Stingers 3, Martlets 0: Concordia takes Game 1 of RSEQ Championship in decisive win over McGill

Women’s hockey team is now one away from RSEQ glory and a perfect playoff run

After another impressive showing, the Concordia women’s hockey team once again is in a prime spot to claim the RSEQ title. Photo Caroline Marsh

The Concordia women’s hockey team dominated in Game 1 of the RSEQ Championship, shutting out conference rivals McGill Martlets by the score of 3-0.

Concordia’s game plan going into tonight’s important match was to start off strong and build momentum in the first few minutes of the game, and they did just that.

“One thing we needed to do better was to have a better start in the first period,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu. “Last series, I’d say in both the games, our first 10 minutes weren't great. But tonight, we had a good jump and I thought we adjusted to the game.”

Chu, who has been the Stingers’ head coach since 2016, preached the importance of coming out hard and not letting your opponent dictate the pace of the game.

“Scoring first is always a bonus, it means we started well but were also prepared to play the game that’s in front of us,” continued Chu. 

An odd-man rush early in the first period led to forward Rosalie Begin-Cyr to open the scoring on a great pass from linemate Emmy Fecteau. Begin-Cyr’s second goal of the 2022 postseason would end up being the game-winner.

The Stingers got several other scoring chances in the first period, but they were all turned aside by the Martlets goaltender Tricia Deguire. The score would remain 1-0 after the first 20 minutes of play.

However, the Stingers struck again early in the second period on a goal from Stephanie Lalancette, who picked up a loose puck in front of the net and fired home her first goal of the 2022 playoffs. 

Not even 30 seconds later, Begin-Cyr would beat the Martlets goaltender on a quick shot between the legs to score her second goal of the night, and third in three games. And just like that, it was 3-0 Concordia with over 15 minutes to play in the second period.

“Rosalie is an incredible player, we are very, very blessed to have her on our team,” said Chu. “She’s been tremendous her entire career here, it’s no surprise she was able to come up with two big goals tonight.”

Stingers goaltender Alice Philbert quashed any hope of a McGill comeback, pushing aside all 20 shots she faced. Philbert has been sensational in the playoffs thus far, allowing just one goal in her last three starts, and sporting a .983 save percentage. 

“She was awesome, she’s had a big end of season,” said Stingers captain Audrey Belzile. “I think she’s had like four shutouts or something. She always keeps us in the game, she’s been making good saves. We need to put some pucks in the net for her.”

Although Belzile did not get on the scoresheet in her team’s 3-0 win over McGill, her presence was felt through her leadership and strong defensive play. 

“Having Audrey Belzile back has been really special,” said head coach Chu. “She’s been an awesome part of the team for six years now. She came back from a big injury in the first half, having her back on the ice is big and she’s playing some great hockey.”

Belzile, who’s been with the Concordia Stingers since the 2014-2015 season, has played 107 games with the team and has recorded an impressive 38 goals and 84 points in her tenure with the Stingers. To say she has been a staple to this team would be an understatement. 

“She’s such a great leader,” said Begin-Cyr. “She’s really good, and she’s always been good. She gives her best and her 100 per cent every day.”

The last time the two teams met in the playoffs was back in 2019, when the Martlets took the series in two games. Belzile is confident her team can get it done, and take down their conference rivals in two games. 

“We're confident [we can eliminate them] but we're not too cocky,” said Belzile. “It’s always a good game against them. Tomorrow's a new game, and we have to put in our head it’s 0-0. But we are not overthinking about the scenario that can happen.”

Game 2 of the RSEQ Championship will take place on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. in what is sure to be a fiery contest.