Saving Their Worst For Last

Stingers Fall Apart in Second Game of Playoff Series Against McGill

  • The Martlets’ offence was way too strong for the Stingers on Sunday afternoon. Photo Ion Etxebarria

Marking the first time the Stingers qualified for the playoffs in three years, Concordia’s 2013-2014 women’s hockey season was one to remember.

The way it ended, however, was one to forget.

Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team weren’t only swiftly eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend—they were humiliated, losing 10-2 to the McGill Martlets in front of their home crowd Sunday afternoon at Ed Meagher Arena in the second game of a best-of-three series.

“It really just sucked that the final score was 10-2,” said alternate captain Mary-Jane Roper.

“It obviously wasn’t our best performance, but we can’t be mad at ourselves, because it certainly isn’t a reflection of how we played against them all year.”

Only two days earlier, the first game of their opening round series against the Canadian Interuniversity Sport no. 2-ranked Martlets went down to the wire.

McGill snuck by and came back to win 3-2 with a late third period goal by Jordan McDonell with just over seven minutes left in the game.

“I really thought we had the game in our pocket Friday night,” said longtime Stingers head coach Les Lawton.

“We really lost the opportunity; it was really tough and devastating.”

Stinger captain Erin Lally tried everything to help her team in what would be her last game in the Maroon and Gold. Photo Ion Etxebarria (click to enlarge)

But nothing was more devastating than Sunday’s loss.

As the final game of the season, it was an emotional day for the Stingers’ leadership core, with captain Erin Lally, alternates Roper and Jaymee Shell, and defender Gabrielle Meilleur all graduating from the team.

“That’s probably the biggest disappointment for me today, having them go out the way they did,” said Lawton.

“They provided just fantastic leadership this year, it’s not an easy thing to do and they did.”

Despite the rough ending to her CIS career, Calgary-born Lally, who had played all five years of her eligibility with the Stingers, had only positive things to say in retrospect.

“Coming into this team I knew there was a lot of work that had to be done,” she said.

“I came in knowing that and committed myself to developing myself as a player, and also help develop this team and this program. Looking back from my first year through to my fifth year, the strides we made were huge.”

The Stingers lost 15 regular season games this year and 19 overall including exhibition heading into the playoffs, but none was as one-sided as Sunday’s eight-goal loss against the Martlets, who haven’t lost to Concordia since February 2006.

More than half of those 15 losses were by two goals or fewer.

“Usually the hockey gods take care of things in the hockey world,” said Lawton.

“It just seems we lost too many close games this year.”

As far as the Sunday game was concerned, Concordia did get on the board first when a long breakout pass by Shell banked off the boards and found its way onto fourth-year alternate captain Alyssa Sherrard’s stick.

She went in alone and beat Martlet goaltender Andrea Weckman with a top corner shot 14 minutes into the opening period.

But towards the end of the period, defender Danielle Scarlett took an interference call, which led to a McGill power-play goal with just 40 seconds left in the frame.

But what was an evenly-played first period quickly deteriorated into a blowout, with the Martlets scoring on their first two shots of the period en route to taking a whopping 7-1 lead heading into the third period.

“We got behind early in the second and lost all emotion to our game,” said Lawton.

“I don’t know why it is, if we lose our focus or not, we’re a young team and have to learn from our little mistakes.”

Lawton switched goaltenders after McGill’s fourth goal in favor of back-up Briar Bache, but it didn’t change the outcome as the Martlets kept pouring on the offense, adding three more goals in the third period before Concordia got one back with just under eight minutes left to play for a final score of 10-2.

Not for a lack of trying. Fourth-year forward Alyssa Sherrard scored the opening goal of the game, and later added an assist on the second goal. Photo Ion Etxebarria (click to enlarge)

Moncton-born Roper took some time after the game to reflect on what it meant to be a Stinger for the past five years.

“Mostly friendship and family. Not many athletes can compete and play away from home for five years and graduate, most leave, I couldn’t do that,” she said.

“The only thing that helps you get through is the support system. Being a Stinger is that close family and [Les] is always there if you need something.”

Shell, who’s from the West Island, also looked back at her career with a smile.

“I have come a really long way since I started at Concordia; both as an athlete and as an individual,” she said.

“It was always my goal to play university hockey and I’m really glad that I was able to do it wearing the Maroon and Gold.

“I have had an amazing four years and am eternally grateful for having had the opportunity to be a Stinger,” she continued.

“I think the leadership group this year was great, and I was privileged to be a part of it. We’re a young team and I think we helped lay out the foundation for future successes.”

Many of the departing players vowed they’d be back to watch their former teammates take the ice next season.

“Once a Stinger, always a Stinger,” said Lally.

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