The Champlain Cougars women’s ice hockey team stunned the John Abbott Islanders on Tuesday, as they claimed game one of the best-of-three championship series in the Ligue de hockey collégial féminin Division 1 du Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ).
The Cougars hung on to a 4-3 lead in the third period to dispatch of the top-seeded Islanders in Montreal. Champlain will play game two on Friday evening at Jane & Eric Molson Arena in Lennoxville, where they have a chance to seal the championship in front of their home crowd.
However, Cougars head coach David Evangelho told The Record that his team is trying to remain in the moment. They aren’t discussing the possibility of winning the league title on home ice, he explained, they just want to take it play by play and period by period.
“I’d say that the girls are keeping a cool head. They have a lot of self-control. There was a lot of progression throughout the year in this regard. It’s an exciting time, but at the same time we’re trying to keep our emotions in check. We know we’re the underdogs in this series,” he said.
John Abbott was a force to be reckoned with this season. They steamrolled their competition, posting 130 goals for, while allowing a league-low 45 goals against in 29 regular season games. But they always struggled against Champlain, losing two out of three matchups.
And now they’re down one game in the championship series. Evangelho said the key against the Islanders was getting off to a quick start in the first period. And they did exactly that, as India Benoit opened the scoring 22 seconds into the game, putting John Abbott on notice.
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