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Queens finish off Griffins in battle of tired teams

Two tired teams tangled Sunday afternoon at the Arena, with the Red Deer College Queens possessing a little more energy and emerging with a 3-0

win over the Grant MacEwan Griffins.

The Queens, in the process, advanced to the Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League final against the NAIT Ooks.

The Queens took the best-of-three semifinal 2-1 well under 24 hours after falling 2-1 in double overtime Saturday at Grant MacEwan.

“Yesterday was a long day,” said RDC head coach Trevor Keeper. “It was unfortunate we had to get a 12:30 game time today, but with minor hockey that’s all there was available.”

Keeper’s crew got second-period goals from Laura Solomons and Emily Lougheed and Solomons all but sealed the deal when she connected from the high slot midway through the final frame. Camille Trautman stopped 28 shots to earn the shutout, while Griffins netminder Brenna McNutty also made 28 saves.

“The girls played really well for eight of nine periods in this series,” said Keeper, whose squad watched the Griffins’ Kendra Rosychuk notch the winning goal at 9:13 of double overtime Saturday night.

“We outshot them something like 11-3 in overtime,” said Keeper. “It was just one of those games where we had so much pressure. We had a goal disallowed and they came back and scored on a perimeter shot that kind of ricocheted.

“But the girls fought though it and stuck with it today. They were good right to the end . . . for all three periods.”

Samantha Schulz also scored Saturday for Grant MacEwan, which got a 28-save performance from McNutty. Ashley Graf notched a third-period goal for the Queens, while Trautman stopped 26 shots.

The Queens will take momentum into Thursday’s championship series opener at NAIT, which drew a first-round playoff bye for finishing first — one point ahead of RDC — during the regular season.

“As a coach you want to get that first-round bye so you don’t risk injuries, but if you can get through (a semifinal) without injuries it’s better to be playing playoff hockey than practising and waiting,” said Keeper.

“In hindsight it was a good thing that we had a tough series. Grant MacEwan plays hard, they forecheck hard. You learn things from every playoff game, so it was a good thing for our team.”

The second game of the series is slated for Saturday at 5:15 p.m. at the Arena.



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