ACAC Men's Hockey Championship preview

Chance Longjohn (20). Pic - Colby Brochu Photography
Chance Longjohn (20). Pic - Colby Brochu Photography

After wrapping up the regular season with eight wins in their past ten games, the Red Deer College Kings (19-7-1-1) will enter the quarter-final against the Concordia University Thunder (7-19-1-1) with momentum. On Friday, March 8, the best of three series will open at 7:00 p.m. at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. 

During the regular season, the third place Red Deer College Kings went undefeated against the sixth place Concordia University Thunder, winning three games (6-4, 4-1 and 4-1) and tying one (3-3). Over the four games, Chase Thudium was a leader with two goals and six assists. Troy Trombley was in net for the three wins and Arik Weersink was in goal for the tie. 

Captain Tanner Butler (24) will be a key factor in the series Pic - Colby Brochu Photography

The Kings led the Thunder in many statistical categories during the season. The RDC Kings finished conference play with the second most potent offence in the league (4.71 goals per game) while the Thunder were sixth (3.18). Defensively, the Red Deer College Kings allowed 3.06 goals against. The Concordia Thunder allowed over one more goal per game (4.10).

Defenceman Tyler Podgorenko (41) vs. Thunder Pic - Colby Brochu Photography

The Kings have the edge in special teams, finishing the regular season with the second best penalty kill (87.3%) and tying for the third best power play (21.3%). The Thunder ranked fourth (84.5%) on the penalty kill and sixth on the man advantage (14.8%).

While the Kings have Chase Thudium, the leading ACAC goal scorer with 18, they often win by committee, which creates difficulties for the opposition's defence. Thudium also finished second in overall points with 37, only one behind SAIT's Dean Allison. Including Thudium, the Red Deer College Kings had three players in the top ten in points. Lynnden Pastachak (32 points) and Dylan Thudium (31) ranked ninth and tenth respectively. 

Concordia's top scorer, Phil Dillon was sixth during conference competition with 33 points. The Thunder have been competitive in most games and defeated the first place NAIT Ooks 3-2 on February 2.

In the other quarter-final, the fourth place University of Alberta Augustana Vikings (17-10-1-0) will host the fifth place SAIT Trojans (17-10-1-0) on Thursday, March 7 at 6:00 p.m. NAIT and MacEwan University will receive a bye.

Concordia will host game two on Saturday, March 9 at 8:15 p.m. and if necessary, game three will go on Sunday, March 10 in Red Deer. The puck will drop at 8:00 p.m. at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, if needed.