Stingers 4, Carabins 1: Concordia cruises to easy win in preseason matchup

Women’s hockey team dominates in rematch of 2019 RSEQ semi-finals

The Philbert sisters (Léonie left and Alice right) are playing in their second season together for the Stingers. Photo Credit: Caroline Marsh

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team won their second straight preseason game with a 4-1 victory over the Université de Montréal Carabins.

Despite this being a preseason affair, there were some intriguing storylines. A semi-finals rematch of the 2019 RSEQ season, Stingers Head Coach Julie Chu returning from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s prospect camp, and Alexandra Boulanger playing against her former team for the first time as a Stinger.

“Montréal has always been one of our biggest rivals because they are a great team and we’ve always had amazing battles with them,” said Julie Chu about whether or not this preseason win had extra meaning after the loss in the 2019-2020 season. 

“For some of our veteran players that still feel the sting [from the loss] of a couple of years ago[...] it was fun for them to compete again and wipe away that game,” added Chu. 

Concordia had three power play opportunities in the first period but failed to capitalize. Université de Montréal was undisciplined in the first stanza with some late body checks. There were a total of seven penalties called in last night’s contest.

The Stingers had to kill a penalty early in the second period. Immediately after the teams were back at even strength, Concordia’s Chloé Gendreau pulled off a stunning move off of a backhand feed by Rosalie Bégin-Cyr to beat les Carabins goaltender and make the score 1-0.

Concordia was winning every puck battle in the second frame. With 8:26 minutes remaining in the period, Marie Pascale Bernier slotted home the puck in front of the net to bring the Stingers lead to 2-0. 

The window of opportunity for les Carabins to get back into the game opened up when the Stingers took two penalties towards the end of the second period. Opening the third with a five-on-three advantage, Montréal failed to capitalize. After the pressure applied by Montréal was nullified, rookie Zoé Thibault scored her second goal of the preseason to open the floodgates and make it 3-0.

Just two minutes after the Thibault goal, Stéphanie Lalancette continued the offensive onslaught for Concordia scoring the team’s fourth goal.

The Stingers continued to dictate the pace of play until Montréal blue-liner Breanne Dondo fired a rocket from the blue line past Concordia’s goaltender Madison Oakes to spoil her shutout. That was the only blemish on a near-perfect night for the Richmond Hill, Ont. native.

This game was Alexandra Boulanger’s first time playing against her former team. “It was very special, a little bit nerve wracking too,” said Boulanger when asked how it felt to compete against some of her former teammates. “I’m happy the first one is out of the way,” she added. 

Coach Chu was invited as a special instructor for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s prospect camp just one week ago. She gained some valuable experience that she hopes to bring to her youthful 2021-2022 roster.

It was also Audrey Belzile’s first home game as Concordia captain. She credits the coaching staff and the other veteran players for facilitating her role as the team leader. “We started as rookies and now [the leadership role] has been passed to us,” said Belzile.

Due to an entire year of RSEQ athletics being lost, the majority of teams are carrying a lot more rookies than previous years. The Stingers women’s hockey team is no exception.

The team's next preseason game is slated for Sept. 25 at the CEPSUM in a rematch with Université de Montréal. The regular season officially gets underway on Oct. 29 against The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees at the Ed Meagher Arena.