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Janzen utilizes rare opportunity to lead Queen to win

It’s tough to be a backup goaltender at any level.

It’s even tougher in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League with only two games a week and 18 overall during the regular season.

But RDC Queens rookie Caitlyn Janzen has done an admirable job of backing up starter Camille Trautman.

Janzen has only played in two games this season, but won them both and has allowed only two goals. Her latest outing came Thursday when she backstopped the Queens to a 3-1 victory over the Grant MacEwan University Griffins before close to 200 fans at the Arena.

“I knew coming in I’d be the backup goalie and it was a matter of working and pushing,” said the Saskatchewan native, who played with Swift Current.

Janzen was also a step behind when she finally got on the ice this season after being involved in a car accident prior to the season and missing close to a month with a concussion.

Add that to the fact she was behind the league’s top netminder — Trautman — it was tough to find playing time.

“You have to respect the top goalie and we are battling to finish in top place (in the league),” she said.

Janzen needed a little time Thursday to find her game legs. She allowed the game’s first goal by Megan Grbavac at 11:21 of the first period, on a shot between her legs from the right circle. She was obviously upset.

“I was frustrated, but I realize it happens to even the best goalies and I had to shake it off,” said Janzen, who only got better as the game wore on and finished with 19 saves, including eight in the third period.

“She had a rough start, but she hasn’t played much and I’d be nervous too,” said Queens head coach Trevor Keeper. “But after that first goal she settled down and did a good job of tracking the puck and controlling her rebounds. She got more relaxed as the game wore on and made several good saves, especially in the third period.”

Janzen, who is in her first year of kinesiology and sports studies, has only played in goal for four years.

“I played defence before, but my whole family were goalies, so it was natural for me to go in the net. The toughest thing is the mental part, to stay mentally focused even when you’re not getting many shots.”

You could see some of her play from her defensive days in the third period when she charged out of the net to knock the puck away from a MacEwan forward, who was chasing a loose puck at the RDC blueline.

“I like charging out, it scares the opposition,” she said with a laugh.

Once the Griffins took the lead the Queens didn’t take long to regain control as Ashley Graf scored at 13:10 and Jayna Kitchen at 14:19.

“We’re trying to teach the girls to be poised no matter what happens,” said Keeper. “It’s a game of momentum and the girls are good at staying focused after getting down and they push harder once we get scored on.”

Emily Lougheed connected on a perfect shot from the slot at 1:30 of the second period to complete the scoring.

All three RDC goals came against starting netminder Brenna McNulty, who faced 18 shots. Morgan Glover came on at 2:23 of the second period and shut the door, making 19 saves, several of the outstanding variety.

It was the third straight impressive win for the 10-3 Queens after the Christmas break.

“The second half of the season we’ve tried to be more intense,” continued Keeper. “We’ve shortened the practices and worked more on game situations. We want to roll four lines and three sets of defence and pressure the other team into giving us the puck. And once we get it we’ll have the energy to keep it.”

l MacEwan took two of three minor penalties . . . Queens were without defenceman Casey Nicholson, so Leah Boucher moved back . . . RDC and MacEwan meet again tonight at Confederation Arena in Edmonton . . . Queens don’t play at home until Feb. 2 when they host the NAIT Ooks in what will be the battle for first place . . . Gillian Altheim had an assist and moved into the scoring lead with 19 points.



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