Martlet hockey (0–1) hosted the Concordia Stingers (1–0) in their regular season home-opener on Oct. 19. A goal each in the second period was the only scoring in regulation, sending the game to a shootout. Concordia stopped all three of McGill’s attempts, while the Stingers found the back of the net on their third shot to claim the victory. Despite a disappointing loss for McGill, both sides played well, showcasing the best of what their rivalry has to offer.
“I think [that] both teams are highly motivated, and I think we like playing each other,” Martlet Head Coach Peter Smith said. “I thought it was a real good game today, and I thought our team played real well.”
Concordia set the pace in the opening minutes of the game. About halfway through the period, the Martlets found their rhythm and started dominating the play, stringing together several quality scoring opportunities. Unfortunately, none of their chances found the net, and the period ended with no score.
Play evened out again in the second period, with Concordia having the better scoring opportunities of the two sides. Late in the period, however, a delayed penalty call against the Stingers gave McGill a six-on-five, and the Martlets capitalized on the opportunity. Fourth-year centre Jade Downie-Landry scored McGill’s first goal of the regular season, assisted by first-year forward Anna MacCara and third-year forward Stéphanie Desjardins. Downie-Landry was called for a penalty a minute later, and the Stingers responded seconds into their power play to even the score at one apiece.
In the third period, McGill took a four-minute penalty but played excellent defence, aided by a strong forecheck forcing key turnovers in their offensive zone to run down the clock. Though McGill had most of the chances in the final minutes of the game, fourth-year goaltender Tricia Deguire, who remained as solid as a rock on the penalty kill, came up with a huge stop in a two-on-one with just over a minute of regulation time to play.
“Your best penalty killer has to be your goaltender, and I thought [Deguire] did a real good job,” Smith said. “That four-minute kill that we had, I thought she was outstanding.”
With the score tied at 1–1, the game went into overtime. Both teams had a few opportunities to end the match, but neither could seal the deal, and a shootout ensued. With the pressure building, the Martlets leaned on each other to remain calm and focused on the game plan.
“It’s all a game of emotions, so we got our mental coach that comes in [and] tells us to breathe when we are too stressed,” Deguire said. “But sticking together, that’s what helps the most, [keeping] all our cheering up, […] helping each other [….] Pressure-wise, teammates are the most helpful.”
The Stingers came out victorious in the shootout, handing the Martlets their first loss of the season. However, Smith is not worried.
“It’s just about the little details, and we’re still early in the season, and we still have lots of chances to work out those details,” Smith said. “We’ve got 19 games to go in the regular season. I suspect that most of those 19 games are going to be exactly like the game we had this afternoon, so this game will make us better.”
The Martlets face off against the Montréal Carabins (1–0) on Oct. 25.
Moment of the Game:
A shot from the point found its way around the crowd in front of the net to fourth-year centre Jade Downie-Landry for McGill’s first goal of the regular season.
“We knew it was the home opener so we wanted for sure to perform, and give the crowd a good game. It was also an emotional game against Concordia. We actually wanted to make sure that we could get out there, and play as hard as we could.” – Fourth-year goaltender Tricia Deguire on the significance of the home-opener against Concordia.
Fourth-year goaltender Tricia Deguire made 30 saves throughout the game.