The RDC Kings closed out the regular season playing a good brand of hockey. While they match up well against the University of Alberta (Augustana) Vikings, the Kings felt that the opening playoff round would be a battle. Only 1 goal was the difference in each of the last 2 regular season games between the 2 teams and Friday was another close contest. The Kings put forth a good road effort, scored 1st but dropped the opening game of the playoff series 3-1.
In Camrose at the Encana Arena, Troy Trombley started in goal for the Kings while Curtis Skip patrolled the crease for the Vikings.
The Kings came out strong and Ben Williams opened the scoring for RDC at 7:54 of the 1st period. Logan Sceviour and David Heath picked up the assists. The RDC Kings outshot the Augustana Vikings 15-11 over 20 minutes.
At 19:22 of the 2nd period, Augustana's Travis Mayan tied the game 1-1. The RDC Kings had 15 shots in the middle frame while the Augustana Vikings responded with 13.
Evan Warmington put Augustana up 2-1 at 1:58 of the 3rd period. At 14:28, Paul Lovsin scored to give the Vikings a 3-1 lead. With about 1 minute remaining, Kings Hockey Head Coach Trevor Keeper pulled Trombley in favour of the extra skater but Skip turned aside all 12 shots in the final period. The Augustana Vikings picked up a 3-1 home win and jumped ahead 1-0 in the series. The Vikings tested Trombley 11 times in the 3rd period. Over 60 minutes, the RDC Kings outshot the Vikings 42-35. The Kings went 0-for-7 on the power play but also killed off all 5 of the Vikings' opportunities with the extra skater.
Keeper liked the effort in Camrose but will shift the focus to game 2.
"It was a back-and-forth game. The guys played well and it was a tight playoff game," said Keeper. "We can't dwell on tonight's game. We will reload and focus on Saturday."
The Vikings will take a 1-0 lead in the best of 3 quarterfinals on the road. Game 2 goes Saturday at the Penhold Multiplex where the Kings will look to tie the series. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.