Concordia 4, Saskatchewan 0: One down, two to go

All-around effort lifts Stingers women’s hockey team to U Sports semifinals

Stingers celebrate a goal during the U Sports championship quarterfinals Courtesy Liam Mahoney — Concordia Athletics

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team broke the hearts of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies’ faithful, coming away with a 4-0 victory in their U Sports quarterfinal matchup at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon on March 14.

Two very different teams clashed on the ice. The Stingers—a juggernaut looking to avenge last year’s heartbreak at the U Sports Championships—found themselves face-to-face with an upstart underdog in the Huskies.

Even as the top-seeded team in the tournament, Concordia did not underestimate their opponent. The Huskies, boasting home-ice advantage and one of the top U Sports netminders in Camryn Drever, left nothing guaranteed for the Stingers in a winner-take-all game.

Saskatchewan came flying out of the gate in their first bout since being ousted from the Canada West quarterfinal on Feb. 18, outshooting the Stingers 11-7 in the opening frame. But goaltender Jordyn Verbeek and her goalposts came up big, stifling every Huskies offensive attempt. She finished the game with a 26-save shutout in her first-ever national championship appearance.

Who else but Concordia captain Emmy Fecteau should open the scoring for the Stingers? Fecteau received a pass from forward Justine Yelle just over eight minutes into the first period, and the ensuing shot took several deflections before finding its way behind Drever for the first tally of the game, and the eventual game-winning goal.

Another veteran forward, Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, doubled the lead early in the second period. Rookie sensation Émilie Lussier took it from there, notching two insurance markers late in the third period to secure the 4-0 victory. Yelle took home Player of the Game honours for the Stingers, assisting on each of the first two goals.

The Stingers’ quest for U Sports glory continues in the semifinal on Saturday, March 16, when they lace up the skates against the fourth-seeded University of Waterloo Warriors, who took home the Ontario University Athletics title. A win would propel Concordia to a third consecutive U Sports gold medal game appearance. The puck will drop at 6 p.m. All U Sports Championships games are live-streamed for free on the CBC Sports YouTube channel and the CBC Sports website.