McGill 2, Concordia 1: Stingers drop Theresa Humes Cup opener

Concordia loses in overtime thriller versus McGill

On Friday, the Concordia Stingers welcomed the McGill Martlets at the Ed Meagher Arena for the opening game of the Theresa Humes Cup. This year’s edition of the preseason tournament is hosting four teams, as Bishop’s University, University of Montreal, McGill, and Concordia face off against each other over the weekend.

The Stingers fought a tough battle, but lost to McGill 2-1. Stingers head coach Julie Chu said that with time the team will improve on their mistakes, particularly on special teams, but Chu is not worried as the season progresses. 

“We’re going to get better,” Chu said. “Our special teams were a factor and are going to be a factor all year long, so we’ll keep on looking at areas we did a good job and areas we need to get better.”

In the first period, McGill forward Marika Labrecque and defensewoman Jaime Kastelic both went to the box, giving the Stingers two power play opportunities. Though Concordia created many scoring chances, the Stingers couldn’t capitalize.

In the second period, the forecheck from Concordia’s captain Audrey Belzile resulted in a defensive zone turnover from Martlets defensewoman Lydia MacLellan. Stingers rookie Émilie Lavoie had an open lane in the middle of the zone and sniped it past goaltender Tricia Deguire.  

Later in the period, it was the Stingers’ turn to head to the penalty box. Despite the fact that McGill spent the majority of the power plays in Concordia’s zone, the Martlets couldn’t take advantage. The closing score after the second period was 1-0 Concordia.

The last period was where the pace picked up. Both teams went back and forth with one another. The turning point was when Labrecque racked up her second penalty, resulting in a disadvantage for McGill going into the final 10 minutes in the game. 

Though the Stingers looked solid on all their power play advantages this game and seemed poised and relaxed when settling in the zone, things changed when forward Léonie Philbert coughed the puck up at the blue line leading to a shorthanded breakaway goal from McGill forward Emma Piers, tying up the score 1-1.

At the start of the overtime period, Lavoie collided with a McGill player and received a four-minute major hit-to-the-head penalty. The penalty resulted in the Stingers suffering a 4 on 3 disadvantage for the rest of the five-minute overtime period. McGill’s special teams took over from that point on as captain Jade Downie-Landry, Katie Rankin, Labrecque, and Laura Jardin went to work.  

With 1:35 left in overtime, Downie-Landry came down the wing and passed it through traffic to an open Jardin who tucked it into the net for a McGill win 2-1. 

Not being able to capitalize on chances seemed to be the running theme for both teams. Concordia was great at applying pressure (especially on the forecheck) and blocking shots during the penalty kill, or blocking passing lanes towards the net. The only thing that could not be done was the most important objective in hockey: to score. Chu acknowledges that one goal won’t be enough to win games.

“We’re a team that can score goals so we want to be able to get more than one in regulation,” Chu said.


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


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


Weekend Recap: Men’s hockey team dominates Lakers, women’s bounce back against Carabins

Women’s hockey:

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team went into this weekend having to face two of the top five teams in the country. I don’t care what the U Sports rankings say,  Concordia, UDEM and McGill are all giants in Canadian university sports.

“It’s a long season and we’re in a tremendous league,” said head coach Julie Chu. “We know that we’re going to be in tight, hard-fought games and we gotta make sure that we continue doing the little things right and staying positive is the number one thing. We have an opportunity tomorrow to go and have a great game too.”

The Stingers first game came against McGill. The Martlets came out flying and worked well to pressure the Stingers into making costly mistakes. After two periods of play, the Martlets were up 3-1. The Stingers then managed to come back to tie the game thanks to the efforts of captain Claudia Dubois, Audrey Belzile and Rosalie Bégin-Cyr who combined to force Concordia’s next two goals. Despite the comeback, the Stingers couldn’t get any momentum through the first overtime, and in the second overtime period, the Martlets capitalized and took the dub. This was the first time all season that the Stingers dropped back-to-back games.

The next day against the UDEM Carabins, the Stingers made sure to not make that mistake again. In what would be a tight, hard-fought and physical battle against Montreal, Concordia managed to outlast their opponent to take the shootout win. Back-up goalie Madison Oakes got the start against the Carabins to play in her third ever U Sports match, and she did not disappoint. Oakes was calm in the crease, only allowing one goal, including blanking all three Carabins shootout attempts.

“It’s kind of like your first shift back after not playing for a while,” said Chu. “But I think she settled in really well as the game went on. She’s a gamer. I think anytime our goaltenders are able to make big saves, that gives us a boost of energy.”

Bégin-Cyr continued her torrid scoring pace with a three-goal weekend, moving into a tie for sixth place in U Sports scoring.

Matthew Coyte, Managing Editor


Men’s hockey:

The Stingers men’s hockey team put on a show for their fans on Saturday night. Going into their game with Nipissing, Stingers were on a four-game losing streak with their most recent loss coming on Jan. 15 against UQTR, losing by a score of 3-1. The Stingers had their chances in that game but again, it was their lack of ability to put the puck in the back of the net that got the best of them. Special teams were also an issue against the Patriotes as they were 0/5 with the man advantage.

Then came Saturday.

Only two points separated the Stingers and the Nipissing Lakers heading into the game. Having lost four in a row and facing a team trailing them in the standings, this game was critical for the Stingers. Head coach Marc-André Élement said the message going into the game was “leaders lead the way,” and boy, did they ever.

Fourth year player and team captain Philippe Sanche netted a hat-trick while assistant captain Carl Neill added three assists to his point total on the season. The team has shown flashes of brilliance in the past this season but haven’t been able to string together consecutive wins since Nov. 1. Things only get harder for the Stingers as they only have one more home game left on their schedule between now and the end of the regular season.

On top of all that, the special teams units really stepped up in a big way. The Stingers went 2/8 on the powerplay—which included goals from Jeff de Wit and Alexander Katerinakis. Meanwhile their penalty killing unit did a great job for the most part of neutralizing the Lakers’ powerplay, only holding them to a singular goal on eight attempts. On top of that, one of Philippe Sanche’s goals was a short handed marker.

A game like the one against Nipissing can turn into a critical one for the Stingers down the final stretch of the season. Beating a team that is jockeying for playoff position with the Stingers is no small feat. It can boost the confidence of the team which at this point is much needed. It is one thing to say that they can compete with any team in the country, as many of the players have said before. It’s another thing to do it.

That theory will be put to the test this weekend when the team heads to Ottawa to face off against the Ravens and the Gee Gees.

Matthew Ohayon, Sports Editor


Photos by Britanny Clarke and Cecilia Piga


How shot location and volume has been key to the Stingers success

What’s that famous saying?

“You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky”

–  Michael Scott

Despite the obvious cliché, the best way to win hockey games is to get pucks on net. The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team is currently the top-ranked team in U Sports, and one of the biggest reasons has been the team’s ability to generate high-quality shots, without sacrificing any defensive intensity.

In nine games so far this season, the team is averaging 34 shots per game, and have scored 30 goals. On the defensive side of the ice, they’ve only allowed 26.56 shots per game. While some teams play above expectations due to ballooned shooting percentages, the Stingers have a team shooting percentage of 9.8 per cent, an extremely sustainable rate. Their 3.33 goals per game is tied for first in all of U Sports. It’s not surprising that they’ve only been outshot twice all season, against the University of Ottawa on Nov. 17 and on Nov. 24 against McGill. The Stingers won both of those games.

This season, I’ve been tracking shots (for and against) for seven out of the team’s first nine games of the season (only games I’ve missed have been the ones where the team travels to Ottawa to play Carleton and U of O). As this team keeps playing games, patterns start emerging.

The big one being that the Stingers love to shoot in close. From the team’s 309 shots, 26.5 per cent have come from within five feet of the net. The team succeeds when it’s able to control the puck around the net, crash the crease and generate rebounds. In the team’s first game against McGill, the shots were scattered with no real concentration. On Nov. 10, the Stingers played Montreal, one of the top teams in the country. They managed to control play around the net, and that led to 15 shots from the crease, and the Stingers shutout the Carabins 4-0. Their only loss of the season, a 3-2 shootout loss to Carleton, was largely due to defensive lapses and a hot opposing goalie that made 45 saves.

“For us, the best areas to be able to score goals is net-front, within the dots, up to the top of the circles,” said head coach Julie Chu after her team’s weekly Wednesday skills practice. “I think that’s a really big emphasis for ourselves. To not only be an exterior team moving the puck, but we have to get to the net. And with the goalies we play against, they’re talented, so if we only stay on the exterior and only take shots from there, they’re easy saves. We’re focusing a lot on getting to the net and trying to create traffic and winning net-front battles as much as we can.”

With all of the talent that Chu has managed to recruit to the Stingers since becoming the team’s head coach in the summer of 2016, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’ve emerged as the top team in the country, and were named the number one ranked team in U Sports for five weeks in a row at the time of publication. Players like Audrey Belzile, Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, Emmy Fecteau and Claudia Dubois have shown that they’re not only capable of generating high quality chances basically at will, but also spreading the offence to other players. Add high-end players like Olivia Atkinson, Marie-Pascale Bernier and Brigitte Lagnagniere, and you see why teams have struggled to slow down the Stingers.

Photo by Cecilia Piga

“What’s fun is that we have a lot of talented players with a lot of skill,” said Chu. “That increases our opportunities to be threats on the ice. When you only have one player that really has a tremendous shot, and the other [players] aren’t really threats, and you’re only trying to feed one person, it’s easy to eventually shut down attacks.”

With the most goals in the RSEQ so far this season, and peppering opposing goalies with endless high quality shots per game, they’re bound to tire any goalie out. It’s been their key to outlasting talented teams like McGill and Montreal. The Stingers are not only taking a lot of shots, but they’re managing to get the majority of those shots off in dangerous areas. Olympic pistol shooters and archers would be jealous of this kind of consistent placement.

On special teams, while the power-play struggled to start this season 一 only scoring four times on 37 power play chances 一 it’s improved as the season has gone on. Chu talked about how the team has been working on reading the play better and establishing that net-front presence that’s frustrated other RSEQ teams all year.

Graphic by Matthew Coyte

Looking at the scores, it would be easy to fixate on the Stingers offensive prowess, but they’ve been just as good on the defensive side of things. They’re the only team with a positive goal differential at +14. To see how good they are, just look at how they managed to shut out McGill and Montreal in back-to-back games. Goalie Alice Philbert has been a massive part of this success, but suppressing high-quality shots has become the Stinger M.O. lately. For Chu, all of that starts at the offensive end of the ice.

“When we have a good forecheck, the ability for the transition of the opposing team becomes less,” said Chu. “Or we might have extra numbers back, so they don’t have the ability to attack and get more 3-on-2’s. I think our forecheck has been really good, which is our first line of slowing down the offence of the opposing team. Secondly, in [our] zone, we work a lot on our defensive zone coverage, and we were just trying to find ways to smartly pressure.Being good with our sticks, being great with contact, those are going to help us hopefully keep our opponents to the exterior.”

Despite the team’s hot start to the season, Chu still says that there are “lots of different aspects” that she wants the team to focus on. Most of all, the team’s breakouts.

“The consistency of our breakout is always something that’s huge,” said Chu. “In the same way that we say our forecheck 200-feet away from our net is really important in the defensive side of our game, our breakout is huge in our ability to create offense. Our ability to shut down the opponent, be able to turn the puck, make the right reads and get momentum and energy up the ice with numbers is really important.”


Photos by Cecilia Piga, graphics by Matthew Coyte


Concordia 2 Carleton 3 (SO): Ravens halt Stingers’ perfect start

Well, nothing lasts forever.

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team’s seven-game win streak wasn’t ended by either of their nationally-ranked cross-town rivals at McGill or Montreal. Rather, it came to an end against the now 2-5 Carleton Ravens in a 3-2 shootout loss.

Despite putting 47 shots on net, the Stingers were unable to beat Ravens rookie Marie-Eve Cote, who put on one of the best goaltender performances in the RSEQ so far this year. In net for the Stingers, second-year Madison Oakes made her first ever start for the team.

“We have a good goaltender group, and Alice has played a lot of minutes,” said Chu. “It’s time to get some other goaltenders experience too. I think that’s just a smart thing for us to do. Madi’s done a good job, this month especially at practice, and deserved the start.”

“We just needed to poke in a couple more there.”

If you just happened to stumble into the Ed Meagher Arena on this Friday night to watch this game, with no knowledge of either goaltender, you probably would have noticed that Cote was lights out as a rookie and that Oakes made more than a couple nice puck plays under pressure. Unfortunately for Oakes, her debut was spoiled by the Ravens.

“I think [Cote] made some tremendous saves,” said head coach Julie Chu after the loss. “They’re a good, hardworking team. They’ve had close games against pretty much everyone all season long, gone into overtime, shootouts. It’s understandable, we knew it was going to be a battle of a game.”

Is it weird to say that a team that got 47 shots on net wasn’t able to generate consistent chances throughout the game? The Stingers shot totals were ballooned by the double-overtime, but for the first two periods of this game, they didn’t test Cote nearly enough. Add in an extremely lucky break where a Ravens shot from the corner seemed to beat Oakes and bounce out of the net, that wasn’t called a goal, and you could feel that the Stingers didn’t play their best game. Chu echoed this sentiment post-game.

“Me personally, I didn’t think we had a good enough net-front presence,” said Chu. “I thought that we had some chances on the rushes that we got to bury, but in zone, we got opportunities, our net-front wasn’t great. We got to be better, especially if a goaltender is playing well.”

The Stingers managed to break the scoreless game with six minutes left in the third period when captain Claudia Dubois tipped a wrister from the point from Brigitte Laganière. While Dubois’ stick looked like it may have been above the crossbar, the goal stood, sending Ravens head coach Pierre Alain into a rage. The Carleton coach would only get more exasperated when the Stingers widened the lead 18 seconds later thanks to a rocket from the slot from Emmy Fecteau. Dubois and Laganière would both finish the game with two points.

A Ravens’ body checking penalty shortly after that second goal, and a bench minor thanks to Alain slamming the bench’s door over and over again would give the Stingers a 5-on-3 power play.

Normally, this would be where the Stingers add another goal and seal the game.

Not this time.

The Stingers power play woes ー which seemed to have dissipated in the previous couple of games ー returned all at once during the 5-on-3. After not being able to generate any chances for the full two minutes, both Ravens players popped out of the box, promptly received the breakaway pass, and Megan Wilson slid the puck through the 5-hole of Oakes.

Two minutes later, the Ravens pulled Cote for the extra attacker and really started to bear down on the Stingers. On the first face-off after a time-out by the Ravens, it was Wilson again who tied the game, walking into the Stingers crease without being touched. Suddenly, we’re back in familiar territory for the Stingers – overtime.

It was in the subsequent two overtime periods that Cote truly earned her win, making stop after stop on high-quality chances. It was only fitting that this would be decided in a shootout.

“Even though they had the time and space, they couldn’t quite get [the puck in] there,” said Chu of the shootout attempts. “Sometimes it’s like that.”

Both Emmy Fecteau and Claudia Dubois couldn’t raise the puck over the right foot of Cote, and Oakes was beaten twice. Suddenly and abruptly the Stingers perfect start to the season came to a screeching halt.

For Chu, the solution is simple: score.

“Now for us, it’s just finding a way to put pucks away.”

The Stingers face the McGill Martlets Nov. 24 at McGill.

  • Madison Oakes didn’t deserve this loss, it was just that Marie-Eve Cote earned it more. 45 saves against the top team in the country. Wow.
  • Eight games into the season, we’ve seen glimpses at what an elite power play this Stingers team might have, but so far, they’ve been objectively worse with the extra attacker so far this season. I imagine some scheme changes will be coming after the holiday break.


Photo by Cecilia Piga


Concordia 4 Montreal 0: Stingers dominate Carabins in second straight shutout

When the Concordia Stingers and Université de Montreal Carabins played on Nov. 1, the Stingers and Carabins went off for what is an early candidate for game-of-the-year.

A 4-3, double overtime win, tons of shots, back-and-forth play, it was everything you could have asked from the country’s top two teams. It took the Stingers nearly 70 minutes to edge out the win.

The extra time wasn’t necessary in the rematch.

In a rivalry that has been defined by close, one-goal games over the past couple of years, the Stingers took control of this game and never let their foot off the gas pedal, powering their way to a 4-0 win. The Stingers instead turned in a solid team win, thanks to great play from their star players. Rosalie Bégin-Cyr scored twice, captain Claudia Dubois had two goals and an assist, rookie Emmy Fecteau added two apples and goalie Alice Philbert stopped all 27 Carabins shots. The second shutout in a row for Philbert helped the Stingers improve to 6-0 on the season.

“[Alice] was really good,” said head coach Julie Chu after the game. “I think especially in the second period, when we were up 2-0 and they had their power-plays, and we needed some big plays. She made some big saves that would’ve otherwise changed the momentum of the game. She’s playing great hockey, and the team played a more complete game than we did on Friday.”

The game went back-and-forth to start, with neither team really maintaining pressure. The Carabins started to establish themselves about halfway through the frame, setting up in the Stingers defensive-zone, but the Stingers managed to hold the #2-ranked team in the country to five low-quality chances. Bégin-Cyr broke the tie and got the Stingers on the board first with seven minutes left in the first courtesy of a cross-crease pass from captain Claudia Dubois.

Bégin-Cyr would grab her second of the night in the second period, when she grabbed a rebound, and buried a wraparound. She now leads the RSEQ with five goals.

“The best part of today was a really complete team game,” said Chu. “I think we can look through our entire roster and think that we played really well. There are a lot of good plays that are happening on the defensive side, and on the forecheck side, which is creating a lot of momentum for the team and gives us opportunities to score as well.”

The Stingers kept the pressure coming. Fecteau and Dubois connected for a nice 2-on-1 finish that put the team up by three. The Carabins pulled goalie Aube Racine for the extra attacker, but it was Dubois again who closed out the game with an empty-netter to make it 4-0.

“It was a really nice game,” said Fecteau. “It keeps getting better and better. I try to work hard every shift, and to participate in every game. For sure, I try to get involved physically, but I think the energy I bring can help the team.”

Special teams were a key part of this Stingers win. The penalty-kill looked more like a power-kill, frustrating the Carabins on both of their power-plays, including a 4-minute kill in the second period.

“Montreal’s always had a great power-play,” said Chu. “It’s really about making small adjustments. We did a great job on the first four minutes, on that one we were off on some small adjustments that maybe made things more chaotic than they needed to be.”

Despite going 0/3 on the power-play, the team’s power-play was streets ahead of where it was even Friday. Chu made the necessary adjustments, and it looks like they’ve settled on a system that plays to their strengths, focusing on south-east puck movement, before causing chaos in front.

“It was a good night overall,” said Chu. “We were really happy with the compete level of our team, which was something we were lacking a little bit on the Friday night.”

The Stingers next home game is on Nov. 22 against the Carleton Ravens.



  • The Stingers are 6-0 and the top-ranked team in the country. This team looks for real. Beating UDEM and McGill twice early in the season can only help the team’s confidence.
  • Chu made great adjustments on the power-play this game by having the play move more east-west than north-south. Even if they didn’t score, the PP looked way better.


Feature photo by Cecilia Piga


Concordia 1, McGill 0 (OT): Stingers outlast Martlets in hard-fought game

The Stingers improve to 5-0 on the season with a 1-0 overtime win against the McGill Martlets. The team came out of the gate slow, only generating four shots on net while being outplayed by the Martlets.

Please excuse the first period, it didn’t get the memo that this was supposed to be the most exciting game of the year so far for the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team.

“It wasn’t our best effort today,” said head coach Julie Chu. “The first period McGill dominated us. It was the little details. We weren’t really strong on our sticks, strong on the puck, swarming pucks”

By the time the first period was over, the Stingers had finished what was probably their worst period of play so far in this early season. They couldn’t generate any chances, were turning the puck over in the neutral zone, and not connecting on any outlet passes.

Even so, there were flashes of life, including a Léonie Philbert-Olivia Atkinson 2-on-1 opportunity late in the period, but no true pressure or momentum. Luckily, they managed to hold McGill to mostly outside opportunities, and Alice Philbert didn’t allow any of McGill’s 11 first period shots by her.

“We were having some trouble with our transition break out,” said Chu. “McGill does a good job forechecking, so we didn’t have as much jump. When you don’t attack as a unit, it’s harder to then have as much jump on the offensive forecheck. I think if we make some better efforts in the d-zone and neutral zone, we’ll have more jump in the offensive zone to be able to attack.”

After the dismal first period, both teams started playing the way you would expect from a game between the #1 and #4-ranked teams in the nation.

The game only really started to open up in the second period. The Stingers managed to draw two penalties early in the frame, and rallied off 10 shots in the first six minutes. The team’s powerplay woes continued though, as they went 0-6 on the powerplay. So far this season, they only have two power play goals on 28 chances.

“We’re going to have to take a look, because we got some good looks,” said Chu. “We just need to get that monkey off our backs. You get one in, and you start to get a little more confident. We’ll look at video, just to see how we’re reading the play, what are we creating.”

Going into the third, the speed picked up. As the neutral zone opened up, both teams started generating chances through the neutral zone. Both goalies held strong though. Alice Philbert finished the game with a 35-save-shutout, and McGill’s Tricia Deguire made 41 saves.

Graphic by Matthew Coyte

“I know that my team is capable of scoring,” said Alice Philbert. “The shots tonight were coming from the outside, so for me, that’s easier than those in-close chances.

But for the third time in five games, the Stingers headed to overtime. Both teams went back and forth, but with no real opportunities opening up. It wasn’t until the Stingers drew a penalty that they gathered some momentum. With less than a minute left, it was Amélie Lemay who drove home a 2-on-1 pass from Marie-Pascale Bernier to win the game, scoring the only goal of the night.

“It’s a battle always,” said Chu. “For us, we’re going to stay the course and continue taking it one game at a time. There’s so much hockey left to be played. Ultimately, we want to continue getting better, and we’re going to look at the game tape to see how we can get better for Sunday.”

The Stingers next game is at home on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m.


  • Damn, the RSEQ is good. There are three teams here that could easily take first place, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see whichever two make it to the national championship dominate some western teams.
  • The power play needs work, but there’s too much talent on the ice for it not to click. Expect this drought to be more of a temporary measure than the norm.
  • Disclaimer that all shot counts and stats are based on my own shot tracking.

Concordia 4, Montreal 3 (2OT): Stingers prove their top-ranked status in win

Sometimes, you can just feel something in the air.

And as the extreme Montreal winds were busy blowing away delayed trick-or-treaters, the U Sports gods were setting the stage for the next chapter of what’s become one of the best rivalries in U Sports women’s hockey. The two top teams in the country clashed as the #1 ranked Concordia Stingers battled the #2 ranked Université de Montreal Carabins women’s hockey teams.

Both teams came into this game undefeated at 3-0. Both teams have fielded some of the strongest lineups in the country over the past couple of years. It was only two seasons ago that the Stingers raised the RSEQ championship on UDEM’s turf.

“We’re a really well matched team against each other and it’s been really fun,” said head coach Julie Chu. “Two years ago we had eight games against them playoffs included, and six went to shootout or overtime. It’s pretty crazy. That’s what we’re expecting for the rest of the season.”

The Carabins were the first to strike. Working the power-play, UDEM beat Stingers goalie Alice Philbert off a deflection blast from the slot courtesy of Marie-Pier Dubé with just over 11 minutes left in the first period.

What followed was a back-and-forth battle fought in the neutral zone, both teams struggling to gain momentum. The Stingers finally responded off of a dangle from captain Claudia Dubois, who fought off two Carabins defenders before quickly ripping the puck over the shoulder of Carabins goalie Aube Racine. Racine finished the game with 30 saves on 34 shots.

In the second period, the Stingers cost themselves a pair of goals. The first started off a bad turnover as the Stingers were leaving their zone. The Carabins’ Joannie Garand ripped a shot past Philbert and sent her water bottle flying in the process. The second came on the powerplay, where a miscommunication in the offensive zone left a Carabins penalty-killer all alone for a breakaway that beat Philbert high. Philbert finished the game with 29 saves on 32 shots.

For us, we always talk about never quitting,” said Chu. “The greatest that any of us can have is resilience. We’re going to go through a lot in a season, we’re going to be down goals, we’re going to be up goals, we have to be resilient enough to bend a little but not break, and that’s what this team is showing.”

However, the Stingers responded both times. Thirty seconds after Garand’s goal, Olivia Atkinson scored her first of the year on a tap-in play to tie the game up. As the Stingers went down the second time, it was Marie-Pascale Bernier who answered, firing a bullet from the slot, top shelf.

With a game this close, of course it would go to overtime. Sorry, I meant to say double overtime.
This is the second time in four games the Stingers have played 65 or more minutes.

As the second overtime period began, it was clear that both teams were taking chances. But it was the rookie Emmy Fecteau for the Stingers that managed to put the game away on a great pass cross-crease from Rosalie Begin-Cyr. This was Fecteau’s first goal of the season. Chu talked about how she is happy with how the rookie has been playing so far this season.

The top two teams in the country didn’t disappoint in this thriller. The shots leaned more towards the Stingers, who managed more high-danger shots on net, but costly turnovers and bad breaks evened things out for the Carabins.

Stingers outshot the Carabins 34-32. Graphic by Matthew Coyte.

“Our league is so tight,” said Chu. “We’re gonna have to go into overtime, shootouts or different scenarios.It’s going to be like this all season long, and what we keep telling our players is to stay in the moment and to work hard and take our opportunities where they come.”

The Stingers next game is against the McGill Martlets on Nov. 8 at the Ed Meagher Arena


  • CEPSUM is a pretty sick rink with incredible acoustics and a really cool football-stadium-esque feel and white tiled roof. I wish more arenas would have the really distinct features, makes “home rink advantage” feel like it matters.
  • UDEM’s power-play song is the Imperial March from Star Wars, and honestly, it fits.
  • This was my first game using this new shot tracking tool by Robyn Scholz. It’ll get tweaked as the year goes on, but it’s working great so far.


Photo by Matthew Coyte.


Olivia Atkinson trades in her Martlet uniform for the Maroon and Gold

It’s not everyday a player goes from one team to their greatest rival. Names that come to mind are Carlos Tevez, Mark Recchi and Terrell Owens. Now, Olivia Atkinson joins that list along with her teammate Erica Starnino.

The fourth year player began her U-Sports career with the McGill Martlets in the 2015-16 season. She transferred to Concordia last year but was unable to play because of U-Sports eligibility rules. The season did not go to waste by any means for Atkinson, playing 17 games for Les Canadiennes de Montreal.

“It was a learning experience,” Atkinson said. “The pace of the game is much faster. Decisions need to be quicker. The physicality was the thing that showed me what my play lacked, I tried to focus on [improving] that aspect of my game.”

Atkinson joins a talented Stingers team with expectations sky high. She says to be a better, more impactful player for the team, she’s been focusing on her defensive play.

“Offensive [play] was something that I focused a lot on in the past,” said Atkinson. “Coming here with the knowledge of the coaches, I want to learn how to be a better defensive player.”

Nobody can dispute Atkinson’s offensive abilities, having been a top scoring RSEQ player during her time with McGill. Head coach Julie Chu had nothing but high praise for Atkinson when talking about her willingness to improve.

“She works hard all the time, wants to learn and wants to get better,” said Chu. “Even as someone who coached against her for three years, I saw that on the ice through her intensity and compete level.”

Atkinson, enrolled in psychology, says that she made the switch from McGill to Concordia because Concordia offered more specialized courses of behavioural neuroscience that she’s interested in.

It also helps that the Stingers women’s hockey program is year after year regarded as one of the top in the country.

It can be tough coming on to a new team, especially when playing for that team’s greatest rival. However Atkinson says that her new teammates have been nothing short of spectacular in helping her adjust to life with a new team and school.

“In the first couple of games, she had to get back into the swing of playing at the U-Sports level,” Chu said. “The truth is when you’re playing for Les Canadiennes, [Atkinson] probably wasn’t given the same amount of ice time and opportunities that she’s been getting at our level. From day one she’s been such a hard worker and teammate. It’s been great to watch.”

Chu was excited when Atkinson approached her about joining the team but she says she didn’t make any promises to her when it came to her role on the team.

“We don’t talk about roles, it’s about our culture,” said Chu. “What we promise here is that you’ll be loved and supported. You’ll get every resource possible to be successful on and off the ice. We don’t promise anyone a certain role or position on our team. That’s not who we are and it’s not reality of life. We promise opportunities if you work hard and execute.”

Offensive execution is what Atkinson is known for. As a second year player in 2016-17, Atkinson was second in goal scoring and in points, lighting the lamp 12 times that season and finishing with 25 points. In her last year of university hockey in the 2017-18 season, before making the jump to the CWHL, she finished eighth in the RSEQ in points with 16 on the season.

Adding Atkinson and a number of other recruits, along with the team’s returning players makes this squad an incredibly talented one. They started the season ranked as the fourth best team in the country, and after going undefeated in the opening weekend of the season, have shot up to the top ranked team in the country.

“Polls are always a funny thing. It’s so early on in the season and no one really knows how they stack up [against other teams],” said Chu. “It’s a nice compliment, we know we’ve been playing great hockey but we also know that where we stand at the end of the season is what really counts.”

Atkinson shares the same sentiment when it comes to the ranking and says that the teams approach along with her own hasn’t changed.

“Every day we’re coming to the rink and putting in the work,” Atkinson said. “We haven’t been taking our success [for granted]. We’re in a really competitive league and anyone of the teams can win on any given night. We have a target on our back and we need to be prepared for every game that way.”

Atkinson and the Stingers will take on the second nationally ranked Carabins on November 1 at 7 p.m. at the CEPSUM


Feature Photo by Laurence B-D


Stingers women’s hockey team wins home opener in dramatic fashion

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team defeated the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees 5-4 in dramatic fashion Sunday afternoon at the Ed Meagher Arena.

The Stingers had a slow start, which led to the Gee-Gees’s first two goals of the game. Stingers head coach Julie Chu said the team didn’t have a good first period.

“We’ve had a good first five minutes, and then got a little bit sloppy,” Chu said. “The second and third periods were much better. Obviously, we have to work on our puck tracking. The Gee-Gees did a good job at executing and creating space for themselves on opportunities, but ultimately we need to find a way to not give up so many opportunities.”

The Stingers found their rhythm in the second period after having some serious scoring chances on the power play. Chu said despite not scoring, she liked chances produced by her team’s power play this weekend.

“We started with McGill yesterday where we had some pretty good looks,” Chu said. “I thought today, we were moving the puck and getting some opportunities. Obviously, we need to continue finding our lanes and getting great screens, as well as putting pucks away.”

When everybody thought overtime was coming after Stingers’s forward Marie-Pascale Bernier scored her second goal of the game to tied it at 4-4, forward Audrey-Ann Rodrigue scored the game-winning goal with just 40 seconds left. Rodrigue used her speed to cut the defender and drive to the net and score. She said she will remember that goal for along time.

“I followed my intuition and shot it on net, thinking I had nothing to lose,” Rodrigue said. “It was close to the end of regulation, so all shots were big. My parents were there, so I was really happy. I come from far away, so they’re not coming often.”

First-year player Léonie Philbert scored her first career U SPORTS goal in the third period. For Chu, to have contributions from the younger players is huge.

“They’re great players. They’re playing in all situations, and I think that’s really critical for us. We have the veteran presence that has a lot of experience and is able to do a great job,” Chu said. “Yet, we’re also able to put in some of our younger players to gain some experience. I think this is a good test for our team. If people push and work hard in practice, then opportunities will come.”

The Stingers play their next game against the Carleton University Ravens on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Ice House in Ottawa.


Concordia 2 McGill 1 (SO): Stingers win season-opener in marathon match

Sometimes three periods of hockey isn’t enough, and you have to go to overtime.

Then double overtime.

Then a shootout.

That’s what it took for the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team, as they beat the McGill Martlets 2-1 at McConnell Arena in a shootout in what was a season-opener to remember.

“That was an awesome hockey game,” said head coach Julie Chu after the marathon match. “The whole team played really well. Both teams played really well, both had moments of momentum and moments to take advantage. It was a good hard fought game and we’re really happy for the first one of the season.”

McGill jumped ahead to a 1-0 lead in the second period on a goal from Jade Downie-Landry. The goal came after the Stingers were unable to convert on a pair of back-to-back power plays.

A minute later, the Stingers responded.

On another powerplay, Concordia kept the puck moving, inching forward before defender Brigitte Lagagniére found Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, who fired a wrister past McGill goalie Tricia Deguire. Deguire would make 41 saves throughout the five periods of play.

That would be the only goal on the power play for the Stingers despite getting seven opportunities with the extra attacker, including a four-minute power play that ended with the Stingers spending more time in their end than the Martlet’s.

“Our third period power plays, we needed better energy,” said Chu. “Especially the four minute one. That’s our opportunity to really take advantage of that moment. Because we had that struggle in the first two minutes of the four, we let it affect us. When you’re on the power play, technically, you fail more than you succeed.”

Across the ice, Stingers goalie Alice Philbert was forced to stand on her head a couple of times. Most notably during a botched Stingers power play breakout that led to a breakaway, Philbert stretched her pad and denied the attempt. Philbert ended the game with 32 saves.

“I thought [Philbert] was great,” said Chu of the third-year tendy. “She’s developed into a tremendous level at the university level. Her first year, she came in as a young person who needed to gain some strength and experience. I thought she was really solid today, was calm, made some big saves for us and obviously in the shootout she was really good.”

The Stingers 5-on-5 played well. Veterans like Audrey Belzile used her speed and power to generate more than a few scoring chances. Former Martlet Olivia Atkinson showed flashes of her CWHL-level skill. Rookie Emmy Fecteau was able to dangle through waves of Martlets at times. While there were more than a few solid individual efforts, rookie Léonie Philbert was one to really stand out. Playing both defence and forward at different points of the game, Philbert battled hard along the boards, managed to get a breakaway opportunity and was a general pain in the ass of the Martlets.

After regulation, the game headed to overtime. Both teams went back and forth, and both teams had chances to put the game away, but the goalies said otherwise. So off to a shootout we go.

Fecteau and Atkinson both were unable to score in the shootout. Philbert denied first two shooters as well. It was Bégin-Cyr who finally managed to put the Stingers ahead, snapping a shot five-hole as the third shooter. McGill’s Kellyanne Lecours was than calmly stopped by Philbert, giving the Stingers their first win of the season and putting an end to a low-scoring slugfest of a game.

“It was a really good team win, regardless of it ending up in a shootout,” said Chu.


Two things:

  1.  I’m tracking shots and shot location for this upcoming Stingers whky season. It’s not going to be perfect, but should be interesting.
  2. Please inject this type of hockey directly into my veins.


Photos by Mackenzie Lad


Stingers women’s hockey team welcomes new recruits

As the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team prepares to kick off their 2019-20 season against their crosstown rivals the McGill Martlets, there’s a sense that there’s some unfinished business after the Stingers were knocked out of the playoffs last year by McGill.

Veterans like Claudia Dubois, Audrey Belzile, Alexandra Nikolidakis, Marie-Pascale Bernier and Stéphanie Lalancette among others are all primed to build on last season where the team lost in the RSEQ division semi-finals.

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

Joining the veterans are a handful of notable recruits and new players. We asked Chu to give us a bit of insight into what we can expect from the five newest members of this Stingers roster.

Léonie Philbert
Last Team: Dawson College
Position: Forward
2018-19 Stats: 24GP-10G-11A-21Pts

Philbert played on Team Quebec in 2015 and 2016, winning silver at the U18 national championship in 2016. Last season with the Dawson Blues, she was named team MVP.

Chu: “I think Léonie’s one of the most versatile players in the game right now at the university level. We’ve been able to use her in the pre-season as a forward and as a defenceman. It’s not easy to make that shift, especially as a first year player. The speed of the game, the decision-making and everything that comes into it, there’s often an adjustment period coming out of CEGEP or high school, but Léonie’s been able to do that really well, and I think a big part of that is that she works hard everyday and is a really smart player. Her ability to process the game quickly allows her to execute at a high level.”

Julianna Classen
Last Team: John Abbott College
Position: Forward
2018-19 Stats: 24GP-8G-10A-18Pts

Chu: “Julianna is a great person. She’s a great student-athlete, she’s in the exercise science program. She has a lot of potential to come in at this level and have a great season. I think that for her, she’s a smart player, especially from the tops of the circles down, that’s where she’s the most threatening. We’ll be able to see her use her size to her advantage, take pucks to the net, and kinda play that ‘dirty game’ net front. As she gets used to the speed of this level, that 200 foot game will develop as well.”

Emmy Fecteau
Last Team: Cégep Limoilou
Position: Forward
2018-19 Stats: 24GP-13G – 25A – 38Pts

One of the more high-profile recruits, Emmy Fecteau has already started to make a name for herself nationally. The 20-year-old won the RSEQ collegiate title three years straight with Cégep Limoilou in 2017, 2018 and 2019 before making the jump to university. Last season she finished third in the scoring race at the CEGEP level with 38 points in 24 games. Oh, she was also named to Canada’s National Women’s Development Team for a three-game series against the United States this summer.

Chu: “She’s been incredible from day one. We’ve seen her growth, I’ve known her since she was 16-years-old, maybe younger, going to Caroline Ouellete’s camps before we were even coaching at university. We’ve seen her growth and development throughout the years, from her first year at Limoilou and coming onto a really talented team and learning how to develop into that position. She’s been tremendous since day one. Similar to Léonie, she just wants to get better and wants to push and wants to work. That’s the type of student-athlete you want to work with, not one you have to motivate, but wants to go out there and find ways to get better.”

Caroline Gosling
Last Team: Edge Prep, Calgary
Position: Goalie
2018-19 Stats: 14GP-2.29 GAA-.911 SVP

Gosling played on Team Alberta during the 2019 Canada Winter Games, where she helped the team win gold. She was also named to the 2016 Mac’s Midget Tournament All-Star team. Chu discovered Gosling during the goalie’s time on Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games.

Chu: “What I’ve really enjoyed about Caroline is that she just goes out and battles for every puck. She’s not a big goalie, that’s the reality, but she has a way of playing aggressive that allows her to be bigger in goal and be able to make great saves. I think that’s going to be a huge asset for her and for the team. In practice, every time our players want to score a goal, they need to know that they’re going to have to battle hard because she’s not just going to allow the rebound to be tapped in.”

Olivia Atkinson
Last Team: McGill Martlets
Position: Forward
2017-18 Stats: 20GP – 8G – 8A – 16Pts

Atkinson isn’t a rookie, but she will be playing her first game for the Stingers on the Saturday season opener – against her old team. The fourth year forward last played on the McGill Martlets in 2017-18 before switching to the Stingers last season. While not eligible to play U Sports, Atkinson played with the CWHL’s Canadiennes de Montreal, registering 3 points in 17 games with the pro team. While on the Martlets, Atkinson was one of the team’s most effective players, registering 16 points in 20 games, tied for the team lead. Due to U Sports eligibility rules, she had to sit out last year. Now, she’s ready to join the team.

Chu: “Liv always gives a full effort. That’s something on our team we don’t have to coach. I think for us is that we’re really excited to have a great player back in the lineup. She had three tremendous years at McGill when she was playing. She can put the puck away, utilize her speed and create offensive opportunities. We’re looking for her to use her speed, take pucks to the net and use that incredible release that she had. She’s a talented player and it’s nice to have her back in our lineup.”

This year’s crop of rookie’s join a strong class of sophomores that include RSEQ All-Star Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, who netted 15 points in 20 games as a rookie.

The Stingers women’s hockey season kicks off at McGill on Saturday, Oct. 19. The team’s home opener will be on Sunday, Oct. 20 at the Ed Meagher Arena.

The team’s full schedule can be found here.


Photo by Mackenzie Lad

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