Concordia 7, Ottawa 0: Stingers Overwhelm Gee-Gees in Last Game Of The Season
Stingers Conclude Regular Season With Seven-Game Winning Streak
Concordia came into Saturday’s game versus the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees sitting one point behind hometown rival McGill in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec standings. A win would provide the Stingers with home-ice advantage in the eventual series against the Martlets.
“It’s always motivating to play at home,” said Audrey Belzile, who finishes the season leading the team in points and goals. “Especially the first game because it is the most important of the playoffs. We know our ice and we know our boards, it’s always a plus.”
Before securing the second seed in the rankings, Concordia had to take care of business against a Gee-Gees team that was guaranteed to finish fourth.
The Stingers benefited from several good scoring chances in the first 10 minutes of the game. But Ottawa goaltender, Jennifer Walker, was outstanding during that span.
The relentless pressure from Concordia finally paid off when Marie-Pascale Bernier, who was left alone on the opposite side of the crease, was set up by Amélie Lemay. It was the first of two goals during the game for Bernier as she netted in seventh of the year midway through the second period.
Bernier’s first slammed open the floodgates for the Stingers as they added two other goals during the first frame. In her final regular season game as a Stinger, Melinda Prevost, buried a blistering wrist shot over Walker’s glove to make it 2-0. Belzile got the third goal for the home side finishing off a three-on-one she had started back in the defensive zone.
Concordia came out just as dangerous in the second as the converted in less than two minutes. Claudia Dubois finished off a wonderful play from teammate Sophie Gagnon to make it 4-0. At that point in the game, every single line had managed to score a goal for the Maroon and Gold.
“It’s huge,” said head coach Julie Chu of her fourth line contributing offensively. “If we get stuck on having only one line scoring that’s gonna be tough for us.” Chu also lauded the importance of contributing in other facets of the game like defensive plays and shot blocking.
Dubois was right back at it on the ensuing faceoff deflecting rookie defender Sandrine Lavictoire’s point-shot for her second in less than 30 seconds. The goal chased Walker out of the game in favour of usual starter Maude Lévesque-Ryan.
“The two goals on the same shift in the second were definitely the back breaker,” said Belzile. “We simply never stopped working and trying to score.”
As mentioned above, Bernier made it 6-0 with her second midway through the second giving the Stingers a practically insurmountable lead.
“We told ourselves that we had to get ready for Thursday,” said Belzile on the 6-0 advantage coming out in the third. “We wanted to continue pushing the little details and keep on working because our team never stops working.”
Concordia’s offense did not click as well in the third period, but they still managed to add one more goal to their lead. Lavictoire scored her first career goal in the RSEQ with a smart wrist shot from the point.
“I’m really happy I got to score before the season ended,” said Lavictoire. “I waited for game number 20 out of 20, but I am truly happy.”
The rookie was obviously ecstatic in the post-game interview following her goal. She commented on how she sees the future play out for the reigning RSEQ champions as they start their walk towards their title defense.
“The more we win, the more we like to win,” said Lavictoire. “We’re on a hot streak right now and, in my opinion, we’re not gonna lose again this year. I have a feeling that we’re on a high and we’re not coming down.”
Another graduating player, goaltender Katherine Purchase, had a relatively busy night in front of Concordia’s cage. The goalie stayed true to herself showing poise and focus despite the long breaks in action on her side of the ice for most of the game.
Along with Purchase and Prevost, the Stingers organization also honoured captain Devon Thompson and assistant-captain Sophie Gagnon. The four of them will be graduating at the end this academic year.
“Those four graduating players have done a lot for this program,” said Chu. “They help to change the culture. It’s easy now, when we have veteran leaders like them. They monitor themselves in that locker room.” She also praised the graduating veterans on their positive influence on younger players on and off the ice.
The four graduating players will get a chance to play at least one more home game on Thursday night. The match up will mark game number one of a best-of-three series pitting them against eternal rival McGill at Ed Meagher arena.
“It’s going to be a war out there,” said Chu. “Home ice advantage is a little bit of a bonus, but again, when it comes down to it, we have to take care of the little things.”
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