Special Teams Help Keep Stingers Rolling
Women’s Hockey Team Prevails In Big Road Victory
With the playoffs set to start at the end of the month, the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team continued to roll along on the road, winning by a convincing 3-1 score versus the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Friday night.
With third place in the Reseau du Sports Etudiants au Quebec conference all but a sure lock, the Stingers traveled to the Minto Sports Complex. After four games this season so far, Concordia has dominated with a 3-0-1 record.
“I think right now we’re all a very focused hockey team,” said head coach Les Lawton. “It’s not always been easy as you know, but right now we’re really battling each and every game.”
“We’re a tough team to play against.”
The game started off strong for Concordia as fifth-year veteran Alyssa Sherrard had a couple back-to-back wraparound attempts that came up close. Gee-Gee standout goaltender Maude Levesque-Ryan stopped both.
The Stingers got on the board first when they turned an odd-player Ottawa shorthanded rush into a breakout pass by Kerianne Schofield up to Sherrard, who had time and space to shoot the puck top corner.
“It’s the last time I’m playing against them so I’m happy I left a mark,” said Sherrard. “Definitely the nicest goal I’ve ever scored.”
By the end of the first, Concordia went to the dressing room up by one and with a strong 15-5 shot advantage.
Early in the second, Ottawa wanted to equalize and had a close opportunity when off a poor Stinger line change, the Gee-Gees turned the puck over and had a three-on-zero rush. In the end, they couldn’t even muster a shot on Concordia goaltender Katherine Purchase.
Purchase made 18 saves for her fourth win of the season. She is currently leading the entire Canadian Interuniversity Sport in both goals against average, allowing 1.12 goals a game and save percentage of .955.
“At this point in the season I’m just really glad about how happy we’ve been working as of late,” said Purchase. “We feel really good in the room and have the confidence going forward.”
Late in the frame, Ottawa managed to tie the game up when Camille Pauck-Therrien tucked a rebound under Purchase.
At the end of 40, with the score deadlocked at one, the shots were a commanding 28-10 Concordia.
The score remained that way until late in the third when Sherrard tucked a backhand shot for another powerplay goal with just under eight to go in the game.
The goal was capped off after a great passing set by the Stingers, getting their ninth powerplay goal in their last 14. Defenders Marie-Joelle Allard and Caroll-Ann Gagne drew assists.
“Everybody was in the mood to play and we all knew what our tasks were beforehand,” said Gagne. “Looking forward to the playoffs, we’re really pumped.”
“Everybody is having fun on and off the ice,” said Allard. “We’re playing hard, enjoying ourselves and it shows in our work ethic cause the games show it all; same with special teams everything is clicking.”
The game was a dominant performance by Concordia in every facet, but the game got tense in the last few minutes when Sherrard was assessed a minor for holding.
A close chance had the puck roll along the goal line but didn’t find the back of the net.
With Levesque-Ryan pulled, the Gee-Gees tried to give it their all but behind their net a defender blew a tire, slipped and forward Valerie Wade fed teammate Anne-Julie Deschenes, who made no mistake scoring her second in the last three games.
The final buzzer sounded and Concordia was victorious pulling to a 6-6-3 record. Their next game is next Saturday afternoon against their bitter rival McGill Martlets.
“We have four lines and six defence and everybody knows what they have to do, and three goaltenders who have led the country in saves percentage and goals against,” said Lawton. “Next week will be a good tune-up before the playoffs start.”