Carabins 3, Stingers 1: Women’s hockey bows out in finals

Closely fought battle robs Stingers of shot at revenge

Stéphanie Lalancette firing a shot on goal. Photo Credit: Caroline Marsh

On Feb. 23, 2020, the Université de Montréal Carabins shocked the USports hockey world when they beat the Concordia Stingers 3-2 in game 3 of a best-of-three series. The Stingers that year had been the best team in the country—by some margin—from the start of the season up until that day. They have been waiting for revenge ever since.

The Theresa Humes Cup championship game would not be that long-awaited day, as Concordia lost 3-1 after an empty net goal sealed the pre-season title for les Carabins on Sunday night at the Ed Meagher Arena.

The game got off to a flying start—as should be expected from two of the best teams in the nation—and Concordia found a lot of success going forward, breaking out with ease and finding space off the rush.

The first breakthrough came 12 minutes in as Audrey Belzile found herself alone in front of Carabins goaltender Aube Racine after a two-on-one, but couldn’t find the angle to finish.

Concordia continued to mount pressure with suffocating defense and a quick transition game, but could not find an answer for Racine as the first period ended with the shots 10-3 in favour of the home side.

The second frame was more the same as Concordia enjoyed loads of time in the offensive zone, to no avail. The first big chance to score went the other way after Carabins star and tournament MVP Audrey-Anne Veillette stole the puck at her own blue line raced down all alone, forcing a huge save from Alice Philbert in goal. 

In the same play, Concordia replied by springing Maria Manarolis a breakaway from a stretch pass. After Racine came up with another huge save, Marie-Pascale Bernier tried to follow up, but rang it off the post.

Concordia continued their dominance and it finally paid off six minutes into the frame. After a strong Stingers forecheck, Audrey Belzile found herself alone in the slot and the captain ripped a shot under the goalie’s glove, opening the scoring and sending the crowd into a frenzy.

The announcer had barely begun to announce the goal when there was another wave of cheers, this time from the Carabins bench. Less than ten seconds after going down a goal, Veillette put home a rebound to tie up the game,  instantly quieting the home crowd.

Concordia once again began the period flying, opening the third period with loads of offensive zone time. Five minutes in, a mad scramble in front of the net saw Concordia get three good whacks in without being able to find a way past an on-fire Racine.

Five minutes later, Chloé Gendreau was called for interference and the Carabins went on the powerplay. That’s when Veillette justified her MVP award for the tournament. Veillette came charging down the right wing and rifled a shot over the blocker of Philbert and into the top corner. It would mark her sixth goal of the tournament.

Under pressure, Concordia pulled Philbert with 2 minutes left to put on an extra attacker in a last chance bid to equalize. The gamble was mere millimeters away from paying off when a bullet from the point courtesy of Rosalie Bégin-Cyr hit the inside of the post.

One empty-net goal later and Concordia’s shot at revenge would have to wait. The Stingers will be back in preseason action when they take on McGill on Oct. 15 at the Macdonald Arena.