel from centre-court by Adrian Armstrong, who finished the game with 22 points.

After last year’s defeat in the final against McGill, the Stingers know what they must do to win the title. “Guys were not celebrating in the locker room. They know that it’s not our goal,” Popovic said. “That’s what I like about our guys”.

Adrian Armstrong made six of his 14 shots from three-point range. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

The Stingers now host the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Citadins, who beat McGill in the first semi-final, Saturday night at 7 p.m..

“We know that they are going to come hard; they have nothing to lose, it’s in our home court,” the head coach added. “We are looking forward to the challenge.”

Armstrong was happy about his performance but he is focusing on the next game. “It’s day-to-day. Now we focus on UQAM,” Armstrong said. “We know it’s going to be a tough game.”

In four games against the Citadins this season, the Stingers went 2-2, winning both games at home.

Main photo by Gabe Chevalier.

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Stingers end Martlets title run in semi-final win

Concordia scores 19 points in final five minutes to move onto to RSEQ final

The Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team ended the McGill Martlets title run in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-final. They won 62-55 at the Concordia Gym Wednesday night, ending McGill’s seven-year run as champions.

The Stingers missed the playoffs last year with a 4-12 record, and get to play in the final this year. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

After domination in the first quarter that gave the Stingers a 19-9 lead, they saw the Martlets coming back in the second quarter. The score was 30-29 for Concordia at halftime, and the Martlets took the lead in the third quarter. Concordia trailed behind and were losing by eight with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Stingers went on a 19-4 run to close out the game and get the win.

“I thought they showed a lot of character,” said head coach Tenicha Gittens, who was happy with her team’s performance. “When you are down seven points, it’s easy to just get down but we came back […]. You can get tired but you won’t be playing tomorrow. You can be tired next month.”

Gittens added that defence kept them in the game in the second half, allowing only 26 points. “Offensively, [the shots] were not falling,” Gittens said. “Our girls did a good job adjusting during the fourth quarter.

A team filled with rookies, this was the first playoff experience for most of them. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

Gittens also saw leadership from guards Caroline Task and forward Coralie Dumont when it mattered. Dumont played 39 of 40 minutes, collecting nine rebounds and scoring eight points. Rookie guard Myriam Leclerc also played 39 minutes, and had the most points in the game with 28.

“We never gave up,” Task said. “We had ups and downs, everybody played their part in the game.”

The Stingers will play the Université de Laval Rouge et Or on Saturday in Quebec City in the RSEQ final. The 15-1 Rouge et Or beat Concordia all four times this season, but only won by two points in their last meeting on Feb. 21.

“They won it last time but we’ll win it when it matters,” Task said about the final. “I am really excited. We played them last week and we fell short by two points and that means nothing. We know what we need to do to win the next game.”

The Stingers return to the final after losing to McGill in 2017. Laval will be looking to avenge their loss at last year’s finals, also against the Martlets.

Main photo by Gabe Chevalier.

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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.

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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.

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Laval eliminates Stingers

The Laval Rouge et Or will head to the provincial finals after dismantling the Concordia Stingers 33-7 in Sainte-Foy on Saturday. Laval will host the Montréal Carabins this coming Saturday for the Dunsmore Cup, while the Stingers will be left to reflect on their season.

“I don’t think that our players played poorly,” said Concordia coach Gerry McGrath. “I think we’re a young team and our players were just overwhelmed from playing in an atmosphere like that. They go from playing in front of 1,000 people every week to 12,000 [at Laval].”

The Rouge et Or got it going early as quarterback Bruno Prud’homme completed passes of 22 and 33 yards to receiver Seydou Junior Haidara, setting up a 34-yard field goal by Boris Bede.

After a two-and-out from Concordia, Laval quickly marched down the field with a seven-play, 74-yard drive in less than four minutes, culminating in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Prud’homme to Guillaume Rioux.

Laval added two more field goals and a team safety before the end of the first quarter, to take a 18-0 lead. After the first, Concordia only had three yards of offence. Playing Laval is hard enough and being down 18 after one quarter is mission impossible.

To make matters worse, the Rouge et Or didn’t slow down in the second. On their first possession of the quarter, Prud’homme found Adam Thibault on a 63-yard pass to get inside the Stingers’ five-yard line. Sebastien Levesque finished off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 25-0. Laval added a field goal in the last minute of the half to go into the break up 28-0.

Laval tacked on five points in the third quarter after a 41-yard Bede field goal and a team safety. Bede was five-for-five on field goals. Up 33-0, Laval pulled its starters, and began resting up for their showdown against the Carabins.

The high point for Concordia was breaking Laval’s shutout in the final minute of the game. Kris Robertson returned a punt 59 yards to the Laval 11-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Reid Quest found Matt Scheurwater for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 33 seconds left. That was hardly any consolation, though, after a difficult afternoon.

“It was a tough loss,” said Robertson. “It just came down to execution. We didn’t execute on everything we should have. Laval is a good team and you need to have a perfect game to beat them. We just didn’t have a perfect game.”

Quest finished the game 20-of-31 with 237 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Many of Concordia’s yards came when the game was out of reach. Credit has to go to Laval, though, as they have been the perennial powerhouse of Quebec for the last decade.

“That’s a great team,” said McGrath. “I think as our team matures and grows, we’ll be able to compete with them. I know we’ll be better. I know the season just ended, but I already can’t wait for next year.”

 

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