Griffins edge Queens, as Nordell and McMurtry recognized

The Queens put forth a great effort but fell just a goal shy. Pic - Colby Brochu Photography
The Queens put forth a great effort but fell just a goal shy. Pic - Colby Brochu Photography

Brent Forster – RDC

Red Deer, AB – The RDC Queens worked hard and pressed late with their goaltender pulled, but they couldn't score the tying goal. The visiting MacEwan University Griffins edged the Red Deer College Queens 2-1 at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. 

The Griffins hit the scoresheet at 13:39 of the first. Chantal Ricker tallied the opening goal past Miranda Cook. Eventually, the RDC offence was sparked. With time winding down, the RDC Queens evened the contest and it was fitting that both RDC graduating student-athletes were involved in the equalizer. Kaely McMurtry set up Keinyn Nordell who made no mistake on the backhand past Natalie Bender with 22.4 seconds remaining. Sydnee Decorby recorded the other assist.

Nordell and McMurtry capitalized on a rare opportunity to play together in their final regular season home game. "Murts (McMurtry) and I haven't really played much together this year but she has played a crucial role in many of our goals this year," says Nordell. "If you play with her and have your stick on the ice, she will give you the puck. It was nice to play with her again. It's been a couple years." 

Colby Brochu Photography

At 7:31 of the second, MacEwan University capitalized on a loose puck to pull ahead 2-1. Raven Beazer picked up the puck in the corner, carried it out front and beat Cook on the backhand. Karlee Fetch took over in the Queens' net in an attempt to sway momentum.

With just under two minutes remaining in the final frame, Queens Head Coach Kelly Coulter pulled Fetch in favour of the extra attacker. The Queens had increased offensive zone time which included several opportunities to score but Bender shut the door. The Griffins earned a 2-1 road win.  

Colby Brochu Photography

Nordell expected a challenging contest but felt the Queens were ready. "We know that MacEwan is tough and they've been good the past four or five years," she says. "We were preparing specifically for them, with our PK and areas like that. We were anticipating a tough game."

Coulter was proud of the Queens' effort and ability to follow the plan. "Since Christmas, the girls have been playing very well. They are starting to really execute what we are asking, and are buying into the game plan," he says. "For having a short bench, they have to play smart and they have been playing very well since coming back from Christmas. Tonight, there were a couple bounces and goals that we'd like back, but that's the way it goes sometimes." 

Colby Brochu Photography

Kaely McMurtry was selected as the Queens Player-of-the-Game with an assist. Jill MacWilliam received the honour for the Griffins, contributing one helper.

Neither team connected on the power play. The Queens went 0-for-3 while the Griffins couldn't score on two opportunities. 

MacEwan University outshot RDC 31-20.

The third place Red Deer College Queens (8-9-4-0) have three games remaining in the regular season. After Saturday's rematch against the MacEwan University Griffins (14-4-2-0) at 6:00 p.m. in Edmonton, the Queens will face the SAIT Trojans (5-13-0-0) in a pair of road games on February 15 and 16.

Graduating Queens

Prior to the drop of the puck, two fifth-year RDC student-athletes were recognized for their contributions to the Red Deer College Queens Hockey program. Kaely McMurtry and Keinyn Nordell were presented with a gift and hockey jersey. McMurtry, a Bachelor of Education Middle School student, has sat near the top of league scoring for much of the season. The talented forward from Port Coquitlam is second in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women's Hockey in goals (9) and points (16). Nordell, an Open Studies student, has been a premier penalty killer in the league. The forward from Edam, Saskatchewan uses her speed effectively and has been a leader in her time at Red Deer College.

Nordell (9), Kelly Coulter, McMurtry (6)  Colby Brochu Photography

"Players that have given their hearts and souls for the team, it is hard to replace them. It is nice to have Kaely and Keinyn as role models," says Coulter. "Kaely is one of our fittest players and an offensive threat. Keinyn is a hard player to play against - physical and a very good penalty killer. She gives a 100 per cent effort every night. I think if all of our future Queens can have those characteristics, we will be very fine going into the future."

Nordell and McMurtry, who are roommates, discussed the significance of the game prior to arriving at the arena. "Both Kaely and I were talking about it on the way to the game, that it was our last one and how it's nostalgic, but we were excited," says Nordell.

Nordell has many fond memories skating for the Queens. "That has been a huge part of it, just the friendships that I have built, and I can't say that a championship didn't hurt in that five years either. I am still good friends with a lot of the girls that have played here, even the ones who are coaching now," she says. "As Kelly talks about, we would love to see a championship again in our final year. I have made Red Deer my home in the past five years, and this team has been a huge part of making this place so comfortable for me. I find that coming to the rink every day is a huge part of my day and it's exciting to be here."