Gee-Gees 2, Stingers 1: Offensive zone turnover leads to double overtime heartbreak for the Stingers

Home opener spoiled by Ottawa at the Ed Meagher Arena

Concordia’s home opener claimed by the Ottawa Gee-Gees Photo Credit: Caroline Marsh

The atmosphere was ecstatic from the start. Boisterous sounds rang throughout the Ed Meagher arena, declaring the start to the 2021-22 season; only to be silenced by the Garnet & Grey game-winner scored by Ariane Aubin in double overtime.

Ottawa jumped out of the gates firing shots in quickly, but Concordia goalie Alice Philbert was equal to the task. 

A hooking penalty five minutes into the first period sparked momentum for the Stingers, where they showcased dynamic passing on the powerplay, but were unable to put the puck in the back of the net. 

The Stingers and the Gee-Gees would swap penalties just past the halfway mark, and Concordia adds pressure on the 4-on-4, forcing Ottawa netminder, Aurelie Dubuc, to make key saves. Dubuc’s sturdy presence kept the Stingers off the board, and by the end of the first period, the game remained scoreless, with shots favouring Concordia 10-6.

The Stingers took the ice with a full head of steam at the start of the second frame, taking a higher volume of shots towards Ottawa’s net. A misplacement of the puck by the Gee-Gees in the neutral zone was retrieved by Stingers defenseman Brigitte Laganière, creating a 2 on 0 where Dubuc was incapable of stopping the cross-crease feed from the Stingers assistant captain. Forward Stephanie Lalancette would bury it, opening up the scoring for Concordia to 1-0 in the fourth minute of the second period. 

“As a team, we bond really well,” said Laganière post-game when asked about the Stingers’ chemistry. Laganière attributed the chemistry as a direct translation from the locker room rapport, saying that the team is like one big family. 

Ottawa responded, however, with forward Kate Maclean’s shot from the slot. It squeaked past Philbert, tying the game at 1-1 going into the third.

The third period was full of end-to-end play. Both teams' frustration brought on by the lust to score fueled incredibly physical play; However, at the end of regulation, the game was still knotted up at 1-1, despite Concordia outshooting the Garnet & Grey 32-21.

“We’ve got to make it difficult on goaltenders. We have to have a better net-front presence,” said Stingers’ coach Julie Chu when addressing the missed opportunities by her team, after the game. “Ultimately, on those chances that we got, we had some pretty incredible chances. We’ve got to bear down and score more than one goal. We’ve got to figure out how to get it in the back of the net.”

Overtime would commence with the Stingers controlling the puck off of consecutive face-off wins. Both teams would put pucks on net, with frustration mounting and the crowd on the edge of their seats. The first overtime settled nothing, and the game remained tied at one goal.

In the second overtime, a defensive zone miscue by Concordia. A forechecking Aubin gained possession of the puck and beat Philbert right-pad side, winning the game for Ottawa, and spelling defeat for the Stingers. 

“I think we have to learn from today and learn to play 60 minutes,” said Stingers’ captain Audrey Belzile when asked about how the team will respond going forward after the loss. “This is the first game out of 25. There is still the whole season. We have to build off the positives.”

The Concordia women's hockey team will play their next home game on Nov. 6 at the Ed Meagher arena. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.