Kings blank Vikings 2-0, force game 3

Mike Salmon (31) was excellent in net on Saturday and turned aside all 31 Vikings' shots. Photo -Tony Hansen
Mike Salmon (31) was excellent in net on Saturday and turned aside all 31 Vikings' shots. Photo -Tony Hansen

With the University of Alberta (Augustana) Vikings up 1-0 in the best of 3 quarterfinals, the Red Deer College Kings were in a must win situation on home ice to extend the series and their season. There was a large crowd on hand at the Penhold Multiplex and the RDC Kings were energized. The Kings scored twice and defensively shut down the Vikings for a 2-0 home victory to force a 3rd game. 

Mike Salmon started in net for the RDC Kings while Curtis Skip got the nod for the Augustana Vikings. In the 1st period, the Kings skated hard and pressured the Vikings often. RDC created traffic around the net and fired 21 shots at Skip while Salmon turned aside all 9 shots that he faced. Both goaltenders were sharp in the opening frame. 

On a 5-on-3 power play, Riley Simpson scored to give the Kings a 1-0 lead at 7:41 of the 2nd period. Simpson showed tremendous patience and as Skip sprawled, the forward from Innisfail carried the puck to his left and buried the important 1st goal into an empty cage. Landon Kletke and Tanner Butler picked up the assists. RDC tested Skip 11 more times while U of A Augustana had 15 shots on Salmon. 

The Vikings applied pressure in the early stages of the 3rd period but it was Scott Ferguson who extended RDC's lead 2-0 at 5:50. Dustin Gorgi sent a perfect pass out front of the Vikings' net and Ferguson directed it behind Skip on the backhand. The Kings played well defensively but Salmon made several key saves when called upon. The Vikings pulled Skip with about 1:30 remaining in the 3rd period but Salmon was solid and earned the shutout. Shots were even 7-7 in the final period. Over 60 minutes, the RDC Kings outshot the Augustana Vikings 39-31. Special teams played a key role in the Kings' victory. RDC killed off all 6 of the Vikings' power plays and connected on 1-of-4 opportunities with the extra skater. It was a physical game with both teams trying to wear down their opponent.

Kings Hockey Head Coach Trevor Keeper liked the intensity.

"It was a really good playoff game. The 2 teams are very even and match up very well," said Keeper.  

The Kings' defensive game was superb and Salmon elevated his game in a must win situation.

"Salmon steps up in the playoffs. He did a good job of making timely saves," said Keeper. "Our defencemen and low forward did a very good job of boxing out, clearing pucks and Salmon had a better ability to make the save and there wasn't a 2nd and 3rd shot."

Keeper praised Scott Ferguson, a 1st year forward from Sylvan Lake, on a strong game.

"Ferguson has stepped up big time. He goes hard to the net," said Keeper. "He has a high level of fitness and doesn't quit."

The Kings have momentum and are looking forward to game 3.

"We want the same type of game that we played today," said Keeper. "We love the ice, building and dressing room at the Encana Arena so it's not a disadvantage for us to play there."

Mike Salmon was chosen as the Kings player-of-the-game. The Bachelor of Business Administration student stopped 31-of-31 shots to help force a 3rd and deciding game in the quarterfinal series. 

Sunday at 6:00 p.m., the Kings and Vikings meet at the Encana Arena in Camrose in game 3. The winner will advance to the ACAC semi-finals.