Women’s Hockey: Stingers Pull Off Quarterfinal Upset

Concordia Defeats Guelph 4-3 in Shootout at Nationals

The Stingers advance to the semi-final round where they will face the sixth-seeded Alberta Pandas. Photo Ion Etxebarria

The score was tied at one-a-piece after Guelph Gryphons’ forward Kaitlin Lowy defeated Concordia’s netminder Katherine Purchase in the second round of the shootouts at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, Ontario on Friday afternoon.

The seventh-ranked Stingers sent their third shooter—Claudia Dubois. If she scored, the defending Ontario University Athletics champions would be eliminated from contention.

The second year forward hadn’t recorded a goal since scoring five in the first round of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec’s quarterfinal series against the Université de Montreal Carabins.

But, in the blink of an eye, the game was over. Dubois found a space between the pads of Montreal native Valerie Lamenta—arguably the best goaltender in U Sports women’s hockey right now—to defeat the second-ranked Gryphons. The result was a surprise, and likely altered the course of the U Sports women’s hockey national championships.

The Stingers scored three unanswered goals in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Defenders Caroll-Ann Gagne, Brigitte Laganiere and forward Sophie Gagnon each scored approximately two minutes apart from each other in the period. The Stingers snapped a scoreless streak that spanned over seven periods of game time, dating back to their series against the McGill Martlets in the RSEQ final.

The Gryphons, who took the momentum in the first period after Kaitlin Lowy scored the first goal of the game, saw the momentum swing in Concordia’s favour.

Guelph, a team known for its defensive prowess and its ability to score goals in bunches, tied the game in the third period, scoring two goals just four minutes apart. Defender Katherine Bailey struck first, around the halfway mark of the period followed by forward Stephanie Gava, who added the game-tying goal.

Purchase and the Stingers contested the goal after she lost her helmet on the play. However, the referees deemed that a Stingers defender pushed a Gryphons forward into her, thus allowing the goal.

At the end of regulation, the game was stuck at a three-all deadlock and was sent to a 10-minute, four-on-four overtime period. The hockey was fast-paced, and there were plenty of quality chances on either side. Both goaltenders were solid when they needed to be. The Stingers outshot the Gryphons 39 to 22 and dominated the shots-on-goal statistic in every period apart from the third.

After the scoreless overtime period, a shootout was required. Stingers rookie Marie-Pascale Bernier was stopped by Lamenta in the first round of the shootout but forward Keriann Schofield scored her team’s first goal in the second. Purchase stopped both Sydney Davison and Claire Merrick. She was defeated by Lowy, but Dubois played hero and stole the win. She was named player of the game.

The Stingers advance to the semi-final round against the sixth-seeded Alberta Pandas, who also pulled off an upset by defeating the Saint-Mary’s Huskies on Thursday, March 16.