Montreal 3, Concordia 2: Stingers Come Up Short in Another Close Game with Rival Carabins

Backup Alice Philbert Steps in For Injured Katherine Purchase For Second Straight Game

Les Carabins win game one in overtime. File Photo Daren Zomerman

After five highly-contested battles during the regular season that each required extra time, it was only fitting to see the trend continue in the playoffs.

Sure enough, game one of the best-of-three Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec finals between the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team and the Université de Montréal Carabins ended in overtime, with the Carabins coming away with a 3-2 win at the CEPSUM Thursday night.

Concordia will be on their home ice for game two. File Photo Daren Zomerman
“We’re really well matched,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu. “We play, in a lot of ways, similar hockey. It’s going to come down to that little extra that someone is going to give to make a difference.”

Montreal’s game-winning marker came 5:40 into the ten minute four-on-four extra period. Carabins forward Alexandra Labelle fired home a shot from the slot that beat Stingers netminder Alice Philbert.

The goal came after Concordia battled hard to come back from two one-goal deficits.

“The first ten minutes, we didn’t start well,” said Chu. “Montreal outplayed us. We didn’t have intensity and we looked like we were a little bit nervous, which was not something we expected. It wasn’t our best game.”

Backup goaltender Philbert started her second consecutive playoff game for the Stingers as starter Katherine Purchase deals with an undisclosed injury. She made 24 saves in the losing effort.

“Alice played great for us, especially in those first ten minutes when we were back on our heels,” said Chu. “She made some great saves. She looked calm and confident in the goal. She did a great job for us.”

The Carabins scored first, nine seconds into a Stingers power-play. Laurie Mercier received a long pass from Labelle and went in alone on Philbert. She beat the keeper with a backhand roofer to give the Carabins a 1-0 lead.

The score remained the same through two periods of play. The Stingers, however, began the third period much the same way they finished the second; with sustained offensive pressure.

Every meeting between the two teams has gone to overtime. File Photo Daren Zomerman
Their tenacity paid off as just 30 seconds into the third period, forward Claudia Dubois got her first goal of the playoffs on the power play. She potted home a rebound of a Stephanie Lalancette shot into an empty cage to draw the teams back even.

The Carabins did pull back ahead on a Marie-Pier Dube goal, but the Stingers demonstrated their mettle by tying it back up. A short-handed goal off a perfectly placed shot by Lalancette that eluded Carabins starter Marie-Pier Chabot.

Despite the resiliency of the group, Chu noted some areas her team could improve upon moving forward.

“We just need to be sharper,” said Chu. “I think in the [defensive] zone, we gave them too much time and space. It allowed them to have possession time which took away from our jump on the offensive side.”

Chu also called for more “poise and composure” in the team’s game as they prepare for their pivotal game two matchup on Saturday afternoon at Ed Meagher arena. Puck drops at 3 p.m.