Women’s Hockey: Concordia Sweeps UdeM
Stingers Make it Past the First Round for the First Time Since 2005 With 3-2 Win
With less than a minute left in the game, the Universite de Montreal Carabins were down 3-2.
In a last ditch effort to salvage their season, they took out their goalie in favour of an extra attacker, heavily pressuring the Concordia Stingers in their zone.
However, it was too little, too late.
On Saturday afternoon , the defending U SPORTS champions were dethroned at Ed Meagher arena. The Concordia Stingers ended a 12-year dry spell by advancing to the final round of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec, sweeping the Carabins in a best of two-of-three series.
Stingers head coach Julie Chu, beaming during her post-game interview, believed that her team had what it took to defeat a top team like the Carabins.
“I think we had the trust that we had the right girls in the place, we had the right coaching staff and we had to make sure they had to line up,” she said.
The Stingers, who dominated the Carabins 6-2 on Thursday to take game one, struggled early in the game. UdeM, fighting to tie the series, played with more desperation from the get-go. Forward Claudia Dubois, who scored two goals in the game including the game winner, admitted that there were some nerves on the bench.
“We were a little stressed,” she said in French. “But we had good energy and we felt that this was going to be our game.”
The Carabins outshot the Stingers 12-10 in the first but Concordia escaped the period with a one goal lead when Stephanie Lalancette scored a powerplay goal with less than five minutes remaining in the period.
Despite the lead, Chu wasn’t completely satisfied with their first period play.
“To be honest, we didn’t start great,” she said. “I think the first period, shots at one point were three to 10. They were fighting for their life and we kinda… We were working hard, but we didn’t have that same desperation.”
The Carabins continued to pressure Concordia in the second period, this time outshooting them 17 to 10. Half way through, the visitors tied the game when forward Laurie Mercier scored on the powerplay. However, the Stingers retaliated four minutes later when Dubois also scored on the man-advantage. That was her fourth goal in two games.
For much of the third period, it looked like the Stingers were going to hang on to that one goal lead but with less than four minutes remaining, forward Jessica Cormier gave her team hope by scoring her first goal of the playoffs.
Seconds later, Concordia dashed that hope when Dubois scored her second goal of the afternoon. With less than a minute left on the clock, the UdeM Carabins called a timeout. With the faceoff in Concordia’s zone, UdeM opted to replace their goalie with an extra forward but the Stingers managed to defend their one goal lead until the dying seconds of the game.
“When they scored to tie it up with 3:49 left, we [didn’t] slump our shoulders and think we’re going it lose that game suddenly,” said Chu.
Dubois, who has seven points in two playoff games, was elated after the game.
“It’s the greatest day of my life,” she said. “We knew we could beat them but beating them in only two games, back-to-back, it’s just an incredible feeling. Many didn’t believe in us because the Carabins are the champions and they’ve been the best for a long time.”
Game two also showcased another stellar performance by Concordia’s goaltender Katherine Purchase, who stopped 38 of 40 shots.
“I’m speechless right now,” she said. “Even though this was the team that knocked us out the last two years, this is team that you know, we kinda got smoked every game this year, but we were extremely confident.”
With the win, the Stingers advance to the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec final round where they will face off against the winner of the other semi-final match-up between the McGill Martlets and the Ottawa Geegees, Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The schedule for the finals will be announced shortly.