Queens 3 Griffins 1
Keinyn Nordell wasn’t looked at as an offensive threat during her first two seasons with the RDC Queens.
What the Edam, Sask., native was one of the premier defensive forwards in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League.
This season she’s expanded her role with the team, taking more of an offensive role.
In fact she’s already equalled last season’s goal total when she notched her third goal in seven games. This one was the game winner as the Queens downed the MacEwan University Griffins 3-1 at the Centrium Wednesday.
“I’m not really a goal scorer, but everyone is hitting me in the right spots,” she said. “I’ve been getting the passes across the slot … it’s nice.”
Nordell, along with centre Suze Vanderlinde and winger Morgan Fraser, give the Queens one of the better checking lines in the ACAC, but also a line that’s stepping up offensively.
“Morgan was always the goal scorer, but now they’re looking more at us, and we’re picking up our game,” said Nordell, who skates as well as anyone on the team.
“Skating has always been my strength since Day 1,” she said. ‘Now I’m getting the puck more. The coaches have been working with me on that, and it’s starting to click.”
“Her strength is skating and she’s going hard to the net. Tonight you saw that on her goal,” said Queens head coach Kelly Coulter. “She was a nice option for Baumer. It’s what we expect from third year players.”
Kirsten Baumgardt made a perfect pass across the crease from the right circle, and all Nordell had to do was shovel the puck in the open side. The goal came at 16:26 of the second period, which the Queens dominated, outshooting the Griffins 15-3.
Jade Petrie had tied the game at 13:39 on the power play when she grabbed a rebound and tucked it under MacEwan goaltender Sandy Helm. Once again she did a good job of driving to the net.
“That’s something we’ve been working on,” said Coulter. “The goalies in this league are excellent, and you have to create situations where they can’t control the rebounds, and that’s creating traffic in front.”
The Griffins had opened the scoring on a goal by Raven Beazer at 3:24 of the first period.
“In thought we played a solid game, but the one error we did make in our zone was on their goal,” said Coulter. “Other than that we played well.”
The Queens did get caught leaving the offensive zone to fast at times, but were able to cover up.
“That’s communication and something we can work on,” said Coulter. “We need to read the rush a bit better and see what’s happening.”
Jessica Anderson put the finishing touches on the scoring, firing the puck into the empty net after taking a pass from Ashley Graf with Helm on the bench.
The win was the fifth in a row for the Queens, who moved into second place at 5-2. MacEwan slipped to 4-3. NAIT is at 7-1.
The two RDC losses came against NAIT to open the season.
“We started slow and got our butts kicked, but we’re starting to grow as a team and we’re getting to where we want to be,” said Nordell. “We still have some things to work on, but they’re coming.”
Jen West finished with 14 saves in goal for the Queens, who had 30 shots on Helm.
The lack of activity didn’t bother West, who made a couple solid saves down the stretch.
“It’s tough on a goaltender to maintain their focus when they’re not challenged much,” said Coulter. “But we’ve been talking about that and I told her to be ready for a big push late and she did a good job of pushing the rebounds outside the house.”
The Queens play their next three games on the road, visiting GMU Saturday, NAIT Nov. 12 and GMU again Nov. 19. They return home Nov. 20 against GMU.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca.