McGill 5, Concordia 3: Stingers Women’s Hockey Season Ends On a Heartbreaking Note
Concordia Gives Up Five Consecutive Goals in Defeat
After a crushing 6-2 defeat on Thursday night, Concordia’s women’s hockey team had the chance to even up their semifinal series against the McGill Martlets.
The rivals met on Saturday afternoon at McConnell arena to write a new chapter in their storied rivalry.
After an amazing start to the game for the Stingers, McGill came clawing back into this one to eliminate the reigning Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec champions.
“This is a hard one,” said head coach Julie Chu. “It’s definitely a tough one to swallow. It’s going to hurt for a long time.”
Concordia took the game by storm from the initial faceoff. Contrary to Thursday’s matchup, they were able to establish their forecheck early on in the game, leading to some quality scoring chances in the first frame.
The chances turned into a goal when Claudia Dubois opened scoring on a superb individual effort. The veteran picked the puck up off an adversary before darting into the offensive zone, finishing the play with a wrist shot with surgical precision.
The Stingers took the lead with them into the locker room after the first 20 minutes.
They didn’t waste time adding to it in the second period as all-star rookie Rosalie Bégin-Cyr netted her first career RSEQ playoff goal five minutes in.Concordia grabbed hold of a convincing lead, scoring their third goal midway through the frame. Maria Manarolis finished a superb forechecking effort by lodging the puck just out of goaltender Tricia Deguire’s reach. Deguire was pulled following the goal, marking the second time a goalie was pulled in the series.
“We had a good reset yesterday,” said Chu. “We got a chance to meet as a team. We watched video to correct areas that we needed to be better at.”
In total control of the game at that point, Concordia conceded a goal to the home side in the latter half of the second. The tally allowed McGill to keep their hopes alive.
Late in the second, McGill made a strong push to shorten the lead, sending bodies to crash the paint. The attempt resulted in a disallowed goal and a minor to McGill’s Jade Downie-Landry for goaltender interference. The Stingers had the chance to put away the game with a power play to start the third.
Holding on to that one goal lead, Concordia was offered back-to-back opportunities to get going on the power play. But as it happened so many times this season, the special teams couldn’t convert at crucial moments of the game.
The rest of the game was all McGill as Kellyanne Lecours added her second to tie things up. Their third goal swayed the momentum entirely in their favour. They rode their high energy following the equalizer to capitalize late in the third with an unfortunate bounce of the puck ending up behind veteran Katherine Purchase.
Chu opted to pull Purchase for a final attempt at the tying the game, but McGill finished the job with the empty netter.
Probably most shocking of all were the shots on goal in the third.
Chu quickly pointed out the four goals on six shots in the third. But the lack of production on the power play was not addressed as a downfall.
“We actually played pretty well in the third,” she said. “Where we got ourselves in a little bit of trouble and led to a couple of their goals were just turnovers.”
Words were not needed from the players to understand their clear disappointment. The heartbreak must have been especially frustrating for graduating players Melinda Prévost, Sophie Gagnon, Devon Thompson and Purchase.
The squad gathered around their veteran goaltender’s net following the defeat in a final moment on ice for this lineup.
“I think the effort of our team was really good and solid,” said Chu. “They have been battling all year long to be the team that they are. I’m really proud of them.”