Martlets 3, Stingers 0: Crosstown Rivals Spoil Home Opener
Stingers Women’s Hockey Shutout By McGill Martlets
The Concordia Stingers women’s team had their home opener spoiled on Sunday as the McGill Martlets walked out of Ed Meagher Arena with a convincing 3-0 win.
The Stingers have now lost two games in a row, being shut out on both occasions and leaving them with a 1-2 record to start off the season.
The game got off to an extremely defensive start, with both teams only being able to muster up three shots collectively. However, a forecheck that can only be described as demonic on behalf of the Martlets saw them dominate the majority of the game. Their physical style of play earned them a degree of success, while not finding the back of the net, as they repeatedly stopped the Stingers from efficiently breaking out of their zone on multiple occasions.
The forecheck was the Martlets’ key to stifling a Stingers team that went into the last two weeks as the top seeded team in the country. Head coach Julie Chu stressed that the team needs to find more consistency throughout the game.
“They do a good job forechecking hard and we have to be able to get more bodies up the ice,” said Chu. “We’re not far off, we just have to work on being more connected in our transition game and it’s preventing us from having the consistent ability to have the offence that we want.”
The first two periods saw a goalie battle between Concordia’s Alice Philbert and Mcgill’s Tricia Deguire. With Katherine Purchase being injured over the summer at Team Canada’s camp and not having played since the start of the season, Philbert has been more than up to the task, giving up only four goals on 82 shots over the first three games.
“We can’t wait to for the first goal to start attacking,” added Philbert. ”We have a really strong team and we have to capitalize on our chances more.”
Both goaltenders held onto a shutout until four minutes into the third period, when Sidonie Chard put home a rebound following a scramble to give McGill the lead. Only after going down did the Stingers’ offence come alive, with Audrey Belzile almost tying the game up less than a minute after conceding the first goal.
“We need to play with more of a sense of urgency right from the start and make sure that we set the tone,” said Belzile. “There’s definitely some things we need to work on this week including breakouts and playing more physically.”
Regardless of the Stingers attempts to tie the game up, McGill continued to control the pace of the game. With less than four minutes to go, Marika Labrecque doubled the lead and Frederique Gauthier added an empty net goal a minute later. While the Stingers did up the pressure in the third frame and forced some exceptional saves from Deguire, the Martlets never looked out of control, sending back every wave of attacks with increasing confidence. In the end, the Stingers paid the price for a lack of consistent effort and pressure.
“The big thing for us is we have to find a way to be better connected and to string multiple positive shifts together,” said Chu. “We’re too inconsistent in having good shifts and building off of eachother.”
This start to the season also will serve as a strong wake up call to such a young team, a lot of whom have not played together for long. With 11 rookies on the roster, the team is going to have to gel and get on the same page if they want to defend their Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec title.
The Stingers will look to exact revenge on their first loss of the season when they face the Université de Montréal Carabins on Friday, Nov. 2 at the Ed Meagher Arena.
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