The Concordia Stingers defeated the UBC Thunderbirds 3-1 in semifinal action on Saturday evening to earn a place in the gold medal game at the U Sports women's hockey championship hosted by Université de Montréal.
The No. 3-seeded Stingers, who are the defending champions, will face the No. 8-seeded Mount Royal Cougars in the national final Sunday at 7 p.m. at CEPSUM Arena (2100 Édouard-Montpetit Blvd., Montreal).
Concordia did not have it easy in the semifinal. UBC was the No. 2-ranked team in the nationals and the Thunderbirds are an aggressive, strong team.
“It was a hard-fought game,” said Stingers’ head coach Julie Chu. “It was a battle. I think when you get to nationals, all the teams are good. UBC is a great team. They have a lot of talent. This game was so much fun.”
All three Concordia goals came from its dominant power-play unit. Emmy Fecteau opened the scoring at 5:57 of the first period. UBC battled back with its own man-advantage goal four minutes later. The teams headed into the intermission deadlocked at 1-1.
Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, who was named player of the game, scored the next two goals for the Stingers. The first, which ended up being the game-winner, came at 16:06 of the second period. She chipped in with an insurance goal at 11:46 of the final frame.
Concordia has seven power-play goals in two games at nationals. The team has converted on seven of 14 opportunities for an incredible 50 per cent success rate.
“Credit to Caroline Ouellette,” said Chu of her associate head coach. “She’s been working on the power play all season, and we’ve had really great stats on the power-play and penalty-kill all through the playoffs. Special teams are always a key, especially this time of year. It’s a big difference-maker.”
After a short recovery, the Stingers will look to defend the national championship title they earned in 2022. This time, it’s Mount Royal that they will battle for the gold medal.
The Cougars finished in third place in the Canada West standings with a 19-6-3 record. UBC was first overall followed by the Alberta Pandas.
In the Canada West playoffs, Mount Royal took down Trinity Western in the quarter-finals and upset Alberta in the semifinals. The Cougars took the opening game of their best-of-three championship series with the Thunderbirds 1-0, but then lost two straight – 5-1 and 1-0 – to end up as the silver medallists. As the second Canada West team at nationals, they were given the eighth seed.
Mount Royal knocked off the No. 1-seeded Toronto Varsity Blues 3-2 in the opening round of the nationals. On Saturday, they eliminated the host Montréal Carabins (No. 5 seed) in the semifinals. The final score was 3-1.