Once Jessica Abt graduated from the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs major midget girls’ hockey team it was a natural progression for her to join the RDC Queens.
After all her mother, Bev, was a former member of the Queens basketball squad and her sister, Megan, is a member of the hockey Queens.
“It just felt like a good fit, especially with my sister being here and being close to home,” said Abt. “It would have been a bit scary moving away from home and attending a big university right off the bat.”
Not only did Jessica get an opportunity to be on the same roster as her sister, but the two have hooked up on the same line, along with Amber Graham, since the opening of camp.
“I was hoping we’d get a chance to play together, but I didn’t know for sure until I got here,” added the 18-year-old from Bentley. “But it’s nice to have her on the team and it’s worked out well.”
Jessica and Megan played together as youngsters in Bentley, but never got a chance to be together on the midget Chiefs.
“We played atom and peewee together in Bentley then I moved up and played a year of bantam, but that was it until now,” explained Jessica.
Jessica was a solid two-way player in midget while Megan was a bit more of a scorer. The younger Abt feels the same is still true.
“She always liked to carry the puck and was the scorer,” said Jessica. “I was more defence first, although as I got older I started to score more.”
Scoring is something Queens head coach Rob Weddell wants to see more of from her.
“Jessica is very athletic, has good speed and can put the puck in the net, although we need her to start putting the puck in the net , along with her line to take some pressure off the other lines,” he said.
In the fact the Queens have had problems scoring so far this season as they had only 12 goals in eight starts and have posted a 2-4-2 record, a mark they hope to better Thursday when they host the Grant MacEwan University Griffins at 7 p.m. at the Arena.
“Scoring came so easy for us in preseason, but it’s not difficult to figure out what the problem is, we’re just not battling hard enough in front of the net to get the goals,” said Weddell. “But I feel once we start (scoring) it will come in flurries, because right now we’re underachieving.”
“I know our line had a lot of success in the exhibition season as we seemed to have a good connection, but it’s been tougher of late, and that’s more to do with us than the opposition,” she said.
“They really haven’t done anything special against us.”
Jessica did score her first goal of the season last Saturday at SAIT and is starting to feel more comfortable.
“There wasn’t a big difference between midget and college, but the girls are bigger and it’s more physical,” she said. “Plus the goaltending is more consistent. In midget I was one of the bigger girls (at five-foot-seven), but that’s not the case now. I need to play with my head up and move the puck faster.”
Playing with her sister should make it more comfortable.
“At times I seem to know where she is, but really there’s not much difference, whatever happens, happens.”
Jessica is taking kinesiology and will look at transferring to university after she’s finished at RDC.
“That’s my goal anyway,” she said.
The Queens will also visit MacEwan Saturday.
• The RDC curling teams will see their first action of the season, beginning Friday and running through Sunday, at Concordia University College in Edmonton.
• The badminton squad will compete in their second tournament of the season Friday to Sunday at NAIT.
• Cross-country running star, Jodi Sanguin, who placed second in the Canadian championships, was named both the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and the Moxie’s Classic Grill RDC female athlete of the week.
Jon Werkema of the men’s cross-country team, who finished 16th at the national finals in Camrose, received the top RDC male award.