Stingers Keep Their Season Alive

Concordia Will Play for the RSEQ Title

  • The Stingers will have a chance to clinch the series in game three at the CEPSUM. Photo Elisa Barbier

  • The Carabins and the Stingers avoided overtime for the first time all season. Photo Elisa Barbier

Concordia Stingers women’s hockey head coach Julie Chu did not mince words following their 3-2 overtime loss to the Université de Montréal Carabins on Thursday.

Chu said they needed to sharpen up defensively against a team that had averaged three goals per game during the regular season and could sweep the series.

By the time game two rolled around on Saturday, it appeared as though both teams got the message with only ten shots total being taken throughout the whole first period. It was a tense game and it seemed as though the first mistake would blow the whole game open.

That mistake came with only three minutes left in the period when a defensive mishap lead to Stingers forward Audrey Belzile finding Stéphanie Lalancette all alone in front of the net and burying it. As the period wound down, the same tense and defensive hockey was being played, but a feeling like this game was about to open up considerably.

Concordia has already clinched a spot at nationals. Photo Elisa Barbier

As the second period started, that is exactly what happened. Concordia wasted no time pinning Montréal in their zone with several minutes of intense forechecking. The pressure payed off 2:40 in as Brigitte Laganière fired a rocket into the top corner to double the Stingers’ lead.

This was also the first game back for veteran goaltender Katherine Purchase, who missed two games with an undisclosed injury. Her presence was not only felt on the ice, but in the locker room as well.

“Katherine is just one of those players who’s really great to have in the locker room,” said Chu. “She played great today and for a goalie to have a letter on her sweater it’s always added pressure but she really handles herself well and she’s an example to follow.”

As the Stingers continued to pile on the pressure, they managed to get two power plays in a row and a chance to put the game nearly out of reach. However, a slip up in the offensive zone saw Carabins forward Annie Germain go in all alone shorthanded and reduced Concordia’s to 2-1.

Following the goal, the Stingers doubled down on a high pressure forecheck and pinned Montréal back in their zone for the majority of the period. The pressure finally paid of as captain Marie-Joëlle Allard fired home a power play goal to reclaim their two goal lead.

“We played a really strong second period and I think that really set us up nicely to come out on top,” said Chu. “These girls don’t need much to get them pumped they’re a very energetic group and when we play with that kind of intensity no one can keep up with us.”

The Carabins did manage to make it interesting in the third as a beautiful passing play gave Montréal forward Jessica Cormier a wide open net to pull Montréal to 3-2 with fifteen minutes left. After that goal, however, the Stingers’ defense was lights out.

“We really kept it solid on defense and didn’t give them much for the last couple minutes which is something we’ve been working on,” said Belzile. “We all worked together and closed the game out.”

Following the game, Chu was also pleased with the outcome, especially since this is the first game in seven meetings that the game did not go into overtime or a shootout.

“It just shows you how close both of these teams are and how important it is that we’re at the top of our game for three periods,” said Chu. “[Montréal has] come from behind late before to force overtime so I’m really happy with the work we put in today.”

Stinger defence Brigitte Laganiere is carried out of the ice during the second game of the 2018 RSEQ finals opposing the Montreal Carabins and Concordia Stingers on Saturday, March 3, 2018. Laganiere was an important defensive player for The Stingers and was unable to play the must-win game. Photo Elisa Barbier

While everyone was happy with the result, the game was not without its share of bad news. Halfway through the third period, Lalancette crashed into the boards hard and was in considerable pain. She was helped off without being able to put any pressure on her leg and did not return to the game.

“We don’t know exactly what happened exactly we know it’s her knee,” said Belzile. “She’s a really important part of our team and we can’t wait to have her back as soon as possible.”

The Stingers will have to push past being short a defender as they look to win the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec title in a decisive game three on Sunday at the CEPSUM.

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