Brent Forster - RDC
Thursday evening, the Red Deer College Queens Hockey team competed against the SAIT Trojans at the ENMAX Centrium, and while it wasn't a consistent effort over 60 minutes the Queens picked up a home win. After a tied opening period, the Queens added a goal in the middle frame and another in the third period for a 3-1 victory in their final home game of 2017.
Tracie Kikuchi got the start in net for the RDC Queens while Emma Greenwood got the nod for the Trojans.
While it was a slower start, around 11 minutes into the first period Morgan Fraser nearly opened the scoring for RDC. Fraser deked around a Trojans' defender but was stopped by Greenwood on the blocker side. The Queens continued to press and with 6:22 remaining in the first period, Catherine Longchamps found the back of the net to give RDC a 1-0 lead. It was the third goal of the season for the first-year Bachelor of Education student, whose game continues to improve. Landry Derdall picked up her sixth assist of the year. With 2:09 remaining, Karmen Mooney, of the SAIT Trojans, tied the game 1-1 and broke Kikuchi's impressive shutout streak of over three full games. Mooney fired a low shot that found the right side of the net. The Queens outshot the Trojans 10-7 over the opening 20 minutes.
Emily Lougheed gave the Queens a 2-1 lead 4:39 into the second period. The fifth-year student-athlete from Spruce View beat Greenwood on the short side for her fourth point in 10 games. Camryn Wallan, a first-year forward from Beaverlodge, picked up the helper. With about 8:20 left in the period, Kikuchi made a great sprawling glove save while the Queens were shorthanded to preserve the one goal edge. Shots were 10-10 in the middle frame.
The Queens had a good opportunity to go up by a pair around the 12 minute mark of the third period when Julia Murrell tried to beat Greenwood high on the short side but the Trojans netminder made a shoulder save. RDC continued to apply pressure but Grenwood made some key stops. SAIT Trojans Head Coach Kelsey Leifson pulled the goalie in favour of the extra attacker with 47 seconds remaining, and Keinyn Nordell found the open net only 7 seconds later to seal the 3-1 home victory. Cassidy Anderson assisted on Nordell's third goal of the season. The RDC Queens tested Greenwood 17 more times in the final period, while the SAIT Trojans sent 3 more shots on Kikuchi. As the clock wound down, the Queens picked up their fourth win in a row.
Over three periods, the Queens outshot the Trojans 37-20. Kikuchi stopped 19 of 20 shots for a solid 0.950 save percentage. Special teams were once again strong for RDC. The Queens struck once on four power plays and they also killed off all four of the Trojans' opportunities with the extra skater.
Despite the victory, Queens Hockey Head Coach Kelly Coulter noted a few areas for his team to improve. "I was disappointed in the effort for the whole game. It didn't look like we could execute or skate tonight, but thankfully Tracie was there to backstop us. We need to be ready to play from the puck drop and unfortunately tonight it was a poor effort," said Coulter. "I am happy with the win but I expect more from our team. Fortunately, we were able to put some goals in the net. Going forward if you're going to win a championship, you have to be able to give it your all for sixty minutes and tonight, in my opinion, we got lucky."
With the first semester approaching an end, Coulter assessed the play of the Queens. "We have a very coachable group - a very smart group. When we play well and manage the puck, on every given night we can win. It comes down to the teams that can consistently execute and play a full hard game," said Coulter. "So far, I'm happy with what I see from the development of our young players. We are seeing leadership from our older players and I'm very happy with where we are at this point."
In December, the Queens will plan to stay in shape with mostly dry land training but will focus on their studies and exams. "We will continue to work out in December. We have very limited ice and we want the student-athletes to focus on their academics," said Coulter. "It's on the ladies to work out together as a group off the ice, and to not only maintain their fitness, but improve it."
Catherine Longchamps was named the player-of-the-game for the Queens while Emma Greenwood received the honour for the Trojans.
On Saturday, November 25, the RDC Queens (8-3-2-0) will compete against the SAIT Trojans (1-9-1-0) in Calgary at 7:00 p.m. The road game will be the Queens' final conference game of 2017.