Concordia 5, McGill 0: Veterans Step up for Stingers

Second Period Offensive Outburst Leads to Win

Courtesy Liam Mahoney - Concordia Athletics

If you find yourself stuck in the middle, there is only one way to go–forward. This was indeed the case for the Concordia Stingers, who pushed the envelope in the second period to blank the McGill Martlets 5-0 on Jan. 14.

The first period was relatively quiet to say the least. Players on both benches were seemingly out of sync, as hardly any whistles were blown. Before you knew it, the middle frame was underway. Though, the bright spot was Stingers’ defender Alexandra-Anne Boyer, as her presence on the blueline was felt among the women’s hockey team, whose star pieces like Emmy Fecteau and Rosalie Bégin-Cyr are off representing Team Canada at the Lake Placid 2023 International University Sports Federation World University Games.

“[Boyer] had a tremendous game,” said Stingers’ head coach Julie Chu postgame. “I think something that she did really well was find that balance between doing her job defensively and then finding the smart and simple ways to attack on the offensive rush.”

Boyer’s offensive instincts shun nearly five minutes into the second period, as she quarterbacked the team’s power play unit that set up forward Megan Bureau-Gagnon’s low-slot goal. The effective special teams swung the momentum in the Stingers’ favour as forward Justine Yelle shovelled the puck in from the same slot area only 17 seconds later to double her team’s lead.

The reason for the majority of the Stingers’ success this season is goaltender Alice Philbert, who has been a force between the pipes with a .925 save percentage. Saturday was no exception, as she turned away numerous odd-man rushes and bailed out her team in the five minutes subsequent to Yelle’s goal.

“She’s always locked in and keeps us in the game,” Boyer said of Philbert. “We can always rely on her no matter what. She’s one of the most important players on this team, and we’re really grateful to have her.”

Philbert’s perfect play bolstered the confidence of her teammates as the second period progressed. Stingers’ forward Caroline Moquin-Joubert scored short side at the game’s halfway point with a quick release to extend the Stingers’ lead to three—and they did not let up there. With just under two minutes to play, forward Kristina Stathas cut to the net and lifted a puck in to close out the first 40 minutes.

Oohs and aahs could be heard from the crowd at the Ed Meagher arena for much of the third period, as Philbert continued her dominating performance to deliver a 22-save shutout. One of those aweing moments came midway in, as Philbert slid across to deny a one-timer from Martlets’ forward Marika Labrecque with a terrific pad save.

A lone power play goal from forward Émilie Lavoie followed, as she and the Stingers walked away with a fourth consecutive victory against their crosstown rivals. With the win, the Stingers are in the driver’s seat with a record of 12-3, solidifying the top spot of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec division.

“We know what we want to do in the end,” coach Chu said. She added that the team’s priority from now until the postseason is to remain level-headed and continue building on the right habits. “It’s been a fun process, and we’re just still in the middle of it.”

The Stingers must now make the trip to Sherbrooke, Que. in hopes of extending their three-game winning streak versus the Bishop’s Gaiters on Friday, Jan. 20. Puck-drop is set for 8 p.m..