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March 18, 2023 | Hockey (W)

Justine Yelle and her Stinger teammates were in top form on their first day of nationals.Justine Yelle and her Stinger teammates were in top form on their first day of nationals.

Stingers bounce Nipissing, advance to hockey national semifinals

The No. 3-seeded Concordia Stingers netted four power-play goals to help secure a 5-1 victory over the No. 6-ranked Nipissing Lakers in their opening game of the 2023 U Sports women's hockey national championship at Université de Montréal on Friday night.

The Stingers advance to the national semifinals and will meet the No. 2-seeded UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“No one knew what to expect,” said Concordia head coach Julie Chu after the convincing win. “We haven’t seen this team in a long time. But our players were ready to go. Overall, I really like the effort tonight.

“We’re excited right now. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to win important games. We’re going to enjoy it tonight. When we wake up in the morning, we’ll focus on UBC.” 

Concordia took a two-goal lead into the first intermission thanks to goals scored on the advantage by Sandrine Veillette and Chloé Gendreau.

Madison Desmerais netted Nipissing’s only marker at 5:46 of the second period to make the score 2-1 and keep her team in the game. The Stingers stretched the lead again eight minutes later when defender Alex-Anne Boyer scored on the power play. The period ended with Concordia ahead 3-1.

All-Canadian Emmy Fecteau scored the team’s fourth power-play goal at 4:51 of the third period and rookie Rachael McIntyre scored an empty-netter at 18:15 to wrap up the game.

Nipissing took 10 penalties, giving the Stingers a lot of power-play opportunities. By comparison Concordia went to the box three times.

All-star Alice Philbert was in nets for Concordia. She turned away 11 of 12 shots. There was considerably more work at the other end of the ice. The Lakers’ Chantelle Sandquist stopped 29 of 33 shots.

In the other quarter-final on Friday, UBC defeated St. Francis Xavier 3-2 in overtime to set up the semifinal showdown with the Stingers.

The Thunderbirds are the Canada West champions. In the regular season, they finished first with a 24-2-2 record. They were one of U Sports’ top three ranked teams all season and held the No. 1 spot six out of 15 weeks.

Concordia and UBC met once this season. The Thunderbirds edged out the Stingers 2-1 on Sept. 25 in Montreal.

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