At the ENMAX Centrium Thursday, the Red Deer College Queens Hockey team faced the Olds College Broncos. Alex Frisk started in goal for the Queens once again while Nikki Grandinetti got the start in net for the Broncos. Frisk was coming off a 3-0 shutout performance against the MacEwan Griffins when she stopped all 21 shots and had another solid night. The RDC Queens scored first, never trailed and had an explosive third period to complete a 6-1 win on home ice.
The Queens applied early pressure and 4 minutes in, Julia Murrell hit the left post with a low shot but the puck bounced out. On the power play, with 7:26 remaining in the first period Emily Swier carried the puck up the left side and with one Broncos defender back sent a nice pass to Ashley Graf out front. Graf buried her shot between the goaltender's pads to put the Queens up 1-0. Cassidy Anderson picked up the other assist as she connected with Swier up ice.
After the first period each team had 8 shots on goal.
The Queens took a 2-0 lead 1:43 into the middle frame when Graf scored her second of the game. Emily Swier took a wrist shot from the high slot and Graf deflected the wrister into the right side of the net. Suze Vanderlinde nearly put the Queens up 3-0 when Keinyn Nordell fired a shot from the left side. Grandinetti directed the rebound out front and Vanderlinde nearly banged it in.
The Queens had 13 shots while the Broncos tested Frisk 2 times in the second period.
Within seconds of a Queens power play ending, Graf picked up her third point of the game 35 seconds into the final frame when she spotted Swier wide open in front of the Broncos net. Swier beat Grandinetti to put the RDC Queens up 3-0. Jade Petrie picked up the additional helper.
At 2:57 the Broncos narrowed the gap 3-1 when Hanna Matchett scored high on the glove side from the slot. Within 20 seconds, the Queens responded to go up 4-1 when Julia Murrell found the back of the net. The assists went to Jessica Anderson and Breanna Martin. Another 24 seconds later at 3:41 the Queens went up 5-1 on a Keinyn Nordell goal. Suze Vanderlinde and Kaely McMurtry picked up the helpers. Catalina Hartland replaced Grandinetti in the Olds net. The Queens went up 6-1 at 5:31 when Graf scored her third goal of the game. Emily Swier picked up the helper.
The RDC Queens had 18 shots in the final period for a game total of 39 while the Broncos had 5 shots for a three period total of 15.
Ashley Graf was chosen as the Queens player-of-the-game. The Bachelor of Science student had a strong night and finished with 3 goals and 1 assist. Graf's line was effective and totalled 9 points.
Queens Head Coach Kelly Coulter thought his team found their rhythm as the game went on.
"The first period was back and forth. I thought our players found their groove and the line of Petrie, Graf and Swier was good," said Coulter. "I thought all of our lines were very good but that was a very good performance by that line. We started to pass the puck better in the second and third period and that really helped our game."
Coulter liked the traffic around the Broncos net including several deflections.
"Goalies in the league are very good so we have to take their eyes away or deflect pucks. The more traffic and redirects we can do it will help us put pucks in the net," said Coulter. "Winning is about going to the net and giving a second effort. Today the team took that message and carried it out fairly well today."
Defensively the RDC Queens sit at the top of the league and have given up the least number of goals against per game.
"Our defence is something we constantly work on. I'm happy with what we see," said Coulter. "We have a very young defensive corps and we really push and they met the challenges that we put there. I've been very happy with how they've progressed."
"We've known how to play with each other because some of us have played together for over 10 years and tonight we had fun with it," said Graf. "I wouldn't be able to score my goals without my linemates. We work well together."
Practice paid off with a nice redirection on Graf's second goal.
"I actually practice deflections quite often. A lot of our drills in practice are making sure you are standing in front and taking the goalie's eyes away so it came into play today," said Graf. "All of the drills paid off."
Special teams were once again a positive factor for the RDC Queens connecting on 1-of-2 power plays and killing off all 3 of the Broncos chances with the extra skater.
With the win, the Queens move into first place in ACAC Women's Hockey with 17 points. In the second half of the home-and-home series the Olds College Broncos host the RDC Queens Saturday, Nov. 26 at 7:00 p.m.