Brent Forster - RDC
Friday evening, the Red Deer College Kings hosted the Briercrest College Clippers, and after the Clippers opened the scoring the Kings scored the next three goals en route to a 3-1 home victory.
Troy Trombley started in goal for the Kings while Dan Dekoning got the assignment for the Clippers. Dekoning, from Listowel, Ontario, suited up with the Erie Otters and Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
At 19:50 of the first period, Mark MacKinnon gave the Briercrest College Clippers a 1-0 lead. Over 20 minutes, the Kings outshot the Clippers 11-4.
The RDC Kings tested Dekoning early and often in the middle frame. The Kings were rewarded at 7:53 when Lynnden Pastachak beat the Clippers netminder to knot the game up 1-1. Tyler Berkholtz and Tyrell Mappin picked up the assists. RDC outshot Briercrest College 16-10 in the second period.
At 7:33 of the third period, Tyrell Mappin put the Kings up 2-1. Pastachak and Berkholtz had the helpers. The Kings continued to apply pressure and at 12:32 Dylan Baer scored on the power play. Chase Thudium, a first-year forward from Sylvan Lake, and Scott Ferguson, a second-year forward from Sylvan Lake, assisted on the goal. The Clippers pulled Dekoning late for the extra attacker but couldn't climb any closer. The Kings earned a 3-1 win. RDC tested Dekoning 10 more times while Trombley didn't have any shots to contend with in the third period. Over 60 minutes, the Kings outshot the Clippers 37-14.
Kings Hockey Head Coach Trevor Keeper credited the Clippers with a solid effort. "The Clippers work hard and are quick. Their goaltender Dekoning has major junior experience in the OHL and played with Connor McDavid on the Erie Otters," said Keeper. "The Clippers really feed off his strong play."
Dekoning has played with several drafted players and some who have suited up in the NHL. Besides McDavid, the Clippers goaltender was teammates with Dylan Strome of the Arizona Coyotes and Alex DeBrincat of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Keeper liked the Kings' ability to stick with the plan. "In the second period when the game was tight, we talked about how elite teams stick with their game plan and don't panic," said Keeper. "In the third period we outshot them 10-0. We kept the foot on the gas and were able to lock it down."
Several student-athletes had strong performances. "Lynnden Pastachak, Tyler Berkholtz and Tyrell Mappin had good games with two points each," said Keeper. "Dylan Baer scored a key power play goal for us and Tanner Butler was consistent on defence once again."
The Kings went 1-for-6 with the man advantage and killed off all 5 of the Clippers' power plays.
The second place Kings (13-5-1-0) will host the sixth place Clippers (4-13-1-1) in a rematch, Saturday, January 20 at 1:30 p.m. at the Penhold Multiplex.