PENHOLD — The RDC Kings weren’t about to hand the Alberta Colleges Men’s Hockey League quarter-final series to the University of Alberta, Augustana Vikings without a fight.
After losing 3-1 in Camrose Friday the Kings returned home needing a victory to extend the best-of-three series and they did just that with a solid two-way performance in a 2-0 victory before over 200 fans at the Penhold Regional Multiplex Saturday.
The game was a high-tempo, hard-hitting affair with neither team giving an inch.
“It was a really good playoff game,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper. “I said at the beginning of the series the two teams match up well. We outshot them in both games, but tonight we did a better job of getting more traffic to the net, screening and getting the puck behind their goaltender.”
The Kings finished with 39 shots on Vikings netminder Curtis Skip while Mike Salmon made 31 saves in recording the shutout.
“Skip is a really good goaltender … he’s active and likes to come out and if you can get pucks to the side and back of him you have a chance to score a couple more goals,” added Keeper.
The teams battled through a scoreless opening period despite the Kings holding a 21-9 edge in shots.
Riley Simpson opened the scoring for the Kings at 12:19 of the second period while enjoying a two-man advantage. He grabbed the puck off the faceoff, cut across in front and waited for Skip to go down.
Scott Ferguson made it 2-0 at 5:50 of the third period on a picture perfect goal. He head-manned the puck to Dustin Gorgi, who darted down the right wing and relayed the puck back to Ferguson, who redirected it past a helpless Skip.
“Scott has really stepped up big time and showed us he knows how to score,” said Keeper. “The reason he gets goals like that is that he goes to the net. He has such a high level of fitness and doesn’t quit and got rewarded.”
From then on the Kings did an excellent job with their defensive coverage. And when the Vikings did have an opportunity Salmon shut things down.
“Sammy steps up in the playoffs,” said Keeper. “He did a good job. He made some big, timely saves., but our D men and our low forward did a really good job of boxing out, scooping sticks off the ice and clearing pucks. Sammy had the ability to make the save and didn’t have to worry about a second or third shot.”
The third game goes tonight at 6 p.m. in Camrose.
“We want the same type of game,” said Keeper. “We love their ice, their building, their dressing room, so it’s not a disadvantage for us to play there. It’s one game and I like our chances.”
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com.