Women’s college hockey | The Stingers, almost perfect

By winning their third consecutive provincial title on Sunday at the Ed Meagher Arena, the Concordia University Stingers completed an exceptional season in Quebec women’s university hockey. Undefeated in the regular season – with a perfect record of 25 wins in as many games – the Stingers beat the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, then the University of Montreal Carabins in the playoffs.




Lots of reasons to celebrate, but the team has yet to reach its ultimate goal. The Stingers, remember, suffered a heartbreaking defeat almost a year ago in the final of the Canadian championships in Montreal. They conceded a tying goal with two seconds left in the game before losing in overtime to the Mount Royal University Cougars.

“This defeat was really difficult for everyone to accept. We needed a good six months, spring, summer, to get everyone back to a good place, underlines head coach Julie Chu. And we were when it came time to start preparation camp.

“In any case, with all our recruits, we could not remain haunted by the past. It was a new season, a new group, and we had to focus on that. And when the season started, we kept this approach, forgetting about our record and focusing on the games to be played each week.

“Despite this “perfect” record, we experienced our share of challenges in the regular season, with injuries, more difficult games, series defeats, insists Chu. But I’m really proud of how we responded, coming back each time with a lot of energy and decisive performances. »

The girls showed a lot of character, they didn’t let themselves get down and they showed that they had confidence in themselves.

Julie Chu, Stingers head coach

Surprised 2-1 in Ottawa in the second game of the semi-final despite 52 shots on goal, the Stingers won 13-0 the next day. And against the Carabins, they won the decisive match 10-4, Sunday, on their ice.

Led by captain Emy Fecteau and a core of fourth and fifth year players, the team was explosive on offense. “Our depth in attack is surely one of our strengths. Our first two lines are very strong, but everyone can contribute. In the final, it was our fourth trio who turned things around with our first two goals.

“And I am very proud of our progress on defense. We have two excellent veterans, Léonie Philbert and Alexandra-Anne Boyer, but the others are first or second year players. Seeing them progress throughout the season and playing well despite the pressure of the playoffs is very satisfying. »

PHOTO REUBEN POLANSKY-SHAPIRO, PROVIDED BY CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY

The Stingers will return to the U Sports national championships, March 14-17, at the University of Saskatchewan. They will be the favorites to win a second title in three years and forget the bad memory of last year.

However, the experience of recent seasons shows that the level is higher and the pressure greater at the national championships.

At this point, there is no second chance. We have to be ready from the first match.

Julie Chu, Stingers head coach

For Emy Fecteau, there could be no better way to end her university career. “The goal is the national title,” she recalled on Sunday, after receiving the emblematic trophy of the RSEQ championship. “We will celebrate today (the provincial title), but tomorrow, we will move on, continue working. But we are ready! », she adds.

“Our coaches prepared us really well all season and that was instrumental in us bouncing back like we did today. I really believe in all the work we’ve done this year, all the ground we’ve come and I’m really convinced that we are ready. »

The Carabins also at the Canadian championships

Defeated in the provincial final, not without inflicting their first defeat of the season on their ice rink on the Concordia Stingers, the Carabins of the University of Montreal will also be national championships, among the eight best university teams in the country. Twice national champions, in 2013 and 2016, the Carabins took fourth place in the tournament last winter, when they were the hostesses of the competition.

Head coach Isabelle Leclaire believes her players are capable of surprising. “It’s a shame, because it doesn’t reflect the work we’ve done to get here,” she explained on Sunday. We had a difficult season, with a host of injuries that never allowed us to have a complete roster. Despite that, we still fought, we won in the semi-final after losing the first match, we came to beat the Stingers in the first match of the final. Just to be here, in the final, it’s a great accomplishment, considering the journey we’ve had. The team has progressed throughout the season and I hope that we will quickly recover from this defeat in the final and regain our concentration, because I believe that if we could stand up to this team (the Stingers) , we will be able to compete with all the other teams in the country. »


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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