McGill Extends Winning Streak
Tough First Period Costs Women’s Hockey Team in Season Opener
The Quebec university women’s hockey season opened on Oct. 8 at McConnell Arena, with an action-packed game that ended 7-4 in favour of the McGill Martlets over the visiting Concordia Stingers.
“Obviously McGill is the team to beat and they’ve got a lot of veterans when you look at the age of some of their players,” said Concordia head coach Les Lawton, whose team conceded five goals in the opening 20 minutes.
“I’m really proud of the way the team responded after being down by such a big score [at the end of] the first period.”
Veteran goaltender Audrey Doyon-Lessard saved 47 of 54 shots. Scoring for the Stingers were forwards Erin Lally, who notched a brace, Maggie MacNeil and Emilie Bocchia.
Amazingly, it took four powerplays for the Martlets to finally capitalize with an extra player—an aspect of the game McGill coach Peter Smith thinks will improve with time.
“I just didn’t think we shot the puck enough,” he said. “We got a little bit too fancy and should have gotten more pucks to the net on the powerplay.
McGill opened the scoring just 30 seconds into the game when Martlet Leslie Oles fired a shot into the top right corner. Sniper Ann-Sophie Bettez, defender Caroline Hill and forward Katia Clément-Heydra followed up with three more goals before the Stingers were awarded a power-play opportunity with 1:48 left in the first.
Unfortunately, Concordia got caught in the offensive zone barely a minute in, which allowed for Martlet Lainie Smith to exploit the left side and beat Doyon-Lessard to her right for an unassisted short-handed marker.
But exactly 20 seconds later, Lally scored with the man-advantage to make it 5-1 after the first period.
“I told them, ‘listen, there’s nothing we can do about what’s happened. We didn’t get any breaks at all in the first, but if we keep working hard, we’ll get some breaks,’” Lawton told his players during the first intermission.
The Stingers came out at the start of the second period looking a lot better than they did in the first—until getting into more penalty trouble.
After the Concordia penalty-killers did another fine job of stifling the McGill attackers during a penalty issued to MacNeil, they would break down with only one second left in a penalty to forward Hayley Boyd just eight minutes later. The Martlets’ newly appointed captain and powerplay quarterback Cathy Chartrand blasted a slap shot from the middle to make it 6-1 for McGill.
The Stingers doubled their tally when rookie Shannon O’Reilly’s soft shot on net was eventually put over the line by MacNeil 12 seconds from the end of the penultimate period.
Doyon-Lessard made a flurry of stops in the third period and allowed just one goal by Gillian Ferrari, while the Stingers made the most of their three shots as Bocchia and MacNeil each scored to narrow the deficit to three goals.
“The beginning [of the game] wasn’t great,” said Bocchia, who also recorded an assist on the night. “But we picked it up in the second and definitely won the last period, which I thought showed a lot of character.”
The women’s hockey team will visit the Université de Montréal Carabins Oct. 15 at 7:00 p.m.
This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 09, published October 12, 2010.