Brent Forster - RDC
The Red Deer College Hockey Queens faced the SAIT Trojans Thursday evening at the ENMAX Centrium, and in consecutive home games extra time was needed to decide a winner. After the Queens found themselves down 2-0, they rallied to tie the game in the third period but eventually were defeated in double overtime.
The SAIT Trojans struck first at 7:25 of the opening period. Tash Scantlebury carried the puck from the corner and fired a shot that deflected in front and into the back of the net. About 7 minutes later, Lexie Shumate put the Trojans up by a pair. The first-year forward from Spruce Grove had her shot redirect off a player in front and it eluded Tracie Kikuchi at 14:26. The RDC Queens outshot the SAIT Trojans 12-7.
The Queens started the second period with more jump and Julia Murrell nearly put RDC on the board. The fifth-year forward from Edmonton made a nice move around a Trojans' defender but rang her shot off the left post. Before the end of the period, RDC got on the board. As time was ticking down, Catherine Longchamps pulled the Queens within a goal. The Bachelor of Education student spotted some open ice and carried the puck from centre in alone on Elisha Oswald. Longchamps beat the SAIT netminder on the stick side with 8 seconds remaining. RDC peppered Oswald with 15 shots while SAIT tested Kikuchi 3 times in the middle frame.
The RDC Queens had several good scoring chances and they controlled most of the play in the final period. With 8:02 left in regulation, Victoria Johnston knotted the game up 2-2 on the power play. With Emily Lougheed in front screening Oswald, Johnston fired a shot from the point that found the right side of the net. Julia Murrell and Cassidy Anderson picked up the assists. The Queens outshot the Trojans 44-18 over 60 minutes.
Neither team could score in the 4-on-4 overtime period and the contest headed to 5 minutes of 3-on-3. With time winding down, the Trojans broke the deadlock. Shealee Dolan skated hard up the right side, cut across the slot and backhanded the puck high into the right side of net to give SAIT a 3-2 road win. RDC picked up 1 point in the standings. Kikuchi made some key saves down the stretch and stopped 21 out of 24 shots. Oswald was busy and turned aside 48 out of 50 shots.
The RDC Queens went 1-for-5 on the power play. The SAIT Trojans connected on 1-of-6 opportunities with the extra skater.
Catherine Longchamps was named the player-of-the-game for the Queens with strong play at both ends of the ice. Shealee Dolan received the award for the Trojans.
Queens Hockey Head Coach Kelly Coulter didn't like the start but appreciated the ability to battle back. "I think that we gave up two poor goals at the start of the game. We dug ourselves a hole 2-0 and it took us a long time to get going," said Coulter. "Fortunately, we were able to tie the game but we aren't burying our chances when we get them."
Besides goals from Queens' defenders Longchamps and Johnston, Cassidy Anderson skated well and created several scoring opportunities from the blueline. "Our d-corps played well by trying to create offence. They moved the puck fairly well throughout the neutral zone," said Coulter. "If we can get traffic in front of goaltenders in this league, I think that we will get rewarded. Vic's (Victoria Johnston) goal was a result of that. It was a nice shot on net and scoring from the back end is nice when the forwards get that traffic in front."
Despite controlling the better part of the play, the Queens had a few missed opportunities that proved to be costly. "Every time that we have a shooting drill in practice we need to treat it like it's our only chance to score that Stanley Cup winning goal," said Coulter. "So that's the mentality that we need so it comes back to us in a game. If we are just trying to shoot bar down and pick the corners, it doesn't happen very often. I'd rather see our players just shoot, drive the net and pick up a rebound."
In a rematch, the third place Red Deer College Queens (11-5-5-0) will compete against the fifth place SAIT Trojans (4-14-1-0) on Saturday, February 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Calgary.