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Queens rusty in loss to Griffins

The RDC Queens had a built-in excuse when they hosted the Grant MacEwan Griffins at the Arena Thursday.

They were off for two weeks while the Griffins played a pair of exhibition games during their break.

But no-one was using the break as an excuse following a dismal effort in a 4-0 loss to the Griffins in Alberta colleges Women’s Hockey League play.

“We had a good week of practice and I thought we were ready to go and early on it looked OK as it was back and forth and we dominated at times in the first period,” said Queens head coach Trevor Keeper. “But after the period we talked to the girls about letting them hang around and in the third they started to play with more confidence.

“I really believed we’d find our legs after the first period, but it didn’t happen.”

The Griffins, who were steady for most of the game, finally got to Queens netminder Camille Trautman in the final 20 minutes. Nicole Loewen broke a scoreless tie three minutes into the period, rifling a shot past Trautman from the right circle, which went in off the post.

Megan Grabavec made it 2-0 at 9:22 on a breakaway with Bashaw native Ashley Holt connecting at 13:53 and Kailey Curran at 17:47.

“We didn’t see that coming,” said Keeper.

“But once they did cash in we started to cheat out of the zone and some girls took too long of a shift and we ended up paying for it.”

Queens captain Rachael Hoppins also didn’t the result coming.

“It was tough being off for two weeks, but we had good practices and I thought we were ready, but after a solid start we went downhill. I think they got in our heads a bit and then we sat back. I know we’re way better than they are, but . . .”

The Queens were playing without two of their top rearguards in Carlee Ness (back) and Natasha Stebner, who took one shift before leaving with the ‘flu.

“It’s big missing those two, and we had to move a forward back, but no excuse they have to fill in and we have smart enough players that they can adapt to any position,” said Keeper.

Still Nikki Leonard, who played defence in midget, has been up front this season.

“Those are two solid defencemen to be missing, but we should be able to do it,” said Hoppins, who also didn’t like what she saw from the offence.

“Our shots just weren’t quality shots,” she said.

“She (Morgan Glover) made two or there big saves, but overall we had a lot of flimsy shots at her.”

“We didn’t focus enough to bury some of our shots,” said Keeper.

The Griffins came into the game last in the league with a 1-5-0 record with RDC first at 5-1-0.

The Queens only loss was to NAIT at home. They turned around and beat NAIT 9-3 in Edmonton the following day.

Hoppins believes they can forget about Thursday’s performance when they face the Griffins in Edmonton tonight.

“That first loss was a learning experience, as it wasn’t a good game at all, and we all knew it.

“We forgot about it right away and went back at them. We have to do the same here.”

The Queens finished with 26 shots on Glover while Trautman faced 25.

RDC’s next home action is next Thursday against NAIT.



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