Women’s Hockey: The Prelude
Stingers Lose Season Finale to UdeM in 3-2 Loss; Will Face Carabins in Playoffs
In terms of rankings and playoff seeding, the Stingers latest encounter with the Université de Montreal Carabins didn’t mean anything.
Despite that, fans in attendance at Ed Meagher Arena on Sunday afternoon took in a thrilling encounter between both teams, as the Carabins would score a late third-period goal to give them a 3-2 win over Concordia.
Regardless of the game’s result, Concordia would end the season fourth out of the five teams in the Réseau de Sport Étudiant Québec. The Carabins would finish first in any case as well, setting the stage for a playoff matchup between both teams this coming Thursday.
“The focus was to come in and to play your game against the team and focusing on this exact game, but also preparing for what you’re going to see in the postseason,” said Stinger goaltender Briar Bache.
This season has gone differently for both teams. The Stingers entered this game with a 6-11 record while the Carabins came in as the second best university team in Canada with a 14-3 record. Despite that, Concordia has found some success against the Carabins in 2016. Both teams have beaten each other twice this season and a bit of a rivalry appeared to be budding between the two sides in previous meetings.
The pace and tone of this game was set very early on. It would be fast and very physical. Small scuffles between members of each team would often break out.
“When you’re out there and you’re passionate it’s going to get a little rowdy sometimes, but both teams played tough hockey,” said Stingers head coach Julie Chu, “I think both teams are physical, and you want to make sure that you have a physical game out there. Neither team is dirty, we’re not out there to injure anyone. It’s just about going out and playing tough hockey.”
Concordia had the chance to end the season with a victory and a winning record against the higher ranked Carabins, but they simply could not capitalize on their opportunities. The Stingers entered the third period with a 2-1 lead, before giving up two goals in the period. The first of the two came from Audrey Gariepy, who scored near the halfway point of the final period.
With 3 minutes left in the third and the score tied at two goals, the Stingers were already on the powerplay when Carabins defenceman Cloé Barrette was called for a boarding penalty. This gave the Stingers a 5-on-3 skater advantage for about 35 seconds. Unfortunately for Concordia, they did not attempt a shot on goal during that time span.
The Stingers still had an additional 40 seconds of a 5-on-4 advantage, once the first UdeM penalty expired, but couldn’t seize that opportunity, either. The Stingers had seven power play opportunities all game and only scored one power play goal.
Then, with 24 seconds to go in the game, Alexandra Labelle scored the game-winning goal for the Carabins.
“We really had a lot of good chances,” said Stingers forward Claudia Dubois. “It will give us even more motivation because this was a heartbreaking way to lose, even though the game didn’t really mean much. Losing with 23 seconds to play when we led throughout is tough, but it goes to show that we can beat them.”
The film review and preparation leading into Sunday’s game will simply carry over into the Stingers’ best-of-three playoff series against the Carabins, which begins Thursday, Feb. 25 at CEPSUM.