Queens open season with win over Griffins
The RDC Queens were more than ready to open their Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League regular season on Thursday night at the Arena.
The Queens were big-time pumped, but clearly they had their nerves under control as they rolled to a 4-0 win over the Grant MacEwan Griffins.
“It’s been a long preseason for us, we played double the amount of preseason games as we did last year,” said RDC head coach Trevor Keeper. “The girls were pretty anxious to get going. We’ve been doing some pretty good things building up to this so tonight they were excited and a little bit nervous, but they came out and executed pretty well for all three periods.”
Keeper was particularly impressed with his club’s defensive-zone coverage as the Queens held their guests to 25 mostly harmless shots.
“It’s something we’ve worked on this year. We’re really trying to keep the other team away from our home plate area,” said Keeper. “They got 25 shots tonight but not many from inside the slot.”
Keeper also liked the Queens’ forecheck.
“Our girls are doing a good job of pursuing the puck and the other players are feeding off of it and taking away passing lanes,” said the RDC bench boss. “We saw quite a few turnovers by their (Griffins) D-men, but that was because our forwards were in the right position with sticks on the ice.”
Gillian Altheim notched two goals and picked up an assist as the Queens scored twice in each of the second and third periods. Leah Boucher and Jayna Kitchen also tallied, while Ashley Graf contributed two assists and Camille Trautman posted the shutout.
Morgan Glover made 31 saves for Grant MacEwan.
The Queens were zero-for-five on the power play but Keeper wasn’t concerned.
“We had lots of chances and ran some good plays,” he said. “Sometimes you just don’t get a bounce on the power play.”
On the flip side . . .
“Our penalty kill was 100 per cent tonight,” added Keeper.
Queens captain Rachael Hoppins sees plenty of potential in the current version of the Queens.
“It’s awesome. I couldn’t be more pumped,” said Hoppins. “This is my third year and it’s just such a difference from the first year. I was on the bench watching tonight and was in awe of how good we are this year. It’s incredible.
“Just how fast we move the puck and our breakouts . . . everything is improved so much to when I first got here to now. It’s great and I think we’re going to go far this year.”
The Queens are at Grant MacEwan on Saturday and Hoppins expects more of the same.
“I think we can do it all over again, it should be no problem,” she insisted. “We’re in their barn but I don’t think that will stop us or hinder anything.”