With a nifty backhand underneath the crossbar, Carol-Ann Upshall capped off a night where she played hero twice, leading the uOttawa Gee-Gees over the Concordia Stingers 3-2 in a shootout on home-opening night.
Upshall’s first heroic act of the night was just as dramatic. Taking a quick pass from Cynthia Whissell at the point, Upshall snapped a quick wrist shot from the left circle over the glove of Stingers’ goaltender Katherine Purchase, tying the game with just 23 seconds left.
Things were not looking as good for the Gee-Gees early on. A fast-paced first period saw the Stingers grab momentum and control the majority of the play.
“I think a few of our players were stressed out, first home game, first game in Ottawa,” Gee-Gees head coach Yanick Evola said, explaining his team’s slow start. “Sometimes we are trying to be fancy and make things look too good.”
Concordia would continue control the play, allowing Alyssa Sherrard to connect on a feed from Tracy-Ann Lavigne at 13:05, putting the Stingers up 1-0.
Ottawa penalties would continue to provide the Stingers with more opportunities in the second period, culminating in Cassiel Lalande-Lajeunesse’s power play tally with just less than four minutes remaining in the period.
Despite numerous chances, Concordia was unable to extend their lead thanks in large part to the play of rookie goaltender Maude Lévesque-Ryan. Lévesque-Ryan was called upon to come up with several point-blank saves. She turned away 27 of 29 Stingers’ shots, including all four in the shootout. “She kept us in the game and made very good decisions,” Evola said.
The Gee-Gees goaltender’s play lit a fire under her team in the third period. Defenseman Violaine Houle found herself in an uncharted waters by the goalmouth at the right time, shovelling home a rebound just 53 seconds into the third period.
The tide seemed to shift in favour of the Gee-Gees, who had numerous chances before Upshall’s equalizer. Purchase was strong in net for the Stingers, stopping 21, almost spoiling the Gee-Gees home opener.
Ottawa went 1 for 3 on the powerplay; Concordia’s unit was successful on 1 of 4 opportunities.
The Gee-Gees have a day off before hosting the McGill Martlets on Sunday at 2 p.m. Coming off a 3-0 victory over Montréal on Friday night, Evola knows that McGill will be a challenge. “With McGill we are going to have less time and space,” he noted, “We will need to play faster and get quick shots on net.”
1 2 3 OT SO F
Ottawa 0 0 2 0 1 3
Concordia 1 1 0 0 0 2