Stingers’ Weekend Wrap-Up: Dec. 2 to 4

Hockey Highs and Lows to End Competition in 2022

Graphic Marilou Brickert

Let’s talk Stingers…

Women’s Hockey: Currently first in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec Division

This team has made great strides from the season debut back in late October. The ever-echoed narrative of the immense pressure weighed on the shoulders of defending national championship program still bounces throughout the Ed Meagher arena. Despite this high bar, the Julie Chu-run program has soared high enough to touch it. 

With ten wins and three losses, the women’s team has held the top position firmly, both in the RSEQ and in the U Sports power rankings. This past weekend displayed why. A hard-fought match against the third-seeded Bishop’s University Gaiters ended in heartbreak. The Stingers trailed 4-2 heading into the terminal frame. After defensemen Rachael McIntyre narrowed the gap 4-3, a shot from in-tight rattled off the far post of a wide-open Bishop’s net. Mere fractions of an inch from a tied game was a tough loss swallowed by Concordia.

The defeat lingered in the minds of the players, stewed and was utilized for additional motivation when facing the equally dynamic Université de Montréal Carabins on Dec. 4. The Stingers found themselves in a familiar situation late in the game. Down a goal, an extra attacker took the ice with the Concordia goalie pulled. In the third period, forward Jessymaude Drapeau fired a shot from the hash marks with 38 seconds remaining to force overtime. After two prolongation periods solved nothing, a shootout ensued. Both goalies stood tall during the shootout until Stinger forward Rosalie Begin-Cyr took to centre ice. With the puck on her stick and an opportunity to end the game, she did just that, out-waiting Carabins goaltender Maude Desroches and potting the game-deciding goal blocker side.    

Now with the circuit’s first half concluded, the women’s team is set to prepare for the resumption of play in the new year. All eyes will once again be glued to the program, with those darned expectations hovering over their heads. But the team has progressed immensely, knowing the only way to reach these heights is through growth. 

Men’s Hockey: Currently fourth in the Ontario University Athletics East Division

Through the course of the opening half of the 2022-23 season, the men’s team’s success was initially hot and cold, with a record of two wins and two losses after four games. What arose afterwards was a cohort who finished their warm-up and caught fire. A five-game win streak that stretched from Oct. 28 to Nov. 11 raised the Stingers up the OUA East table. This is thanks in part to a Marc-Andre Element-steered team, driven by a collective of familiar teammates and the emergence of bonafide starting goaltender, first-year Jonathan Lemieux. Despite residing in the fourth position, the ranking disparities separate the first seed from the fourth by a minute four points. 

Unlike their counterparts on the women’s team, the men had no real hindrances over the weekend. The team was capable of bombarding opposing goaltenders with a flurry of shot attempts, resulting in two sound victories. In the game against the Carleton University Ravens on Dec. 4, Concordia manhandled their adversaries, who dealt simultaneously with a depleted lineup caused by injuries. Ravens goaltender Cole McLaren wore all five goals scored against him. A credit to the netminder given this was accompanied by 41 saves on 46 shots from the Stingers, resulting in a final tally of 5-1.

The two terminal matches presented a morale-boosting finale to the 2022 year. In the match against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees on Dec. 5, the Stingers’ goal differential in the prior game seemed like a narrow victory in comparison. A result of 8-2 in Concordia’s favour was amassed from a six-goal third period. 

With the close race to the playoff positions still lingering, the interest in the team’s progression will take precedence in the fanbase’s minds, come the new year. Yet, the worrisome feelings have the potential to be disregarded because the Stingers run a roster that is filled with speedy offensive talent and physically dominant players up and down the depth chart. If Lemieux’s goaltending excellence holds, and the team continues to heat up, a deep post-season run is in the foreseeable future. 

This article originally appeared in Volume 43, Issue 8, published December 6, 2022.