Kikuchi and Queens sweep weekend series over Ooks

Tracie Kikuchi (35) was sharp once again in Edmonton. Photo - Tony Hansen
Tracie Kikuchi (35) was sharp once again in Edmonton. Photo - Tony Hansen

Brent Forster - RDC

When the Red Deer College Hockey Queens and NAIT Ooks compete it is often a close and exciting game. Saturday in Edmonton, it was no different. When 60 minutes and double overtime couldn't decide a winner, the RDC Queens won 2-1 in the shootout to sweep the weekend series and earn four of a possible four points in the standings. 

Tracie Kikuchi was excellent in the Queens' net once again and consistently gives her team a chance to win. NAIT fired 16 shots at the Kinesiology & Sport Studies student but they couldn't solve her in the opening frame. RDC tested Karlee Fetch 8 times. 

At 8:44 of the middle frame, Verca Kuzelova scored on the power play to give the Ooks a 1-0 lead. Around 3 minutes later the Queens responded. Captain Julia Murrell tied the game 1-1 off a setup from Kaely McMurtry at 11:49. The two teammates connected on the game-winning-goal in Sylvan Lake on Thursday and repeated that chemistry in Edmonton. In the period, RDC outshot NAIT 7-5.

Both goaltenders were unbeatable in the third period. Kikuchi stopped all 13 shots while Fetch turned aside 2 in the period. After four-on-four overtime couldn't decide a winner the game headed to 5 minutes of three-one-three but neither team could find the back of the net. Over both overtime periods, the Queens outshot the Ooks 10-7. 

In the shootout, Julia Murrell beat Fetch and Kikuchi stopped everything thrown her way. The RDC Queens earned a 2-1 shootout victory.

Queens Hockey Head Coach Kelly Coulter appreciated a solid effort by all of the student-athletes. "All of our players battled really hard tonight," said Coulter.

Tracie Kikuchi stopped 40 out of 41 shots (0.976) in the game and Julia Murrell was a key offensive contributor. "Tracie was outstanding in net and Julia scored two beautiful goals for us tonight," said Coulter. 

Saturday's game wrapped up the regular season. The RDC Queens (14-5-5-0) will face the NAIT Ooks (18-4-2-0) in the first round of the playoffs. Friday, February 23, the Queens will travel to Edmonton to face the Ooks at 7:00 p.m. in game one of the best of three series. The RDC Queens will host the NAIT Ooks Saturday at 8:00 p.m. for game two. Game three will go in Edmonton on Sunday if necessary. MacEwan University will compete against Olds College in the other series.