On Feb. 23, the McGill Martlets (14-6) qualified for the RSEQ finals after completing their two-game sweep over the Concordia Stingers (13-4-3). The Martlets scored five unanswered goals, two of which were potted by second-year forward Kellyane Lecours, en route to a 5-3 win over Concordia. This victory sends them to the championship round following their prior 6-2 win over the Stingers in the first game of the series on Feb. 21.
“We’ve been playing some really good hockey,” Head Coach Peter Smith said. “We had some periods tonight where we weren’t quite the same we have been, but, overall, we’ve been playing very well in the last half dozen games. We’re looking forward to [the finals].”
The match was off to a rocky start for the Martlets. Concordia controlled the play for most of the first period, outshooting McGill and hemming them into their own zone. The Stingers opened the scoring approximately 10 minutes into the period and carried a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
The Martlets were no more successful in the beginning of the second period. Early in the period, Concordia received a pair of lucky bounces to set up two goals and a lead of 3-0. Smith then pulled starting goaltender Tricia Deguire from the action, replacing her with backup Amanda Hadwen, and the Martlets started to turn the game around. With five minutes remaining in the second period, second-year forward Stephanie Desjardins put the Martlets on the scoreboard, setting the stage for a masterful comeback.
In the third period, Hadwen accumulated a series of stellar saves to keep the Martlets in the game. Lecours scored her first goal just under five minutes into the final period, bringing the score to 3-2 Concordia, and followed it up 10 minutes later to tie the game at three. Third-year centre Jade Downie-Landry assisted on both goals.
With three minutes remaining, third-year forward Lea Dumais scored the winning goal. An empty-netter from fourth-year defenceman Emilia Cotter clinched the win for the Martlets, securing their spot in the RSEQ championship.
“We showed a lot of character coming back and scoring five unanswered goals after being down 3-0,” Smith said. “We didn’t need to score three goals at once. We needed to score one at a time and beat them on every shift, and I thought we showed a tremendous amount of character in that third period.”
Fourth-year centre Shana Walker was proud of the fight her team put up to earn the win.
“I feel like, in the third period, we really came together as a team, and the energy on the bench was really what pushed us through,” Walker said. “I have been on this team for four years now, and that was one of the best comebacks that I have ever been a part of, so I’m really proud of us.”
This series held special meaning for the Martlets, who were eliminated in the semi-finals last season in a three-game series against the Université de Montréal (UdeM) Carabins. No Martlet wanted a repeat, especially after a strong season in which McGill finished third in the RSEQ standings. The Martlets will get a chance at redemption in the championship round when they face UdeM in a rematch of last year’s semi-finals.
“We’re excited,” fourth-year centre Nicole Howlett said. “We know we have to play together and go shift by shift. We [will] do whatever it takes.”
Moment of the Game
The crowd and McGill bench went wild after Lea Dumais shot the puck into the top shelf for the winning goal.
“This was so much fun. The energy we had and the fire within the team [was great]. We just stuck together until the end. [This was] one hundred percent the best game of the season.” – Nicole Howlett on the Martlets’ spirit in the comeback.
McGill has only two wins this season in games in which they trailed heading into the third period.