Hicks scores in overtime, Kings down Trojans on home ice

Zak Hicks (22) was one of the difference makers for the Kings on Thursday. Photo -Tony Hansen
Zak Hicks (22) was one of the difference makers for the Kings on Thursday. Photo -Tony Hansen

Brent Forster - RDC

The Red Deer College Kings felt like they didn't have everyone firing on all cylinders last weekend, but on Thursday evening the RDC team had a good bounce back effort against the SAIT Trojans on home ice. After the Kings opened the scoring at the Penhold Multiplex, the Trojans pushed the contest to overtime but the RDC Kings stuck with it and picked up an entertaining 2-1 victory. 

Mike Salmon, a Bachelor of Business Administration student, was the starting goaltender for the RDC Kings while Payton Lee was in net for SAIT Trojans. Last season, Lee suited up in 53 games for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL).

The RDC Kings began the first period with energy and created several good scoring opportunities. The Kings strung together several effective shifts in the SAIT zone and with 7:22 remaining, Dylan Thudium nearly scored his 7th of the season as he made a nice toe drag around a Trojans' defender and rang his wrist shot off the right post. The Kings outshot the Trojans 17 – 6 in the opening period.

In the middle frame, RDC continued where they left off and tested Lee early and often. The RDC Kings had some good looks on their power play in the period, but Lee was sharp. The Kings fired 21 shots on the Trojans' goaltender in the second period while Salmon turned aside all 8 shots that he faced.

The RDC Kings began the third period with an effective penalty kill, and the offence fed off the positive energy. With 9:50 remaining, Lynnden Pastachak scored a beautiful goal to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. Dylan Thudium sent a nice pass to Pastachak who drove the net from the right side and beat Lee on the backhand. Arie Postmus added the other assist. SAIT's Tyson McCallum tied the game 1:22 later. McCallum skated up the left side and fired a low shot to the right side of the net. As the period was winding down, Salmon made a nice pad save with less than 30 seconds left to send the game to overtime. Over 60 minutes, the RDC Kings outshot the SAIT Trojans 44-22.

The Kings started the 4-on-4 overtime with some jump and forced Lee to make some key saves early. With 2:26 left in overtime, Zak Hicks pinched in from the point and fired a quick shot which found the back of the net through a maze of bodies. Dylan Thudium and Chase Thudium picked up the assists on the winning goal. RDC tested Lee 2 more times while SAIT directed 1 shot on Salmon in the extra frame.

Business Administration student Zak Hicks was named the player-of-the-game for the RDC Kings while Payton Lee earned the award for the SAIT Trojans. Lee was a huge factor in the Trojans being able to pick up 1 point in the standings. 

Kings Hockey Head Coach Trevor Keeper liked the ability of the Kings to bounce back with a great effort. "We had three really good days of practice and guys prepared very well. We shuffled the lines a bit and mixed up our second power play unit, which looked good in practice," said Keeper. "We had a good feeling going into the game that the players were ready to compete. We saw on the bench a lot of positive energy and the guys played with confidence. When you get 46 shots against the opposition, it shows that you are hungry for the puck. The players came out tonight and showed that they wanted to get back into the win column."

The Kings' forwards applied a lot of pressure on the Trojans' defence. "After we initially forechecked, we reloaded and got back above the puck and forechecked again before SAIT could get out of their zone," said Keeper. "We created a lot of secondary chances because of it."

It's been awhile since Salmon has seen game action due to injury, but he was sharp when called upon. "It was Mike's first game since the second weekend of exhibition against the University of Lethbridge," said Keeper. "He had a bad back and he played solid tonight with only one goal against. His puck play was a little bit rusty but that is to be expected."

First-year forward Lynnden Pastachak had an excellent game. "Pastachak has been playing really well from the beginning and he doesn't look like a rookie. He knows what his strengths are. He is tenacious, has a ton of speed and great hands," said Keeper. "Lynnden doesn't sit back and try to be cute - he gets the puck to the net and scores a lot of important goals for us."

In a rematch, the SAIT Trojans (6-3-1-0) will host the RDC Kings (5-4-0-0) on Friday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m.