Brent Forster - RDC
At the ENMAX Centrium Saturday evening, the RDC Queens competed against the MacEwan University Griffins in game two of the best of five finals and the Queens executed in all facets of the game as they shutout the Griffins 4-0.
The RDC Queens had a great start and scored the all important first goal of the game. Kaitlan Linnell beat Sandy Heim from in close to give RDC a 1-0 edge at 12:14. Linemates Jade Petrie and Emily Lougheed picked up the assists. Thursday in Edmonton, special teams were a factor in the Griffins' win and the Queens reversed the fortunes with a power play goal of their own in the first period. A shot from the top of the right circle was turned aside by Heim but Julia Murrell was in perfect position to capitalize on a rebound to put RDC up by a pair with only 5.4 seconds on the clock. Landry Derdall and Kirsten Baumgardt had the helpers.
At 9:27 of the second period, Kaitlan Linnell scored her second of the game to give the Queens a three goal cushion. A blast from the point by Kirsten Baumgardt was redirected by Linnell behind Heim. Emily Lougheed added the other assist. MacEwan University tried to push back in the latter stages of the period but the Queens' defence kept the offensive attack to the outside. Tracie Kikuchi made some nice saves when called upon.
With 7:55 remaining in the third period, Emily Lougheed skated up the right side and snapped the puck off Heim's shoulder into the net. Jade Petrie recorded the lone assist. The RDC Queens were vigilant defensively and eventually earned a 4-0 shutout victory to tie the series 1-1.
Julia Murrell was named the player-of-the-game for the Queens. Nikki Reimer received the award for the Griffins.
Kikuchi, a Kinesiology & Sport Studies student, was perfect on the night and stopped all 21 shots that she faced (1.000). Sandy Heim made 13 saves out of 17 shots (0.765).
The RDC Queens went 1-for-4 on the power play and killed off all three of the Griffins' man advantages.
Queens Hockey Head Coach Kelly Coulter liked many areas of his team's game. "Our execution was much better tonight. I was happy to see that we got a power play goal by going to the net. It was nice to see us rewarded for something that we've been practicing," said Coulter. "Sandy is a very good goaltender so we need traffic around her. I thought that we executed our game plan for a full 60 minutes. Game two is done and now we have to focus on game three."
The RDC Queens had an impressive defensive performance limiting the Griffins' opportunities. "It's something that we pride ourselves on as a team. We've always talked about trying to be the league leaders in goals against and to me defence always wins a championship," said Coulter. "If you can defend well then the offence just comes naturally. That's something that we constantly work on throughout the season."
The Queens did an excellent job of limiting the Griffins' time and space.
Emily Lougheed had a strong game with three points and a change from the wing has benefited the Queens. "Moving Emily to centre has been a huge help to our team this year. She is a such a smart hockey player - composed. You can see that she has experience playing in this league," said Coulter. "It's always nice when you can put a vet out there who doesn't panic regardless of the situation. She's a calming influence and the first-year players will learn that she is a true competitor. It's nice to have that veteran molding our young Queens."
Emily Lougheed, Jade Petrie and Kaitlan Linnell played a prominent role and the linemates combined for seven points in the home win. "We've been clicking really well ever since we've been put together. Me and Petey (Petrie) are kind of grinders and like to make plays," said Lougheed. "Linnell is a big shooter so it works out really well. Petey and I have played together since we've been twelve years old so putting someone with us who's a shooter is really great."
The Queens have rallied together after the incredible come from behind win over NAIT. "It brought us together. A lot of rookies stepped up and we wouldn't be here without them," said Lougheed, a Management Certificate student. "It was great to see all the girls pull together. It's done wonders for our team and our confidence has gone up."
The RDC Queens would like a repeat effort next week in Edmonton. "We need to do what we did tonight - get our feet moving, get the puck behind their D and forecheck hard," said Lougheed. "Our strength is that we are fast and forecheck hard, and a lot of D can't handle it."
In her final season, Lougheed is enjoying the experience in the playoffs, perhaps even more than in the past. "You have a different mindset when you are in your fifth-year. I will have no other opportunity to do this," said Lougheed. "So for me, it's a lot more emotional this season."
In game three, the MacEwan University Griffins will host the Red Deer College Queens, Thursday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m.