Queens’ worst game of the season at the worst time

When the game was called with 49.7 seconds remaining in the third period

Griffins 6 Queens 3

When the game was called with 49.7 seconds remaining in the third period it was almost a merciful end for the RDC Queens.

The Queens turned in possibly their poorest performance of the Alberta College Women’s Hockey League season in dropping a 6-3 decision to the MacEwan University Griffins at the Centrium Thursday.

The only real negative for the Griffins came late in the third period when Dominique Scheurer lost her balance and crashed into the boards to the left of the RDC goal.

The Switzerland native was knocked out and eventually taken off the ice on a board after being strapped down. She did wake up prior to leaving for the hospital.

The Queens were fighting the puck and making poor decisions from the outset and it showed on the scoreboard.

Shanya Shwetz was allowed to walk into the slot and beat RDC starting netminder Jen West with the Griffins’ first shot on goal at 3:29. A minute 31 later West made an easy save and allowed the puck to lay at her feet and Jessica Dyck made it 2-0.

“I really start to question how prepared we are to play at home,” said Queens head coach Kelly Coulter.

“The last couple of games we came out flat and teams aren’t intimidated coming into our barn. We have to be ready to battle and unfortunately we allowed them to dictate the pace of the game and we found ourselves down 2-0 and against a good team like MacEwan that’s a hard hole to get out of.”

Coulter pulled West in favour of Tracie Kikuchi following the second MacEwan goal, which came on their third shot.

“I thought the goaltending change early would send a message but unfortunately a lot of times the girls are here to play hockey but aren’t hockey players.”

Still the Queens, thanks to their power play, Emily Swier and Ashley Graf, battled back to tie the game early in the second period.

Swier scored on a wrap around at 12:33 of the first period, then tied the game with her sixth of the season redirecting a Graf pass past MacEwan netminder Sandy Heim at 1:39 of the middle stanza. Both goals came on the power play.

However, Morgan Casson put the Griffins up for good eight minutes into the second period when she was allowed to walk unmolested into the high slot.

In the thrid period, Raven Beazer, on a giveaway, scored at 43 seconds, Shyla Jans was credited with a power play marker at 8:22 and Courtney Zajac scored on a breakaway at 9:05 to give the Griffins a 6-2 lead. Kaci Jones stole the puck off a MacEwan rearguard and beat Heim on her own rebound at 12:02 to complete the scoring.

Coulter became so upset late he switched his defence and forwards. Moving his defencemen up front and several forwards back.

“I guess it was to make a point … sometimes there’s the blame game and people have to do someoneelses job to see what they bring to the table. So I guess it was a teaching moment.”

The win moved the Griffins to within one point of the Queens and NAIT Ooks, who are tied for first place. However, NAIT does have a game in hand.

The Queens make a return visit to the Griffins on Saturday.

The Griffins are without high-scoring Michelle Pochapsky as talk has it she has left the team. However, that didn’t bother the Edmonton squad as they played a great team game.

“I don’t know the story with Michelle, but all the teams in this league are good and if you’re not prepared to play you’re in tough and we weren’t,” said Coulter.

The Queens managed only 17 shots on Heim, including two in the third period, although that number was low. MacEwan had 32 shots on West and Kikuchi, who made 25 saves.

RDC was two of three on the power play while killing off five of six shorthanded situations.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at drode@bprda.wpengine.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca

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