Stingers 5, Gaiters 2: Émilie Lussier nets a hat trick in last home game

Playoffs pressure builds as Stingers remain undefeated with two games left

Stingers forward Émilie Lussier (centre) celebrates her first goal of the game with forward Émilie Lavoie (left) and defender Camille Richard (right). Photo Yann Rifflard

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team won decisively against the Bishop’s University Gaiters on Feb. 9 in their last home game of the regular season.

The contest opened with a goal in the first minute of play by Stingers forward Émilie Lussier, with assists from forward Émilie Lavoie and defender Zoé Thibault. “Lavoie gave me a great pass and it allowed us to score on our first shift,” said Lussier. “It gave momentum to the whole team.”

Lussier went on to score two more goals, completing a natural hat trick in the first period of play. The Stingers rookie has 33 points in 23 games, leading the team in points and collecting the third-best ranking for most points in the RSEQ.

“Lussier is a tremendous player,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu after the game. “She’s got a lot of talent, she plays a complete two-hundred-foot game [...] We’re really fortunate to have her as part of our program.”

The first period of the game ended 4-0, with Bishop’s pulling their starting goalie and calling a time-out early on. Despite netting the only goal in the second period and scoring another early in the third, though, the Gaiters just couldn’t close the gap. With this win, Concordia will finish the season with a perfect record.

“It was important for me to win for our seniors,” said Lussier post-game. “They were there for us all year.”

As the Stingers move into the last two games of the regular season undefeated, pressure is mounting for the playoffs. Expectations from fans couldn’t be much higher, but the Stingers aren’t getting caught up in it.

“[The seniors] want to go back to win it all, but one game at a time,” said Lussier, referencing the Stingers’ overtime loss in the gold medal game of the USports championship in 2023. “We have a lot of pressure for the undefeated season, but we really don’t talk about it, which allows us to concentrate on the game plan every match.”

“The playoffs are really important, it’s really like another season,” said Stingers forward Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, who played for last year’s silver medal team. “But we’re ready. I don’t really feel pressure, because we’re ready as a team.”

Stingers captain Emmy Fecteau echoed her teammates. “We just don’t think about it,” she said. “We take it one game at a time, one period at a time [...] We’re working as a team.”

“It’s easy, when we get to the end of things, to say, ‘Okay, our last regular season home game,’ but no — it’s another game,” said Chu. “What’s helped us be successful all year is not thinking about our overall record [...] On a given day, it’s what are our habits, what is our effort, what’s our execution?”

Both Fecteau and Bégin-Cyr were honoured as graduating seniors, alongside goaltender Madison Oakes, forward Justine Yelle and defender Sandrine Veillette.

The Stingers’ last regular season game will be held on Feb. 16 at Université de Montréal. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. The schedule for playoffs has not yet been released.