Red Deer, AB – The RDC Kings hit the scoresheet early and often, and with contributions from the entire line-up they rolled to a 12-2 victory over the Briercrest College Clippers at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
The Kings were ready from the drop of the puck and connected just over a minute into the first period. Sylvan Lake's Chase Thudium beat Dan Dekoning at 1:17. Then his brother got in on the action. Dylan Thudium scored consecutive goals within four minutes 31 seconds, including one on the power play. With 1:15 remaining, Mike Statchuk pinched in from his defensive position and capitalized on a rebound to push the RDC Kings ahead 4-0. Dekoning was busy with 27 shots.
Mike Statchuk (4) Colby Brochu Photography
Twenty-seven seconds into the middle frame, captain Tanner Butler scored high on the glove side. In an attempt to sway momentum, Jeremy Balyk took over in the Clippers' net but the first-year goaltender from Edmonton was quickly tested. Within minutes, RDC's Parker Smyth finished a two-on-one opportunity to give the Kings a 6-0 edge. Then Kings' defenceman Jantzen Leslie found the back of the net and less than a minute later Scott Ferguson struck on the power play. About mid-way through the period, Ryley Smith deposited a rebound past Balyk for a 9-0 lead. Tanner Butler and Austin Hunter rounded out the second period scoring (11-0).
At 15:06 of the third, the Clippers beat Arik Weersink. A cross ice pass found Austin Kozluk in front who made no mistake. With 7:08 remaining, Briercrest College picked up their second goal. A shot from the point was deflected by Chad Davidson. Then with 48 seconds left, Chase Thudium wrapped up a 12-2 home decision on the power play.
Chase Thudium (10) Colby Brochu Photography
"That was a week of preparation. We wanted to play consistently regardless of who we were playing or what the score was, and we did that for especially the first two periods. We let our foot off the gas a little bit in the third period," says Trevor Keeper, Kings Head Coach. "Our penalty kill was one-for-one and we talked about not giving them any opportunities on their power play. They've scored some power play goals this year so that was impressive. Our power play was three-for-five and we've been working on it a ton, and we've been scoring a lot of goals on it lately."
The balanced attack of the talented RDC team was apparent once again, with nine different Kings finding the back of the net. "The guys committed to Kings Hockey and very rarely did we extend our shift length or be undisciplined, and the guys were rewarded for it," says Keeper. "We used four lines and everyone on special teams. We have a lot of depth and the guys know that everyone has an opportunity to have an effect on the outcome, and they all have a role."
Ryley Smith was selected as the Kings Player-of-the-Game and Jeremy Balyk was chosen for the Clippers.
The first-year RDC forward from Huxley has really progressed and recorded four points in the victory. "Ryley had a bit of a slow start to the year because of injury. He had a concussion in the Lacombe Generals tournament," says Keeper. "He was behind in games played but he's playing with the Thudium brothers, and he's been playing really well. He's had several multi-point games since he's been back in the line-up and we're impressed with him."
The Kings outshot the Clippers 75-15. With the win and a Griffins' loss, the Kings take possession of top spot in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men's Hockey with 20 points.
In an afternoon rematch, the RDC Kings (9-2-1-1) will host the Briercrest College Clippers (2-11-0-0) on Saturday, November 24 at 1:00 p.m. at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.