Stingers 4, Carabins 1: Golden Again
Concordia Women’s Hockey Win Second Consecutive RSEQ Title With Win Over Montréal Carabins
A winner-take-all game three saw the Concordia Stingers defeat the Montréal Carabins 4-1 on Mar. 5.
Following a loss in game two, the Concordia Stingers quickly shifted their focus to the deciding game of their best-of-three series against the Montréal Carabins. The two teams finished the regular season atop the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) standings–Concordia in first place and Montréal in second.
As fans supporting both universities filled Ed Meagher Arena, the puck dropped for game three of the RSEQ Championship. Stingers’ head coach Julie Chu spoke on how the Stingers have benefitted from their home crowd throughout the playoffs.
“They came out really well today and they were loud and rowdy over our entire playoffs–it makes a difference,” said Chu. ” To get a chance to win [the championship] for our team and for our university, it is huge.”
By being hard on the forecheck and winning races to the puck, Concordia was able to create numerous offensive opportunities in the first period. The Stingers used their sustained offensive zone time to get on the scoreboard first.
Eight minutes into the opening frame, Stingers’ forward Kristina Stathas wristed a shot from the blue line that got deflected perfectly onto the stick of forward Alexandra Boulanger. Boulanger corralled the puck and shot it past Carabins’ goaltender Aube Racine, giving Concordia a 1-0 lead.
In the latter-half of the first period, the Stingers’ found themselves short-handed for a second time. Despite being a player down, Stingers’ captain and defenseman Olivia Hale sprung forward Caroline Moquin-Joubert onto a breakaway, where she beat Racine, extending Concordia’s lead to 2-0.
The Stingers’ discipline trouble continued during the second period. Two separate five-on-three sequences were awarded to the Carabins following four minor penalties by the Stingers. With the Carabins knowing this could be their best chance to change the game’s momentum, a timeout was taken to draw up plays.
With a valiant effort, Concordia was able to kill off both five-on-three scenarios. Coach Chu spoke on this moment postgame: “I think anytime you can have a penalty kill, block shots, and give that warrior mentality, it can be a momentum builder. It was still really calm on the bench, there was still this mentality that we were going to kill off what we needed to.”
Stingers goaltender Alice Philbert continued to shine as she has throughout the entire season, making a massive breakaway save halfway through the period.
In the closing minutes of the period, a good shift by the Carabins was capped off with a goal when forward Joanie Garand finally solved Philbert. The Stingers stayed persistent, however.
The final period got underway with Montréal desperately trying to knot the game at two. Philbert continued to stand tall while the Stingers’ offence did their job.
Ten minutes into the period, Stingers’ forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr fired a shot from a sharp angle, sniping it past the surprised Carabins goaltender to give Concordia a 3-1 lead.
With the clock on the side of the Stingers, Montréal yanked their goalie for one more final push. Despite having their extra attacker on the ice, the Carabins struggled to get shots past the Stingers’ defence, who made several key blocks.
In the final two minutes, Boulanger was able to clear the puck from the defensive zone and chase after it herself. With the puck rolling towards the empty net, Boulanger darted past the Montréal defence and scored her second goal of the game, sealing Concordia’s victory.
As the buzzer sounded, the Stingers clinched the RSEQ championship for a second consecutive year. Philbert explained what this win meant for her and the Stingers.
“[The win was] incredible,” she said. “Not a lot of teams can [win a championship]. I think that we showed that although we lost a lot of players last year, we still had good chemistry with the new players.”
The Stingers’ focus now shifts to the U Sports nationals tournament, where they will face top-seeded teams from around Canada. With Concordia successfully defending their RSEQ championship, they will attempt to do the same at nationals. The tournament will take place at Université de Montréal from March 16 to 19.