After the University of Montreal Carabins on Thursday, the Concordia University Stingers clinched their spot in the semifinals of the Canadian Women’s University Hockey Championships on Friday at CEPSUM with a 5-1 victory over the Lakers. of Nipissing. Defending champions, the Stingers do not intend to stop there.
“We are now used to this competition, we have confidence in ourselves and I believe that the pressure of playing these Championships in Montreal is more of a motivation than a handicap,” said goaltender Alice Philbert, a fifth-year player, who was solid in net despite only receiving 12 shots. We are really aiming for a second title, and I believe that if we play as we can, we have a good chance of getting it. »
Head coach Julie Chu was also pleased with this first game. “The girls were fired up in the first half, with a lot of energy, but they calmed down and found their rhythm to impose our game. And our special teams, a very important part of our team, took advantage of the chances. »
Sandrine Veillette and Chloé Gendreau scored in the first period. The Lakers had their best moments at the start of the second period and they closed the gap thanks to a goal from Madison Desmarais (5 min 46 s). However, the penalties came back to haunt the visitors. Alexandra-Anne Boyer, at the end of the second period, then Emmy Fecteau in the third gave goalkeeper Chantelle Sandquis no chance. Rachel McIntyre completed the scoring in an empty net late in the game.
In the semi-finals, Concordia will face the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. “We played them in the preseason, but both teams have come a long way since the fall and their record shows they’re a great roster,” Julie Chu recalled.
Earlier Friday, the Thunderbirds had a hard time overcoming the StFX X-Women, 3-2, in overtime. The Western Conference champions led 2-0, but saw their rivals score two quick goals midway through the third period to force overtime. The excellent Sophia Gaskell, also author of another goal and an assist, secured the victory with a powerful slap shot that slipped between the pads of goalkeeper Jamie Johnson.
The other semi-final will oppose this Saturday afternoon the Carabins of the University of Montreal and the Cougars of Mount Royal University in Calgary. Thursday in the quarterfinals, the home team put on a superb performance, as the Cougars hung on throughout the game before surprising favorites University of Toronto.
“We’ve been waiting for these Championships for a long time and the girls were obviously nervous,” said Carabins head coach Isabelle Leclaire. There were a lot of people in the stands and that really carried us away. The one-day break brings us back down to earth! We quickly started to study our next opponents and we will be ready for Saturday! »
Manon Simard, executive director of CEPSUM who played a central role in the creation of the women’s hockey program at UdeM with Danièle Sauvageau, estimated Thursday that the Carabins had probably won the most important victory in their history because of the sporting stakes, but above all the size of the crowd.
Danièle Sauvageau, who savored the evening in her “dressing room”, standing behind the bay window on the side opposite the bleachers, explained on Friday: “These Championships are a great gift from the University to us, to the organization of Carabins, to the players, to the supporters. A game like Thursday is a key moment in the history of our program, and it is also for Quebec women’s hockey.
“In women’s hockey, quantitatively, we are behind Ontario, obviously, but also behind Alberta and British Columbia. We are recovering in terms of quality, and it is impressive to see the growing number of Quebec players in all the RSEQ university teams, at Concordia, Bishop’s, Ottawa or Carleton. Imagine if we could retain all of our players and all of our coaches…”
Another reason motivates Danièle Sauvageau to continue her work: “Thursday, before the match, we brought together several former players of the team. For me, it is always a wonderful feeling to see how accomplished these women are, as mothers, in their careers. And it’s nice to see that hockey has helped them achieve their full potential in life. »
They are student-athletes who shine on the CEPSUM ice this week, let’s not forget, and the most incredible thing is that they excel as much in their studies as in hockey.