By DANNY RODE
Special to the Advocate
Clippers 2 Kings 2
PENHOLD — There are times when you simply tip your cap to the opposition and move on.
Saturday proved to be just one of those times for the RDC Kings, who battled the Briercrest Bible College Clippers in a 2-2 tie in Alberta Colleges Men’s Hockey League action at the Penhold Regional Multiplex.
In this case, it was the goaltending of Christian Mueller, who finished with 42 saves for the Clippers.
“It was frustrating, but there’s two sides to each coin,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper. “We certainly outplayed them and had tonnes of scoring chances. We had 23 shots in third period and the overtime including 14 from the slot. But sometimes you just can’t find a way to get it behind their goaltender. And the longer it takes sometimes the guys on offence stop breathing and aren’t as relaxed. There are mental mistakes and instead of picking the corners they hit the post instead.”
Both Riley Simpson and Jordan McTaggart hit the post when they were in alone in the second overtime, which is three-on-three. The first extra five minutes is four-on-four.
RDC rookie netminder Troy Trombley wasn’t nearly as busy as Mueller, facing 19 shots, but was especially sharp in the second overtime, stopping Bryton Beattie on a clear breakaway and making an excellent close in save on a deflection.
The tie came less than 18 hours after the Kings downed the Clippers 4-1.
The Kings were far from pleased when they left the ice, but Keeper was more upbeat.
“We addressed the gentlemen in that room in that we took three of four points and simply need to focus on getting better each week. I just heard them talking on the radio that the team that finishes first hardly ever wins the Stanley Cup. It’s the team that finishes strong. What we’re looking for is to finish strong and finish first or second and get a bye in that first round.
“So that means focusing on what we did well and working on the little mistakes. We need to be positive as a group and not worry about the fact we tied them and should have won.”
Alex Bechtold opened the scoring for the Clippers at 17:41 of the first period with Ben Williams tying it at 16:21 of the middle stanza, when the puck slipped under Mueller and laid behind him.
The official was on top of the play and let the play go until Williams darted in and deposited it in the empty net.
Tanner Butler gave the Kings a 2-1 lead at 2:40 of the third period as he took an outstanding cross-ice pass from Dylan Tudium and had the open side while on the power play. However, Ricky Seidel tied it at 13:18, also on the power play.
The Kings held a 14-4 edge in shots in the third period, but had few rebounds.
“They did a good job of clogging up the middle and we had to try to get rid of our shots quickly and through screens and traffic,” said Keeper. “That’s the way they need to play.”
The Kings will get even a tougher test next weekend as they face the defending champion NAIT Ooks in a home-and-home series, beginning Friday at 7 p.m. in Penhold.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at email@example.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcatheltics.ca