Stingers 10, Carabins 4: Three-peat achieved

Stingers clinch the provincial championship at home

Courtney Rice (back) shares an embrace with Émilie Lavoie (front) after winning the provincial championship. Photo Alice Martin

Concordia Stingers women’s hockey fans rocked the Ed Meagher Arena on March 3, as the team captured their third straight Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) championship, beating the Université de Montréal (UdeM) Carabins 10-4.

“Although we might have been undefeated in the regular season, there was still a lot of adversity,” said head coach Julie Chu. [The players] don’t bat an eyelid… I think today, a lot of people stepped up. I’m really proud of this group.” 

The first period was marked by physicality, fast-paced play and two teams willing to risk it all. Pucks were frequently battled in the corners with enough grit to shake the end boards. The opposing crowds tried to outcheer the other to sway momentum in their team's favour.

The Stingers made it difficult to gain said momentum past the ten-minute mark. They were forced to kill off back-to-back penalties—defender Rachel McIntyre for hooking and forward Émilie Lavoie for tripping. Thanks to good shot blocking and sturdy goaltending, both teams entered the locker room to a 0-0 game at intermission. 

The offence exploded in the second frame. UdeM caused a scrum in front of the Stingers' net, knocking goaltender Jordyn Verbeek to the ice. The puck was scooped and scored by forward Marie Terriault, giving the Carabins a 1-0 lead, but not for long.

Stingers forward Megan Bureau-Gagnon collected the puck at the side of the Carabins' net and jammed at the puck until it crossed the line, tying the game. Moments later, Bureau-Gagnon struck again. Confusion ensued in front of the crease, allowing her shot to deflect off a body and past Carabins goalie Aube Racine. 

Stingers defender Alexandre-Anne Boyer joined in on the scoring. After a mess of bodies tied up the defenders, Boyer saw the loose puck and capitalized by firing it into an open cage, making it a 3-1 lead for Concordia.

A scary turn of events took place after a Carabins timeout. Forward Caroline Moquin-Joubert took a tumble into the boards and attempted to crawl back to the bench as the referees delayed calling the play dead. She would not return and was seen with a walking cast on her right foot post-game.

“We really wanted to win that game for her,” said Bureau-Gagon, who tallied five points in the series. “She’s someone that is always team-first, working hard every game. So, we really wanted to win that game for her and I think that’s what made the difference.”

The Carabins inched closer when a shot from blue liner Kaleanne Laforge made its way through traffic and under the Stingers' cross-bar. The Stingers responded immediately, first when Bureau-Gagnon fed a streaking forward Emmy Fecteau, who buried the puck five-hole. Leah Kosowski received a backhand pass into the slot, which she smacked home. The Stingers took a 5-2 lead into the second intermission. 

Scoring-wise, the third period replicated the second. It started with Fecteau rifling the puck blocker-side past Racine. The Carabins responded on the power play when forward Wikona Laloche snapped a shot towards the far post and past Verbeek. 

Fecteau would then feed linemate Jessymaude Drapeau on the power play for Drapeau’s first goal of the day. With an extended 7-3 lead for the Stingers, it prompted Carabins head coach Isabelle Leclaire to swap Racine for netminder Maude Desroches. 

The goalie swap did not pay off, as Drapeau slapped home a rebound moments later.

UdeM scored their fourth and last marker on the day when forward Amélie Poire-Lehoux took advantage after Boyer was called for a checking penalty. Poire-Lehoux jammed at a puck in the crease and nudged it past Verbeek. 

Poire-Lehoux was seen celebrating with a fist pump directed at the Stingers crowd, which the home team did not take lightly. The Stingers responded with two final goals—one from forward Émilie Lussier and the other from defender Camille Richard—before the final buzzer sounded.

As the scoreboard hit zero, the celebration began, as the Stingers were crowned RSEQ champions for the third consecutive year.

“We’re going to celebrate today, but tomorrow is a new day, new week,” said Fecteau after the win. “We’re going to be ready for Nationals because [winning] is what we want. But we’re going to enjoy today.”

The team will now prepare for U Sports Nationals, where the quarterfinals will begin on March 14 in Saskatoon.