Ooks 6 Kings 2
The Red Deer College Kings got away from what worked for them in the first period and the end result was a 6-2 loss to the NAIT Ooks in an Alberta Colleges Hockey League game Friday at the Penhold Regional Multiplex.
“We had a really good first period but then we gave up too many shots in the second,” said RDC coach Trevor Keeper, whose club was outshot 31-12 in the middle frame and 61-34 overall.
“NAIT has lots of speed. They know how to engage their defencemen in the offensive attack and we got caught standing around. We were in good positions, but then when the puck moved and we were supposed to be man on puck, the one man who leaves home plate wasn’t jumping and we just gave them lots of time to make decisions, to make passes through seams.
“We got in trouble in the second period and that was the entire reason why we lost the game.”
Jordan Wood’s power-play goal gave the Ooks a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes and the visitors struck for three more in the second period. Kings forward DJ McGrath potted a man-advantage equalizer at 6:09, but Kyle Harris connected twice for the Ooks and Tyler French potted a power-play goal before the period was out.
“From the first to the second period there was an improvement in our game in terms of our puck management,” said NAIT coach Serge Lajoie. “We were able to exploit certain areas of the ice and capitalize. And our goaltending was good too.”
Ty Swabb made 33 saves for the Ooks, including a sizzling pair on Jared Ramstead. Mike Salmon was equally as sharp in the Kings net and finished with 55 saves.
The Ooks sealed the deal with third-period goals from Jamie Johnson and Liam Darragh (power play).
While the Kings looked out of synch in their first game back since the Christmas break, the Ooks were sharp after playing a pair of exhibition games against the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
“Those games helped us shake the rust off a bit,” said Lajoie. “This was a good start (to the second half of the season) for us. We were looking forward to playing Red Deer because I really like what Trevor Keeper has done with this team.
“You know they’re going to play a good game, an honest game, and make us play the game the right way.”
The Kings coughed up three man-advantage goals Friday and Keeper said the focus during tonight’s rematch at NAIT will revolve around staying out of the penalty box.
“We talked after the game about being disciplined. NAIT has the No. 1 power play in the league and you can’t take penalties against them,” said Keeper. “They have a lot of experience and skilled guys on their power play.
“They’re very opportunistic, so we have to focus on our discipline and playing well in our end tomorrow and we’ll be fine.”
“We have the personnel to be able to move the puck around and got some good power-play looks,” said Lajoie. “In any league your special teams can make a difference.”
With the victory, the Ooks jumped over RDC and into second place. The SAIT Trojans defeated Portage 6-1 Friday to remain in top spot, one point ahead of NAIT and two up on the Kings.
“We’ve always maintained that we know where we want to be at the end of the year and we want to use every game to get better,” said Lajoie.