Carabins 3, Stingers 2: Late goal gives UdeM series lead

Montreal takes game one of the RSEQ final

The Stingers face off against the Carabins. Photo Yann Rifflard

A ricochet goal sealed game one of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) final. The Université de Montréal (UdeM) Carabins took the series lead over the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team by a score of 3-2 at the Ed Meagher Arena on Feb. 29.

“In total, from our tracking, we gave up six scoring chances,” said head coach Julie Chu. “We’re doing some good defensive stuff but we still have to bear down and make sure we execute.”

A repeat of last year’s RSEQ final, the Stingers entered Ed Meagher looking to three-peat, while Montreal sought revenge against the team that beat them one year prior.

The first period showcased two teams looking to settle in offensively. Staunch defensive play disallowed many shots on goal in the opening ten minutes, as shooting and passing lanes were rapidly sealed off. 

Concordia lucked out on an interference call assessed to Carabins defender Audrey Gervais. The Stingers were thought to have scored on the powerplay when a set-up one-timer from the slot was fired at goaltender Aube Racine. The shot found iron instead of twine and was waved off by the referee to the disappointment of the Stingers fans looking on. The period would end 0-0, with Concordia leading the shot total 10-5.

The second frame had much of the same pace. Both teams allowed the tension to interfere with making crisp passes and mustering chances on the net. 

The Stingers found life first. Forward Jessymaude Drapeau attracted defensive attention in the corner before trickling a pass to forward Rosalie Begin-Cyr, who potted the puck into an open cage as Racine was out of position.

The Carabins responded before periods ended. A shot from the point found its way through traffic and was redirected slightly by forward Jessika Boulanger, nudging the puck between goaltender Jordyn Verbeek's pads. The score remained tied 1-1 headed into the second intermission.

The Carabins kept this momentum at the start of the third. After Stingers forward Émilie Lussier was called for tripping, Montreal capitalized. Instantaneously, the puck was won on the draw, secured and fed over to forward Amelie Poire-Lehoux. She potted the puck past Verbeek, giving UdeM the lead.

“I’m just going to recuperate from this game,” said Verbeek following the loss. “[I will] look over the video, see what I can do to do better next game. On Saturday, I’ll be ready to go.” She added that the team will need to “get grittier” for Saturday’s matchup.

Concordia ramped up the pressure by the halfway mark, desperately peppering Racine with chance after chance. It was Stingers forward Émilie Lavoie who finally fooled the netminder, lasering in a glove-side wrister to tie the game 2-2.

The Carabins had the last laugh. For the entire game, any chant by Stingers fans was drowned out by blaring air horns. This energy fed into the Carabins' performance in the dying moments. With 56.5 seconds left to play, a shot from the point provoked Verbeek to cover the left side of the goal, only to redirect off of Carabins regular season points leader Marie Terriault and into the net. The game would end 3-2. 

“Energy is energy,” said Chu when asked about dealing with the crowd noise. “Whether they have a rowdy crowd or we have a rowdy crowd… I don’t think it’s that big of a factor. We always focus on… what can we do as a collective whole?”

Concordia will now head to CEPSUM Arena for game two on Saturday, March 2. The puck-drop is set for 2 p.m.