Queens offence lights up Trojans
A year ago they were the top line in the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League.
So when Ashley Graf, Jade Petrie and Emily Lougheed committed to the RDC Queens this season it automatically made the Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League squad considerably stronger on the offensive end.
The Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs grads haven’t played together this season, although Petrie and Lougheed remain together.
“We were together last year and so know each other and being together this year is great,” said Petrie.
The pair teamed up for the third RDC goal in a 4-1 victory over the SAIT Trojans before close to 250 fans at the Arena Thursday.
The goal gave the Queens some breathing room early in the second period as Lougheed fought off a check to test Trojans rookie netminder Nikki Hendrey from in close and Petrie followed up to shovel in the rebound.
“That was a big goal for us,’ said Queens head coach Trevor Keeper. “Those two have a lot of chemistry and both use their talent. They are relentless in pursuit of the puck and despite being smaller girls they’re gritty and create a lot of opportunities for themselves. They both play with confidence and they seem to get goals when we need them the most and have a knack to do it under pressure.”
Petrie, who was third in the midget league scoring last year with 23 goals and 21 assists, is showing she’s one of the top rookies in the ACAC.
“I’m getting used to the pace as this league is definitely faster,” she said. “It’s also nice to play at a higher level and be able to play with them.”
Despite being listed at five-foot-three, she’s not one to back down from a little physical play as shown when she nailed a SAIT player along the boards.
“I didn’t think I hit her that hard, although I am strong,” she said with a smile.
Keeper could have left the midget grads together, but wanted to spread their offensive abilities around and inserted Jena Holden on the line with Petrie and Lougheed.
“We’re playing well together although it’s strange not to play with Ashley as we were together for several years . . . I do miss her,” said Petrie, who had two goals and three assists in five games this season. Lougheed had three goals and three helpers while Graf has a goal and five assists.
Holden, who scored the Queens second goal at 1:19 of the first period, has a goal and three assists.
The Queens, who turned in their worst performance of the season last Thursday in a 4-3 loss to NAIT — their only defeat in five games, were at the top of their game against SAIT, jumping into a 1-0 lead just 40 seconds in on a goal by Laura Salomons.
“Tonight was typical of the way the girls have played all year,” said Keeper. “Last Thursday wasn’t and I’m glad we addressed those issues right away and went into NAIT and won 9-3. That carried over to practice this week and it showed tonight.”
Petrie felt the Queens played more as a unit than they did against NAIT.
“We worked as a team, there was no individual play,” she said.
Carlee Ness, who is also one of 10 former Sutter Fund Chiefs on the Queens roster, scored the fourth RDC goal on a shot from the point that Hendrey got a piece of only to see it pop up over her shoulder and into the net. It brought an end to Hendrey’s night and Chelsie Lowe came on to make 17 saves the rest of the way.
“She (Lowe) gave up some rebounds, but we weren’t able to convert,” said Petrie.
Meanwhile, Queens netminder Camille Trautman faced 20 shots and was at the top of her game, allowing only a close in goal by Bret Seaton.
“She had no control over their goal and she played with a lot of poise and didn’t get rattled even when they were in her crease,” said Keeper.
Trautman also showed a bit of aggression as she twice knocked players down who were bumping her.
“We were bugging her that she was like (Boston Bruins netminder) Tim Thomas and giving a little body check,” laughed Keeper. “She was bumped a lot and instead of being rattled she fought back and was gritty.”
The Queens finished with 32 shots on goal. They visit SAIT (2-2-1) tonight.