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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.

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Stingers hockey takes the ice for Pride Weekend!

The teams take two out of a possible four points against Ottawa as playoffs draw closer.

The Ed Meagher Arena was home to the first annual Pride Weekend on Feb. 3 and 4. Organized iIn partnership with Queer Concordia, Pride Weekend is an event that is very important for the Stingers’ organization. 

“For our team, we always talk about creating an inclusive environment,” said Stingers women’s hockey head coach Julie Chu. “Whether it’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or your ethnicity, it is about coming to a place where everybody can figure out who they are in a safe and welcoming environment.” 

With the festivities underway, the Stingers’ men’s hockey team kicked off the busy weekend of action as they faced off against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.

The two teams played tight defense through the first thirty minutes of the game as the physicality kept scoring opportunities to a minimum. Mid-way through the second period, the Gee-Gees finally opened the scoring on a shot that beat goaltender Jordan Naylor. Despite the momentum shifting to the road team, the Stingers struck back seconds later. Stingers’ forward Mathieu Bizier beat Ottawa goaltender Franky Lapenna to cap a dominant shift in the Gee-Gees’ zone, tying the game 1-1.

As the third period began, the intensity between the two teams continued. A big collision along the boards resulted in a power play that Ottawa would take advantage of in a big way. Two goals in a matter of seconds put the Gee-Gees up 3-1 with 10 minutes remaining. Yet, the Stingers would respond again.

A power play opportunity for the Stingers saw forward Tyler Hylland find the back of the net with eight minutes remaining, shifting the momentum back on the home side.

However, a slew of shots and another power play opportunity were not enough for the Stingers to pull even, and Ottawa escaped with a 3-2 victory on the road.

“I found tonight was kind of a playoff game,” Stingers’ head coach Marc-André Elément shared post game. “It’s going to be those types of games in the playoffs and I think we just need to learn from games like [tonight] and get better.”

The Stingers men’s hockey team will wrap up their regular season on Feb. 8 against the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Stingers Defender Kyle Havlena sporting pride tape on his stick blade.
Photo Credit: Concordia Athletics

As Pride Weekend continued, it was time for the Stingers women’s hockey team to take to the ice for their game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees. It did not take long for the Stingers to get on the board first.

Defender Sandrine Veillette found a seam that beat the Ottawa goaltender six minutes into the game, giving the Stingers a 1-0 lead early. Four minutes later, defender Alexandra-Anne Boyer extended the Stingers’ lead on the power play making it a 2-0 game.

The Gee-Gees would get a goal back late in the first period, but forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr would respond with a goal of her own to regain the two-goal cushion.

Chippy play and staunch goaltending was the story for the majority of the second and third periods. While the teams had a total of 10 power plays in the final 40 minutes of the game, the defenders stood their ground and kept each team off the scoreboard in key moments of the game.

As the clock ran down, Stingers goaltender Arianne Leblanc earned her ninth of the season while the team improved to a perfect 22-0-0 regular season record.

Coach Chu shared post game what the win means to the team. “For sure we have things coming out of each game that we want to work on and get better at in the next week. We will make sure that we keep focusing on one game at a time and make the most of every opportunity.”

It is another big win for the Stingers as it concludes a festive weekend of events.

The Stingers women’s hockey team will continue their sensational regular season campaign on Feb. 9 when they face off against the Bishop’s University Gaiters. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

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Concordia Stingers Defeat Queen’s Gaels 5-0 in Final Playoff Tune-Up

The Stingers’ men’s hockey team has won their final six regular season games, finishing with a 19-7-0 record

It was a meaningless game for the Stingers, who were locked into second place in the OUA East Division and guaranteed a first-round bye. Other than keeping their winning streak alive, they had nothing to play for. Stingers’ head coach Marc-André Elément said he healthy scratched several key players in order to avoid injuries before the playoffs.

“I’m happy that one is done,” he said. “I’m happy there were no injuries and we’re ready for the playoffs.”

Elément was not worried about the result of this game going in, but he wanted his team to play the right way and hone its game for the postseason. The Stingers certainly accomplished that.

“We did the little details. We did enough to win that game,” he said.

The night started on an emotional note for the Stingers. Forward Alexander Katerinakis and defenceman Marcus Tesink were honoured by the Stingers’ coaching staff before Concordia’s last regular season game. They are both scheduled to graduate in the spring.

The Stingers started the game slowly, putting up just two shots on goal in the opening period. But goaltender Jonathan Lemieux stood tall, making several tough saves, and the Stingers escaped the first period tied 0-0.

Concordia dominated the rest of the way, outshooting the Gaels 28-13 in the final two periods. Stingers’ forwards Julien Anctil, Charles Tremblay, and Tyler Hylland all scored in the second half of the middle frame to give the Stingers a 3-0 lead with 20 minutes to play. Stingers’ forward Émile Hegarty-Aubin and defenceman Samuel Desgroseilliers added insurance markers in the third period to clinch the 5-0 win.

Lemieux ended his spectacular rookie season on a positive note, making 21 saves for his third shutout of the season. In his 21 appearances between the posts this season, Lemieux allowed more than two goals only five times. He finished the season with a 16-4-0 record and a 0.933 save percentage. But he had high praise for his team.

“The guys blocked a lot of shots tonight,” he said. “We wanted to finish strong. On my part, it was really about keeping it simple and playing my game.”

He emphasized that the team’s character is just as important as the team’s talent.

“We have a lot of talent, but when we don’t work as hard, it doesn’t go so well,” he explained. “We have certain older guys, Katerinakis, [Phélix] Martineau, Hylland…they are going to lead by example in the playoffs.”

Anctil was named the first star of the game after registering a goal and two assists, bringing his totals to three goals and 13 points in 22 regular season games.

“I think it’s an important win at the end of season before starting the playoffs,” he said. “We’re starting the playoffs on the right foot.”

But Anctil said that the Stingers, despite winning six straight games, still have aspects of the game to work on during their bye week.

“We have two weeks to work on small details,” he explained. “We were lacking a bit of execution in zone exits and things like that,” he added.

Elément said the coaching staff will “make sure we keep the guys sharp in practices” so the long layoff does not make the team rusty. He also noted that the bye week will help his injured players recuperate in time for their second-round matchup.

The OUA playoffs consist of three rounds of best-of-three series followed by one final game to decide the Queen’s Cup champion on March 11.

The Stingers now await the winner of the first-round series between Ontario Tech and Carleton University, who sit in fourth and fifth place in the OUA East Division respectively. The Stingers’ second-round series will begin no earlier than Feb. 22.

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The Concordia Stingers’ strong third period leads to an 8-2 win against the Ottawa Gee-Gees

The Stingers’ men’s hockey team scores six unanswered goals in the third period leading to a big victory to end the semester

The Concordia Stingers’ men’s hockey team ended the semester on a high note as they defeated the Ottawa Gee-Gees 8-2 with six unanswered goals in the third period at the Ed Meagher Arena on Dec. 4.

The Stingers find themselves in the U Sports top 10 for a fifth consecutive week following their win on Sunday and a 5-1 win against the Carleton Ravens on Dec. 3.

The game started off with a few quick goals by the Stingers. Forward Nicholas Girouard opened the scoring around the halfway mark of the first period, from a pass by right-winger Charles Tremblay in the corner. It only took two minutes for Stingers’ right-winger Charles-Antoine Paiement to double his team’s lead.

However, four minutes later, Gee-Gees’ forward Bradley Chenier brought them closer to tying the game. They eventually tied it early in the middle frame, with a shorthanded goal from forward Charles-Antoine Roy.

After being held scoreless in the second period, the Stingers attacked early in the third, scoring three goals in three minutes.

Stingers’ head coach Marc-André Elément said he regrouped his players in the middle of the room during the second intermission.

“I told them we had to learn from the first two periods and then we had success, we started scoring goals,” he said, adding that the team responded well.

Stingers’ defenceman Kyle Havlena broke the tie five minutes into the final frame with a snipe. About a minute later, it was Stingers’ forward Mathieu Bizier’s turn to score after a Gee-Gees turnover behind their net.

“Trépanier was able to make the pass to the front [of the net] and I had all the time I wanted to put it in the net, so that was really easy,” Bizier said.

After another minute had passed, Stingers’ left-winger Isiah Campbell scored on the rebound after an initial shot by defenceman Samuel Desgroseilliers.

After a 5-2 lead for Concordia, things seemed to calm down as Ottawa switched goaltenders. But the Stingers weren’t close to being done. They kept pressuring the Gee-Gees and scored three more goals in the last six minutes.

Left-winger Maxim Trépanier scored from the front of the net, after a pass from defenceman Nathan Lavoie from behind the net. Bizier got his second goal of the game from a pass by Girouard. The eighth and final goal was scored by left-winger Émile Hegarty-Aubin, after an effort by defenceman Simon Dubois to lead the Ottawa goaltender to the right side, leaving Hegarty-Aubin in front of an open net.

The team was happy to end the year with a significant 8-2 victory.

“It’s a lot of fun, we were really happy to get a big win, I think we really deserved it,” Bizier said.

Elément added that it feels good to end the year with such a win, especially considering how close the standings are this season.

“We’ll get the injured guys back [during the break] and we’re going to regroup and get ready for the other half of the season,” the coach said.

The Stingers will be back on Jan. 7, 2023, hosting the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.

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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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Ontario Tech 6, Concordia 4: Stingers season cut short

Stingers men’s hockey team show resilience in disappointing loss in OUA East quarterfinal

After a difficult week, the Stingers couldn’t match the execution of the Ridgebacks in a tense battle at Ed Meagher Arena on Mar. 16.

Ahead of their quarterfinal matchup, Concordia lost key players during practice, including defenceman Alexandre Desgagnés who suffered a wrist injury. Regardless of the circumstances, the team was unable to play to its full potential.

“In this league, if you want to win, you have to play for sixty minutes. We didn’t do that tonight,” said Marc-André Elément, the Stingers head coach.

This game marked the end of a solid overall season for the men’s hockey team. CATHERINE REYNOLD/THE CONCORDIAN

Concordia started strong thanks to Maxim Trépanier, who opened the scoring at around four minutes into the game with the assistance of Zachary Zorn and centre Jeffrey Durocher. 

Durocher added another point near the 10 minute mark, thanks to passes from Trépanier and Concordia’s captain Phélix Martineau. However, this wasn’t enough to overcome the dynamic offence of Ontario Tech. Thanks to the effort of Nicolas Tardif, Jack Patterson and Sean Ross, the road team maintained a 3-2 lead by the end of the first period.

Martineau was able to tie the game in the first minute of the second period. Shortly after, the Ridgebacks scored to retake the lead and held the Stingers scoreless for the rest of the period.

“I feel like we were working hard, but I think we weren’t mentally ready when it mattered most,” Martineau said.

The Stingers briefly came back to life at the end of the third period, when right-wing forward Alexander Katerinakis scored as the result of passes from Martineau and Trépanier. Unfortunately, the spark wasn’t enough to overcome two more goals scored by Ontario Tech in the last three minutes of the game.

Ultimately, even with a disheartening conclusion to the season, the toughness and determination of the players and the coaching staff was on display to the bitter end. 

“I’m proud of the way we battle with injuries. I’m not someone who’s going to use that as an excuse. They just outworked us,” concluded Elément.

Despite the loss, fellow Concordians had fun coming out in person to support the home team. CATHERINE REYNOLDS/THE CONCORDIAN

Photos by Catherine Reynolds

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Concordia’s men’s hockey team hold Ottawa scoreless in a 2-0 victory

Stingers’ goaltender Jacob Delorme comes up big in a 42-save performance to get his first shutout with the Stingers

The Ottawa Gee-Gees tested the Concordia Stingers in their third consecutive matchup, however, Jacob Delorme was up to the task and helped his team get the 2-0 victory over Ottawa last Saturday, March 5.

“It was a good game,” Delorme said. “We lost Wednesday in Ottawa so we wanted to beat them, and right now the standings are really close for the playoffs, so it was a big win for us.”

Despite the Gee-Gees starting to pressure the Stingers right out of the gate, it was Paycen Bjorklund who opened the scoring for the Stingers around 14 minutes into the game, from a pass by Vincent Nardonne.

The second period was the busiest for the goaltenders, but it also remained scoreless. Ottawa had some good chances to tie the game, but Delorme made all 18 saves.

Concordia didn’t allow as many shots in the final frame, as they were also pressuring to double their lead. Alexander Katerinakis was able to do that after beating Ottawa’s defence with Isiah Campbell with about two minutes remaining in the period.

The last two minutes of the game were very intense, as Ottawa pressured to try and tie the game. The Gee-Gees’ late push resulted in a Concordia penalty in the last two minutes, and Ottawa pulled their goaltending for a 6-on-4 opportunity. However, the Stingers did a great job defensively, and Delorme continued his perfect performance. Concordia took another penalty with 15 seconds remaining, but it was too late for Ottawa to come back.

“It was a tight game,” said Marc-André Elément, the Stingers’ head coach. “Our guys battled and played hard tonight and we got the win so it’s huge.”

With two games in hand, Concordia currently ranks third in the division, right behind Ottawa. Having played against the Gee-Gees four times in the last five games, Delorme said they would be ready to potentially face them in the opening round of the playoffs, if that were to be the first series.

 

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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Concordia’s team effort stands out in 5-2 victory over Ottawa

The Stingers men’s hockey team bounced back in the second half of back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, and got the win in their first home game in 2022.

The Concordia Stingers’ team effort persisted throughout 60 minutes, as they came together to take the 5-2 win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Feb. 26.

This was the Stingers’ second game in two nights, bouncing back after a 0-4 defeat against the UQTR Patriotes on Friday.

The Stringers struck early with Maxim Trépanier opening the scoring only a minute and a half into the game. The first period ended with shots 13-11 in favour of Ottawa, while Concordia’s goaltender Jordan Naylor stood on his head and kept his team in the game.

“In the first period we were a little hesitant, we had to get our legs back,” said Tyler Hylland, centre for the Stingers. “We hadn’t played back-to-back games in a couple of months, so I think the guys were feeling it out, but I think we found our legs in the second period, and we finished strong, so it went well.”

Right at the beginning of the second frame, Ottawa scored twice in a minute and took the lead in what was a pretty back and forth game up to that point.

About seven minutes into the second frame, two Ottawa players collided with Naylor. Trainers joined him on the ice to evaluate him, but he remained in net until the end of the period.

It didn’t take too long for Concordia to tie the game afterwards, with a goal by Alexandre Desgagnés around the midway mark of the period, which gave the Stingers some momentum back.

They found themselves on the powerplay a couple of minutes later, where Jeffrey Durocher capitalized and gave his team the lead again.

Naylor didn’t return for the final period, and Jacob Delorme came in instead after having played the previous night as well. Stingers head coach Marc-André Elément said that Naylor didn’t sustain an injury and that he will be okay.

Hylland doubled the Stingers’ lead around 12 minutes into the third period after creating a turnover and having a breakaway chance.

“It was kind of a broken play in the d-zone, a turnover, and I kind of saw the opportunity that I could maybe get it by them, and I took it, and then I went in on the goalie and put it five-hole,” Hylland said.

The Gee-Gees pulled their goaltender with two and a half minutes remaining, leading to Trépanier, who had opened the scoring early on, to seal the win for the Stingers with an empty-net goal.

Delorme continued Naylor’s effort and stood tall, stopping all 11 shots he faced in that period, while the defence also did their job and kept blocking shots.

Although the final shots were 39-30 in favour of the Gee-Gees, the Stingers weren’t giving them many good scoring opportunities, and if they did, the goaltenders made the saves.

“I think we were ready for tonight’s game,” Elément said. “We have a good team and we needed to compete tonight, and I think the guys showed a lot of character when we were down… And [when] you’re losing your goalie going into the third period, and your other goalie steps in, that’s a big big team effort there.”

Elément added that Delorme kept them in the game in the final frame. He also mentioned how important the defence was in the game, highlighting Kyle Havlena and Marcus Tesink’s performances in particular.

“It was a big team effort tonight and I’m really happy about the win.”

 

Photograph by Kaitlynn Rodney

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Concordia’s special units put to work in dominant 7-4 win over McGill

The Stingers men’s hockey team get the win in their first game back since Dec. 4, 2021

The Stingers dominated a very fast-paced and physical game against the McGill Redbirds on Feb. 15, ultimately taking the 7-4 victory in their first game in over two months.

“It just feels good to be back on the ice, to be able to play a game was awesome,” said Stingers captain Phélix Martineau. “It was really fun to be able to play with the boys again, and to get out with a win was good too.”

Concordia capitalized early on, with a goal by Paycen Bjorklund. Even though McGill responded quickly, the Stingers kept pressuring their opponents.

It took less than three minutes for Nathan Lavoie to find the back of the net and for the Stingers to regain the lead. Jeffrey Durocher would later score on the power play, for what would be the Stingers’ first of four powerplay goals of the night.

After 20 minutes of play, the Stingers outshot McGill 19-3, and had a 3-1 lead.

The second period wasn’t as smooth as the first, with intensity rising between the two rival teams. It started with a couple of penalties against McGill, giving Concordia a bit of time with a 5-on-3 advantage, on which Martineau capitalized. A few seconds later, Tyler Hylland scored on the one-man advantage.

After the Stingers’ fifth goal, the Redbirds switched goalies at the midway mark of the game. As the night went on, the intensity and physicality increased, as the two teams faced off for the fifth (and last) time this season.

It was the Stingers’ turn to find themselves short-handed, and the momentum seemed to change in the Redbirds’ favour, who proceeded to score to cut their deficit in half, as the second frame ended with the Stingers ahead 5-3.

“We started well, but then we took a lot of penalties,” said Martineau. “But we ended up on top so it’s a good win for us, a good way to get back at it.”

Seven minutes into the third period, the Redbirds scored, finding themselves only one goal away from tying the game. About a minute later, McGill once again found themselves shorthanded and Charles Tremblay scored the Stingers’ fourth and final powerplay goal of the night.

“We’ve been working on special units,” Stingers head coach Marc-André Elément said. “We’re going to have to look at some stuff… but overall it was a good game.”

The last seven minutes of the game were the most intense, with frustrations building and many penalties taken on both sides.

If there was a chance for McGill to come back, it was denied by Isiah Campbell who gave Concordia a three-goal lead with about four minutes remaining.

At the end of the night, Tremblay had a powerplay goal and two assists, and Alexander Katerinakis three assists.

The special units the Stingers have been working on got tested in this game, in which a total of 20 penalties were called, 12 for McGill and eight for Concordia.

“We’ve been working on our powerplay since the last game we played, we’re trying some new stuff so it’s good to be able to build off that for the nine games we have left,” Martineau said.

The team is now looking forward to finishing the season after it was disrupted by the Omicron wave in December.

“All the guys were excited, I think we had a really good start, a couple breakdowns afterwards, but I’m really proud. It wasn’t an easy situation with [going from] practicing every day, not knowing what was going to happen, and then not practicing at all,” Elément said. “I’m really happy, the guys are happy that we’re back, and hopefully, we’re going to keep going.”

 

Photograph by Matt Garies / McGill Athletics 

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Stingers men’s hockey team finds roster transformed since the U Sports pause

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team is looking very different now compared to before the winter break

The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team has lost eight players since U Sports, the national governing body of university sport in Canada, was forced to pause in December, according to Marc-André Elément, the head coach for the Stingers men’s hockey team. Universities in Quebec, Ontario, and the Maritimes were affected by the shutdown.

Four players have signed professional contracts: two in the United States with the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League), and two overseas. The other four players who left the team decided to stop playing hockey.

Elément said pausing the season now after having a season-long shutdown last year has been difficult for his team.

“We only played eight games in two years, so that’s hard on the guys,” Elément said. “And they wanted to play games, they wanted to play hockey, and that’s what they chose.”

Bradley Lalonde is one of the players who decided to leave the Stingers to play professional hockey in the ECHL, along with Chase Harwell. Lalonde signed a contract with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in South Carolina until the end of this season.

Lalonde said he didn’t believe the Stingers would be able to play a full rest of the season, given the restrictions in Quebec.

“I needed to kind of build my hockey career,” he added. “And playing those eight games in two years was just not enough.”

“It was really a decision that I made based on where I wanted to go with my hockey career and what I wanted to do for the next few years,” said Lalonde.

This is Lalonde’s last semester at Concordia, majoring in political science with a minor in law and society. He has three classes remaining and was able to find fully remote courses, which played a big part in accepting Greenville’s offer.

The 24-year-old defenceman had a few opportunities to play throughout the ECHL and in Europe, but he thinks Greenville makes the most sense hockey-wise.

“And it is a little bit warmer here,” Lalonde said, calling from his new apartment in sunny Greenville. “So I wanted to enjoy seeing a different part of the world. I’ve never been to South Carolina or even anywhere this south in the United States, so I just kind of wanted to explore a different area a little bit.”

He added that staying in the same timezone works out well with his online classes, considering he has an evening class, which would be in the middle of the night or even early morning in Europe. So Greenville was the simplest option for him.

Bradley Lalonde, Greenville Swamp Rabbits, 2022. Photograph by Emily Lipshetz

Lalonde got to Greenville on Jan. 17. He passed a physical exam with the doctor, and was on the ice practicing the same day. He was supposed to make his debut on Jan. 21, in Norfolk, Virginia. But according to Lalonde, the Zamboni wasn’t working, so there were problems with the ice, and that game, along with the other weekend games, ended up being rescheduled. That pushed his debut to Jan. 26. He has played in five games since then.

Tyler Hylland, an alternate captain for the Stingers, said he had opportunities to sign with different places during the pause, but wanted to stay with his team.

“For me, personally, I felt like I wanted to honour my commitment to my team that I’m on now, and I want to finish my school and I have some stuff going on here, and my family,” Hylland said. “So for me, I felt it was important to stay, and especially seeing a lot of guys on our own team leave […] I didn’t want to leave the program in a tough spot if the season were to restart.”

He added that at the end of the day, they’re all just trying to get through this pause and hope to be able to play again soon.

Elément said the team took on more players in case they found themselves in a situation where some of them left the team. They also added some players from their Division II program, which is another hockey program at Concordia where the players only practice, and now some were given the chance to join the team and play once the season restarts.

Elément said the team is “more than ready” to play again once they’re allowed to and that they’ve been waiting for a long time.

Lalonde said that leaving the Stingers wasn’t the way he wanted to end his time and career at Concordia.

“I would have loved to lead them to a championship, or win our division, win our league, and end up at Nationals,” he said. “It’s just that this was the thing that I needed to do to advance my hockey career.”

“The opportunity presented itself for me to pursue a professional hockey career and graduate at the same time, and that opportunity was just kind of too good to pass up,” Lalonde said.

 

Photograph by Kyran Thicke

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Stingers athletes growing restless from extended layoff

Concordia student athletes reflect on how the COVID-19 pause has affected their plans

In response to growing concerns around the COVID-19 Omicron variant over the winter break, the Concordia Stingers’ hockey and basketball seasons were once again put on hold. Only recently have things started to return to normalcy as teams were allowed to start practicing again in small groups on Jan. 17, with full team practices permitted as of Jan. 31.

Teams are expected to start playing games again in February, but there has yet been an official announcement about whether or not the missed games will be played at a later date. Tyler Hylland, an alternate captain on the Stingers men’s hockey team, said that having this season paused after not playing for a full year in 2020-21 was disappointing.

“For a lot of us that’s our biggest passion and to get it taken away, and not even be able to fully practice and participate was tough,” Hylland said. “And then, just when we think we have it back to get it ripped away again, is really kind of devastating, to be honest.”

Areej Burgonio, a player on the women’s basketball team, had similar thoughts on the situation.

“Honestly, it’s just annoying. A lot of my friends play in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) in the States where they actually had a season, even last year,” she said. “ I would hate to be on the sidelines again.”

Hylland added that U Sports, the governing body of university sport in Canada, was put at a disadvantage compared to other leagues.

“I felt like a lot of other leagues were given designations where they could play, and they didn’t seem to consider our league when we’re equally as elite as them or as dedicated as them. And we deserve every opportunity that other leagues were given.”

Phélix Martineau, the captain of the men’s hockey team, added that missing a month worth of practice and games within a season is hard to recover from.

“But at the same time, it’s going to be like that for everyone. So we’re going to have to make the most of it,” he said. “And hopefully, it won’t affect us too much in the end, but […] we’re not sure if we’re even going to have playoffs or nationals so it’s tough to say what our goals are going to be like.”

Due to the uncertainty of the season, the men’s hockey team lost some players who decided to sign professional deals during the holiday break, which meant the team had to bump up their roster.

Both the hockey and basketball teams are not sure whether they will be playing more games in the same amount of time as planned, or will just be playing fewer games this season.

Burgonio said her team was supposed to have 12 games remaining, but they’ve already missed six since the break. If these games aren’t rescheduled, they would only have half of the initial games remaining to work towards making it to the nationals.

“Every game would literally be do or die,” Burgonio said.

But the most frustrating part of the shutdowns and pauses is the long-term effect on these athletes’ futures, according to Hylland. A lot of them, himself included, are still trying to play professional sports after graduation.

“It’s tough to get noticed by pro teams, and it’s tough to make a case for yourself to have a contract after you’re done with school,” Hylland said. “So I think it’s definitely put us behind the eight ball when it comes to our future.”

At the end of the day, all these athletes are hoping for is to be able to play soon and that the league won’t shut down again.

 

Photograph by Kaitlynn Rodney

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