Stingers Fail to Gain Ground Against Top Teams
Winless Weekend Keeps Women’s Hockey in Fourth Place
After one of their most disappointing games of the season Friday night, losing 6-0 to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport no. 2 ranked Université de Montréal Carabins, the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team took Saturday off and went into Sunday’s contest against their bitter cross-town rival, the no. 1-ranked McGill Martlets, hoping to play a more competitive game.
And they did, leading or keeping the score tied for 57 minutes. But the team wound up dropping the decision by a 3-1 margin.
“In the dressing room [after the game], it was a mix of, ‘We were so close,’ and ‘We almost tied the top team in the country,’” said Stingers goaltender Carolanne Lavoie-Pilon. “It did sting a bit.”
Friday’s game saw costly turnovers by Stingers forwards, and a defence that couldn’t keep up with the Carabins’ speed. The women in blue and black dominated the CEPSUM, increasing their winning streak to six games.
Lavoie-Pilon was on the hook for all six goals, despite making 26 saves in the loss.
“I felt that Friday night we just had too many lapses,” said head coach Les Lawton. “Our forwards kept having breakdowns with way too much inconsistency all around.”
Sunday afternoon at McConnell Arena had a great tempo to it, with the Martlets, currently riding a perfect season, and the Stingers battling back-and-forth through the first 19 minutes of the game.
The Stingers almost got on the board midway through the period with a two-on-one led by sophomore Marie-Pier Cloutier and third-year Audrey Morand.
A few minutes later, rookie forward Valerie Wade broke in alone on a breakaway but couldn’t beat Martlets goaltender Andrea Weckman.
Late in the period, with the clock winding down, a face-off in the McGill end proved fruitful for the Stingers, with centre Alyssa Sherrard cleanly winning the draw and veteran Jaymee Shell wiring a wrist shot just inside the post, giving the Stingers a 1-0 lead.
“Sherrard won the draw perfectly and I’ve been working on that shot in practice for a while,” explained Shell. “I was more patient on the play than previously and saw the opening and just fired the puck there, it all started with a great faceoff win by Sherrard.”
The lead was short-lived, however. Off the ensuing draw McGill poured on the pressure, and CIS-leading goal scorer Gabrielle Davidson wound up a shot that bounced off the crossbar and behind Lavoie-Pilon. The goal was Davidson’s 21st in only 15 games this season and tied the game up at 1-1.
In the beginning of the second period, Stingers captain Erin Lally almost got a goal that sailed through the goal crease but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Shell had a couple of great chances in the period, getting a couple of rushes after penalties had expired for the team’s only two shots of the period. Lally also had a chance, but her shot sailed over the net.
Despite McGill racking up 20 shots in the period, the game remained 1-1 heading to the third.
The Stingers had a great chance to re-take the lead late in the game when they had a 36-second two-player advantage, but they couldn’t come away with a goal.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t capitalize on our five-on-three,” said Lawton. “It’s a heartbreaking loss, especially considering we were minutes away from stealing a point away from McGill.”
Near the end of the final frame, a costly slashing call against Cloutier wound up being a decisive one. Seventeen seconds into the McGill powerplay, forward Adrienne Crampton wound up a shot from the point that found the back of the Stingers net, giving the Martlets their first lead of the day with 2:17 left to play.
They added their insurance marker with only 17 seconds left, on another powerplay, to make it 3-1.
“I really feel like my confidence is there,” said Lavoie-Pilon, who made 40 saves on the day. “I just have to work really hard now at keeping it consistent until the end of the season.”
Across town, the Carabins beat Carleton 5-3, allowing the Stingers to keep a two-point cushion for fourth-place over the fifth-place Ravens in the Reseau du sport étudiant du Québec conference, and with one game in hand.
“I’m very confident in our abilities to peak in February and go far in the playoff race,” said Shell. “It’s been a pretty great season so far, with a steep learning curve. It’s still fun to see how much as a team and as individuals we’ve evolved since September.
“This has been an incredible journey so far and I’m excited to see where it takes us.”
Next up for the Stingers is a rematch against McGill Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and a game against the Ravens Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Both games will be played at Ed Meagher Arena.
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