Queens pull out overtime victory over SAIT
RDC Queens head coach Trevor Keeper would have preferred a little easier victory, but he took the positive out of a 2-1 overtime win over the SAIT Trojans in Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League play at the Arena Thursday.
“It was a good situation for us going into the playoffs,” he said.
“We wanted to win, but we didn’t want it to be easy either. SAIT played us hard, although we outshot them 33-13, they made a game of it and took it into overtime.”
Keeper hopes his troops will use that as a learning experience.
“We haven’t been into overtime that often this season and most times overtime is a mental hurdle, no matter if you’re confidence and have the gas peddle down or you’re tentative and nervous.”
It was only the second overtime game of the season for the Queens. The first was a 3-2 loss to NAIT last week.
“We certainly needed another overtime game,’ added Keeper, who said that could be a major part of the playoffs.
“And they’re not five minutes. They can go on and on and you need to stay focused and have confidence to do that. We did tonight and got a simple shot in on goal and Laura (Salomons) scored on the rebound.”
Salomons found herself all alone in front of SAITs netminder Hannah Brock and whipped a quick shot to the stick side at 3:13 to keep the Queens small hopes of finishing first alive.
The Queens moved to within one point of the league-leading NAIT Ooks, who have two games remaining against the Grant MacEwan Griffins. The Queens face SAIT again tonight in Calgary.
The overtime loss did give the Trojans a small chance of making the playoffs as they could still tie Grant MacEwan for third place if they beat the Queens.
If RDC finishes second they’ll open the best-of-three semifinal against the third-place team next Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Arena. The second game will be on the road with the third, if necessary, Feb. 24 at noon at the Arena.
The first-place team receives a bye.
One of the things the Queens have been working on of late is reducing shots from the slot, or home plate as they call it.
“We worked in practice on our defensive zone coverage in the home plate area,” said Keeper. “We did a lot of drills on keeping the shots out of that area and we did a good job tonight. We allowed one in the first period, four in the second and three in the third.”
What the Queens did have trouble with was solving Brock.
“She played really well and frustrated some of our shooters. But she made great saves and it was key for us to keep getting shots on net and keeping our eyes up so we made good high shots on the rebounds rather than shovelling it back into her.”
Rachael Hoppins opened the scoring for RDC at 16:31 of the second period on the power play while Mackenzie Duncan evened the count at 5:54 of the third period on a screened shot from the point that gave goaltender Camille Trautman no chance. It was also a power play marker.
• In other RDC news former basketball Queens head coach Dawn Smyth has made it official, she won’t be returning.
Smyth was given a year sabbatical to work with Canada Basketball with the stipulation that the position would be available if she decided to return for the 2013-14 season.
However, Smyth was presented with a permanent contract offer by Canada Basketball last week and she told RDC earlier this week she has accepted it and won’t be returning.
According to college policy they will have to advertise the position. However, Mike Woollard took over the Queens this season and is the likely candidate to remain as the head coach.
Smyth is the director of coaching education and development for the Canadian association, a job which takes her across the country to work with coaches.
“I work coaching camps in an effort to build higher level coaches,” she explained in a telephone interview from Yellowknife. “I worked with the Canadian team at the World U17 championship and at training camps we hold for senior to cadet.:
She also does scorekeeping for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.
“That’s a lot of fun,” she said, adding that she also misses RDC.
“I definitely miss the people and the relationships I build with the players,” she said. “You never forget those relationships. I was there (at RDC) a couple of days ago and I do miss that atmosphere.”