Concordia 1, McGill 0: Stingers Women’s Hockey Triumph in Rivalry Matchup in Overtime

Amélie Lemay’s Overtime Heroics Keep Concordia’s Undefeated Streak Alive  

Fourth-year forward Audrey Bezile shoots puck on net during game vs McGill. Photo Caroline Marsh
Bieke Van Nes protects puck from McGill player. Photo Caroline Marsh

The Concordia Stingers’ women’s hockey took on the McGill Martlets for a second time this season on Friday night. The last time the teams met, Concordia walked away with a 2-1 victory in overtime.

The fans in the stands at Ed Meagher arena were treated to a fantastic defensive clinic. The defensive battle was highlighted by two starting goaltenders, who combined for over 80 saves.

Concordia’s starter Alice Philbert picked up her first shutout of the year, earning the honour of being named the first star of the game in the process.

“It wasn’t too bad,” said Philbert. “Shots were mostly coming from the outside. It’s much easier to stop than a shot from the slot. Credits to my defenders for their great work in front of the net.”

Philbert had to be sharp all game long as the Stingers found themselves trapped in their own zone on more than one occasion.

The number one ranked team in the nation were served a taste of their own medicine as McGill applied relentless pressure on the forecheck.

Usually a trademark for the home side, Concordia was not able to pressure the McGill defenders into turning over the puck over.

“We didn’t have as much jump,” said head coach Julie Chu. “When you’re not attacking as a unit, it’s a little harder to have as much jump on the offensive forecheck. If we make some better efforts in the [defensive] zone and neutral, I feel like we’ll have that extra jump.”

As both squads ice a very similar game plan of heavy pressure and tight defensive work, the first two periods offered a lot of back and forth action.

McGill had a clear advantage in the offensive zone at five-on-five. The Martlets had a lot of success pining Concordia defenders deep in their defensive zone, often forcing them into committing an error.

The heavy pressure from the visiting forwards almost created an issue for the Stingers when it came to exiting the zone. Concordia’s attempts to break out of the defensive zone were regularly stuffed by McGill in the first two frames.

“We had trouble with our transition breakout,” she said. “They play a really disciplined game in regards to their structure. It’s not always easy to create a lot of opportunities.”

Leonie Philbert skates through zone while eyes set on puck. Caroline Marsh

While McGill had the advantage in the offensive zone at five-on-five, Concordia benefitted from five opportunities on the player advantage.

Very much like last week’s game against Université de Montréal, the units were able to move the puck around in the zone, creating some quality chances for themselves. But just like last week’s game, Concordia came out of this one empty ended on the player advantage.

“We’re going to have to take a look,” said Chu. “We had some good looks early on with that first power play. We just have to get that monkey off our backs. Once we’ll get one, we’ll feel a little more confident about it.”

The back and forth battle extended into the third period with the play opening up more allowing for better scoring chances taking the suspense to new highs with every shot.

Concordia was handed a golden opportunity to take this one in the first overtime period when McGill’s Marika Labrecque was sent to the penalty box for body checking.

The Stingers ice-cold power play was once again not able to put the finishing touches to this despite some amazing chances at four-on-three. The squad’s best chance on this power play was actually blown dead by the official after she had lost sight of the puck in a scramble in front of McGill’s Tricia Deguire.

But the Martlets goaltender couldn’t save her team when Concordia’s Marie-Pascale Bernier connected with Amelie Lemay. The Stingers’ forward was able to simply slide the puck under Deguire to send the arena into a frenzy.

With the win, Concordia now sits at 5-0-0 with a three point lead over Montréal in the standings. The Stingers will have a chance to extend that lead on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. when the Carabins come to Ed Meagher arena, following a defeat to the hands of the Gee-Gees on Friday night.