Epic comeback propels Queens to finals

Julia Murrell (16) scored the game winner in Edmonton. Photo - Tony Hansen
Julia Murrell (16) scored the game winner in Edmonton. Photo - Tony Hansen

Brent Forster - RDC

In game three of the semi-finals, the RDC Queens trailed the NAIT Ooks 3-0 and then generated one of the most memorable comebacks in recent Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women's Hockey playoff history with four consecutive goals to win 4-3 and advance to the finals.

The Ooks opened the scoring at 16:47 of the first period on their home ice. On the power play, Davina McLeod took control of a loose puck and scored on the blocker side. 

At 1:44 of the middle frame, Verca Kuzelova put NAIT up by a pair. Kuzelova was stationed at the right side of the net and capitalized on a rebound as the NAIT forwards crashed the net. Minutes later, the NAIT Ooks went up 3-0 on the power play. Kendra Hanson scored off a sharp angle shot at 4:44. The Queens didn't quit and reduced the gap by two (3-1) when Neisha Germann beat Karlee Fetch at 9:22. Camryn Wallan had possession of the puck in the left corner, spun and fed Germann who cut towards the net and beat Fetch high. Karissa Cullum picked up the other assist.

Momentum swung in favour of the Queens in the third period. RDC applied more zone pressure and were eventually rewarded. At 7:39, Catherine Longchamps scored to pull the Queens within a goal. The defender from Deux-Montagnes, Quebec halted an Ooks' clearing attempt, skated up the left side and fired a low shot which eluded Fetch with traffic in front. Camryn Wallan and Cassidy Anderson recorded the helpers. Minutes later, Jade Petrie knotted the contest 3-3. At 11:11, the fifth-year forward from Red Deer intercepted a pass in the Ooks' zone, got Fetch moving to her right and released a hard shot high on the glove side. Emily Lougheed and Kaitlan Linnell picked up the assists. The Queens continued to press. With 2:59 left in the period, Julia Murrell took control of the puck in the circle after an offensive zone face-off and as she was falling she made a precise shot high on the glove side to make it 4-3 for the RDC Queens. Kaely McMurtry had the lone assist. NAIT pulled Fetch with 1:13 remaining but Kikuchi and the Queens thwarted all of their remaining attempts. The Queens earned an incredible 4-3 comeback road victory. 

Queens Hockey Head Coach Kelly Coulter appreciated the ability to persevere when down three goals. "It was great to see the Queens never stop battling and working for each other," said Coulter.

Cassidy Anderson was named the player-of-the-game for the RDC Queens. The talented defender from Water Valley played key minutes on the blueline and recorded an assist. 

Kikuchi stopped 26 out of 29 shots in the victory. 

The RDC Queens will compete against the MacEwan University Griffins in the finals. The Griffins defeated the Olds College Broncos two games to none (6-0 and 4-2).