Stingers 4, Carabins 1: Stingers steal game two

Stingers stay alive in RSEQ finals, will return home for game three

Megan Bureau-Gagnon celebrates Émilie Lussier’s first goal of the night. Photo Alice Martin

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team staved off elimination, stealing game two of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) finals 4-1 against the Université de Montréal Carabins at CEPSUM on March 2. 

“All season long we’ve talked about being one-game focused,” said head coach Julie Chu. “Even Thursday[‘s game one loss], there were a lot of good things we did… We talk about turning the page, processing Thursday. Friday we had a good check-in, but they already—as players—turned the page.”

The first period brought the same physicality displayed in game one. As hits were dealt out, the Stingers peppered Carabins netminder Aube Racine with shots from the point. The strategy seemingly was to bombard the goaltender and get bodies to screen her. Racine remained sturdy, not allowing a goal in the first 20 minutes.

Speaking of solid goaltending, Stingers netminder Jordyn Verbeek stood tall on more than one occasion. On the penalty kill following a tripping penalty assessed to forward Émilie Lavoie, a bad bounce hit off the end boards and was immediately one-timed blocker side. Verbeek sprawled out, robbing the Carabins from scoring the opening marker. 

“This year I had [a puck] bounce the same and I let it in,” said Verbeek on her save. “I practiced it afterwards with my goalie coach Olivier Gervais. I was prepped to make that save, read the bounce, and I got over.” 

The Carabins outshot the Stingers in the opening frame 12-9, as the game remained scoreless heading into the first intermission. But not for long.

Six minutes into the second period, Stingers forward Émilie Lussier took a wrister from the blue line that was deflected out of the air by Megan Bureau-Gagnon and into the Carabins’ net. 

Thanks to Bureau-Gagnon’s goal, the Stingers held onto the momentum despite the Carabins’ best efforts.

In the later stages of the frame, the Stingers jumped out to a two-goal lead. Captain Emmy Fecteau looked hungry to extend the lead. The Stingers’ senior took a shot from in-close, and the rebound found its way to Jessymaude Drapeau, who capitalized. The Stingers held onto the 2-0 lead heading into the third period.  

Concordia sealed the deal in the third period. Lavoie found some open ice, carrying the puck wide and eventually chipping a nifty backhand over Racine’s shoulder.

Lavoie recounted her goal postgame: “I saw Justine [Yelle] driving the net… the goalie went really low—-which really surprised me—so I said ‘Let’s just shoot it.’ And Justine was there for the rebound.” 

The Carabins continued to battle. Forward Leyla Gagnon collected the puck after a lucky bounce, allowing her to fire home a shot before Verbeek could react, sneaking it five-hole. The Carabins still trailed 3-1.

Following their goal, head coach Isabelle Leclaire pulled Racine for an extra attacker despite just under five minutes remaining. It did not pay off, as Lussier raised a Carabins defender for a puck trickling towards the goal, netting the puck into an open cage.

The Stingers take their 4-1 win and shift focus to their game tomorrow, now with home-ice advantage. Puck-drop at Ed Meagher Arena is set for 3 p.m.

 “When the puck drops, we’ll be there,” said Lavoie. “We’ll be intense, we’ll play fast… We’ll do everything we can to win.”