Women’s Hockey: Stingers Come Up Short in Semis

Concordia Loses 6-2 to the Alberta Pandas, Will Play for Bronze Medal

It was a battle of the underdogs Saturday night in Napanee, Ontario as the seventh-seeded Concordia Stingers played the sixth-ranked University of Alberta Pandas. Photo Ion Etxebarria

It was a battle of the underdogs Saturday night in Napanee, Ontario as the seventh-seeded Concordia Stingers played the sixth-ranked University of Alberta Pandas.

For the Maroon and Gold, the game marked the end of their quest for gold. Though they held early leads, they ultimately dropped the semi-final matchup 6-2 to their west coast rivals.

The Stingers started off strong, scoring 19 seconds into the first period after Claudia Dubois beat Alberta’s goaltender Lindsey Post. Concordia then went on the powerplay a few minutes later when Alberta defender Cayle Dillon was called for holding.

The Pandas kept the Stingers out of their zone and generated scoring chances in Concordia’s end of the ice. That sustained pressure lead to a powerplay opportunity after defender Caroll-Ann Gagne was sent off for tripping. With 36 seconds left in the numerical advantage, Alberta’s regular season leading scorer Alex Poznikoff tied the game at one apiece.

Concordia was quick to respond.

After winning a faceoff, the puck went back to defender Alexandra Nikolidakis who passed it over to Marie-Joelle Allard. Allard sent a blast from the point to beat Post, a mere 25 seconds after the Pandas equalized. The Stingers took control of the period, outshooting their opponents eight to four.

The second period was a complete 180. The Stingers, who were beginning to feel the effects of playing games in consecutive days, were having trouble generating scoring chances as they only shot the puck twice.

The Pandas, on the other hand, regained new life, scoring on three of their 12 shots on goal that period to take a 4-2 lead. Poznikoff added her second of the game on a wraparound. Meanwhile, forward Kelsy Tangjerd’s shot from the point was deflected twice before defeating Purchase. Sasha Lutz added her team’s third goal of the second frame with less than four minutes remaining.

The Stingers struggled for the remainder of the game. Forward Keriann Schofield, who scored in Friday’s quarter-final against the Guelph Gryphons, had a good chance on a wraparound attempt but was denied by Post.

Concordia got a powerplay with 5:45 left in the third period after Alberta was caught with too many players on the ice. The Stingers pressured the Pandas for portions of that powerplay. They kept the pressure up in the minutes that followed it, but the Stingers couldn’t get many shots on Post.

While Concordia maintained strong puck possession in Alberta’s zone, they pulled Purchase with approximately 3:30 minutes left in the game for an extra attacker.

The tactic backfired.

As soon as Purchase made her way to the bench, Alberta forward Amy Boucher added the empty-netter to make it 5-2. The goal effectively ended any chance the Stingers had at a comeback. Concordia head coach Julie Chu called for a timeout and pulled Purchase again but the final gasps were ultimately in vain as Alberta’s Poznikoff added another empty net goal, giving her a hat trick in the game.

The Pandas advance to the gold medal round where they will face the McGill Martlets Sunday at 7 p.m. The Stingers, on the other hand, will have their chance at a bronze medal Sunday at 3 p.m. against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.