Concordia 5, Bishop’s 1: ‘Showtime’ for Stingers

Gaiters Rattled by Rowdy Home Crowd

Courtesy Kyran Thicke - Concordia Stingers Athletics

A rowdy crowd of 155 fans at the Ed Meagher arena were treated to highlight-reel goals and a slew of scrums. A high-spirited 5-1 victory by the Concordia Stingers over the Bishop’s Gaiters was the outcome in game one of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec semifinal on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Tons of athletes from Concordia’s varsity teams poured into the stands to support the women’s hockey squad. Rally towels, chants and drums were some of the distractions used to get into the heads of the road team, and they undoubtedly did so.

“It was special to see our student section really come out [with] the different teams and different people around our community,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu. “I think that was a difference-maker for us.”

The playoff atmosphere set in early during the opening frame with plenty of back-and-forth action. Both teams exchanged checks and scoring chances, but the Stingers were the ones that dominated play, outshooting the Gaiters 15-6 in the period and 42-22 overall.

Nearly nine minutes in, Stingers forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr received a pass from linemate Emmy Fecteau and roofed it under the bar to make it 1-0 on the power play. The Beauce, Que. connection was in sync throughout the contest, as they combined for four points.

“Sometimes we know where each other are without even looking,” Bégin-Cyr said in French. “It’s been such a long time since we played together, from when we were kids, but we have some pretty good chemistry.”

The gritty play continued off the ensuing faceoff. A two-minute minor for slashing was given to Stingers forward Émilie Lavoie, who was physically involved all night. With her head held low, Lavoie skated towards the box for her second trip of the period.

Gaiters' captain Marie-Camille Théorêt took advantage only 24 seconds into the power play, blasting a clapper from the blueline to tie it at one apiece ahead of the first intermission. Théorêt was mobbed with hugs by her Gaiters’ teammates, who are in their first postseason of RSEQ competition.

“We expected a great game against Bishop’s,” Chu said postgame, crediting the team for their vast improvement since their inauguration into the league in 2021. “They’re a really good team, and [we knew] they were going to come out and [play] hard.”

Just five minutes into the second period, Stingers defender Alexandra-Anne Boyer patiently walked in from a sharp angle, curled the puck back and wired it high through traffic for her first playoff goal as a member of the maroon and gold.

“There was a little hole,” Boyer described seeing on her eventual game-winner, “I heard someone say ‘Shoot.’ I had an incredible screen and just took the shot and showtime!”

And they showed up big time.

Boyer and the Stingers came out buzzing in the third period, scoring three unanswered goals. Forward Justine Yelle got the ball rolling midway through before Jessymaude Drapeau sealed it with a pair on the power play. A special teams unit that sat atop the country in percentage at 24.7 during the regular season.

Post-whistle scuffles, illegal hits to the head and other undisciplined acts carried over until the final horn sounded, as the Stingers walked away with the first win of a best-of-three series against a jolted Gaiters team, who tallied a total of 22 minutes on infractions, including a game misconduct assessed to defender Noémie Garneau.

After the victory, the Stingers hit the road for a chance to sweep the Gaiters at the Jane and Eric Molson arena on Feb. 25. And they did so in a dominating fashion, earning another 5-1 win to advance to the RSEQ final.