Berkholtz and Kings roll to road win in Calgary

Tyler Berkholtz (43) picked up 3 points in Calgary. Photo - Tony Hansen
Tyler Berkholtz (43) picked up 3 points in Calgary. Photo - Tony Hansen

Brent Forster - RDC

Besides altering their approach to scoring on an experienced goaltender, the Hockey Kings came into Saturday's rematch against the SAIT Trojans in Calgary with a similar game plan as Friday's, but the results were much more lopsided in their favour. The RDC Kings led 2-0 after the first period, 5-0 after 40 minutes and outscored SAIT 3-1 in the third period for a commanding 8-1 victory. Along with the offensive explosion, the Kings played well defensively and had strong goaltending as they earned the road win. 

Once again, Mike Salmon started in net for the Kings and the Bachelor of Business Administration student was sharp. Payton Lee, who played well on Friday, was the goaltender for the SAIT Trojans. 

The Kings were ready to compete from the opening face-off and they hit the scoresheet early and often. Tyler Berkholtz opened the scoring for the Kings at 2:32 of the first period. Dylan Thudium and Lynnden Pastachak assisted on the goal. The RDC Kings went up 2-0 when Tyler Podgorenko beat Lee at 9:14. Berkholtz and Pastachak picked up the helpers. 

RDC continued to set the pace in the middle frame. Landon Kletke set up Scott Ferguson at 9:22. Former Trojans' forward, Damien Kulynych finished off a 2-on-1 while shorthanded to put the Kings up 4-0 at 11:20. Ben Williams and Dylan Baer picked up the assists. At 13:25, Dylan Thudium extended the Kings' lead by 5 off a Berkholtz pass.

In the third period, the Kings kept their foot on the gas. At 2:37, Trevor Costello set up Pastachak to give RDC a 6-0 edge. Joel Hamilton scored the Trojans' lone goal at 4:04, but the RDC Kings added another pair before the clock wound down. At 8:53, Chase Thudium converted a Tanner Butler pass into the Kings' seventh goal. Tyrell Mappin capped off an 8 goal RDC performance at 11:34. Ferguson and Kletke assisted on Mappin's goal and the RDC Kings earned a strong 8-1 road win. 

Salmon made several important saves down the stretch to help seal the victory. The fifth-year student-athlete stopped 34 out of 35 shots for an incredible 0.971 save percentage. "Salmon played very well again, and earned back-to-back wins in net," said Trevor Keeper, head coach of the Kings. "He had over a month out of the lineup as he recovered from an injury and he was solid for us."

Against a former Western Hockey League (WHL) goaltender, the Kings adapted their strategy. "Before the game, we talked about how effective Lee is in net when he is set for the shot," said Keeper. "We discussed the importance of getting him to move east-to-west with our passing and that worked well tonight."

The Kings were strong on the forecheck and their quickness created troubles for the Trojans once again. "We used our speed and that constant pressure wore SAIT down," said Keeper. "They took several penalties as a result from that pressure, and while our power play didn't connect tonight like we hoped, we generated many scoring chances." 

Tyler Berkholtz was named the player-of-the-game for the RDC Kings. "Berkholtz was relentless in his work ethic tonight. His whole line played really well and they scored three out of our eight goals," said Keeper. "Tyler did a lot of the little things right and he made several nice plays."

The Kings earned 4 out of 4 points in the standings and made a statement with a very strong weekend against the Trojans (6-4-1-0), who had sole possession of second spot in ACAC Men's Hockey coming into the weekend series. After the two-game sweep, the RDC Kings (12 points) pulled within a point of the SAIT Trojans (13 points) and the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings (13 points). The NAIT Ooks (8-1-1-0) sit in top spot with 17 points.

The Red Deer College Kings (6-4-0-0) will face-off against the Portage College Voyageurs in a pair of games at the Penhold Multiplex next weekend. On Friday, November 17, the Kings will host the Voyageurs at 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday the two teams will compete at 1:30 p.m.