Brent Forster - RDC
Friday evening in Calgary, the RDC Kings and SAIT Trojans needed extra time to decide a winner so Saturday at the Penhold Multiplex there was no surprise that it was another close contest. In consecutive nights the game headed to overtime but this time the Kings scored in the extra frame and earned a 3-2 home victory.
While each team had some chances in the first period, Mike Salmon and Payton Lee were both sharp. Salmon stopped all 14 of the Trojans' shots while Lee turned aside 13 Kings' attempts.
At 10:15 of the second period the Kings hit the scoresheet. Tyler Podgorenko quickly transitioned the puck out of the Kings' zone and sent Jacob Wozney up the right side on an odd man rush. Wozney elected to shoot and Lee let out a rebound in front. Austin Hunter drove the net and capitalized to give RDC a 1-0 lead. As the period was winding down, Pat Martens of the Trojans evened the contest 1-1. Martens tipped a shot from the point into the top of the net with 30 seconds remaining. The Kings outshot the Trojans 14-12 in the period.
At 4:36 of the third period, Dylan Thudium scored the go-ahead-goal for the Kings. Chase Thudium made a nice move around the Trojans' defender and cut towards the net. After Lee made the initial save, Dylan Thudium had great positioning in front and banged home the rebound to give RDC a 2-1 edge. Trojans Head Coach Dan Olsen called a timeout with 1:41 remaining. With Lee pulled, SAIT's Geoff Crisfield tied the game 2-2 with 13.7 seconds left. After three periods, each team had 33 shots.
Neither team could score in the 4-on-4 overtime period, so the game headed to 5 minutes of 3-on-3. With 1:07 remaining, Trevor Costello ended the game with a beautiful backhand. Chase Thudium spotted Costello skating towards the net and the defenceman from Chestermere beat Lee on the blocker side for the 3-2 victory.
Mike Salmon was named the player-of-the-game for RDC. The Bachelor of Business Adminstration student turned aside 34 out of 36 shots (0.944). Payton Lee received the honour for SAIT. Lee stopped 34 out of 37 shots (0.919).
Kings Head Coach Trevor Keeper appreciated the win in a pair of close games against the Trojans. "It was a tough series against SAIT. We rely on team speed but we have some team toughness and we knew that it would be two competitive games," said Keeper. "They have a goaltender who played four years in the Western Hockey League and we had to put up a lot of shots against him over the two games. The guys found a way tonight."
Trevor Costello often plays well defensively and it was nice for the steady defenceman to get rewarded on the scoresheet. "It was great for Trev. He actually could have scored the game winner for us last night. He put us up on a really nice goal," said Keeper. "Our defencemen have the green light to jump in on the offence. We want to have a five man attack even in overtime. We've been to overtime so many times this year already and it's about confidence and poise. We don't want to panic with the puck in overtime and if we lose it, it's about finding our man and staying man-on-man to create a turnover. The guys that were on the ice in OT did that. They kept their shifts short and they were rewarded for it."
Keeper liked the team effort and noted the importance of the Kings' depth. "We had so many guys contribute. Mike Statchuk is full of bruises right now from blocking shots and penalty killing. Trevor Costello played well at both ends," said Keeper. "We have a lot of depth in our program in our fifth year. We were missing Lynnden Pastachak tonight but Scott Ferguson and Landon Kletke stepped up. We have guys to fill those holes."
The Kings earned 3 of a possible 4 points in the weekend series.
The second place RDC Kings (16-6-2-0) will face-off against the eighth place Portage College Voyageurs (2-20-1-1) next weekend in a pair of road games. Friday, February 16, the Voyageurs will host the Kings at 7:00 p.m. The two teams will square off at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The Kings have 34 points in the standings. The SAIT Trojans, the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings and MacEwan University Griffins all share third spot with 33 points.