Rode: RDP Queens goalie Disotell-Dunsmore dazzles to start ACAC career

Tanya Disotell-Dunsmore made a decision coming out of high school that paid huge dividends for the RDP Queens hockey team.

The rookie Queens netminder, from Cornwall, Ontario decided she wanted to move away from home and once she was contacted by Queens head coach Kelly Coulter, quickly made up her mind.

“I just wanted to leave home and try something new and I was lucky in that I played for Ontario Hockey Academy and the head coach there had a connection with Kelly,” Disotell-Dunsmore said. “Kelly watched some video and it was nice to get the opportunity.”

Tanya did have an offer from the U.S., but quickly turned it down.

“It was about three hours from home and I wanted to get farther away and finances also make a difference.”

Disotell-Dunsmore arrived in Red Deer last season, which was cancelled because of the pandemic.

“It was a tough year but we skated, just like this year. It was like a reset (to my career), but it was a different experience and I got to know what to expect, got to know some of the girls, and know Kelly and how hard he worked everyone and how he pushes us every day.”

Tanya stepped into this season and looked like she was never away.

She posted a sparkling 0.58 goals-against-average and a .969 save percentage, both tops in the league. She won four of her five starts — three by shutout — with the only loss in a shootout.

“I just went out and worked as hard as I could every practice and I felt I deserved it,” she said.

Queens goalie coach Amy Friestadt was impressed with Disotell-Dunsmore.

“Her competitiveness is the big one,” she said. “She never gives up on pucks, hates to be scored on. She’s very athletic, the most flexible of our goalies. She’s able to cover and then. quickly get back into position, but as I said her competitiveness for sure makes her the best.”

Tanya is listed at five-foot-there, so needs her quickness and ability to play the angles.

“I’m quick and play as fast as I can which really helps,” she said. “I think that also makes me play bigger than I am. I also try to stay on my feet as long as I can. When I do go down I’m fast enough to recover and get over.”

Tanya is one of three goalies on the Queens, playing alongside Madison Fox, who is in her second season, and rookie Izzy Palumbo.

Fox started six games, posting a 0.83 GAA and .965 save percentage with four shutouts. Palumbo started four games with a 1.44 GAA and .954 save percentage.

“Everyone was great, I was glad to have them as partners,” said Disotell-Dunsmore. “They’re super encouraging it’s not like a huge competition.”

Friestadt feels the Queens could use any of the three at any time, making the decision who to start in the ACAC finals Friday at 7 p.m. at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre., a tough one.

“We haven’t completely decided,” she said earlier this week. “They all worked hard and all deserve to play.

“But we’re lucky in that we can put any one of the three in to win.

Queens captain Camryn Wallan is impressed with her netminders as well.

“They’ve all been super … we know whoever is back there will be a super job for us.”

Tanya is working on her Bachelor of Sciences Pre-Opt degree and will be with the Queens for four years.

“The Pre-Opt program is two years but I’ll work on a sciences degree after so I’ll be here for four years then hopefully finish off in university back home.”

Facing the Olds Broncos in the best-of-five final is a big surprise. The Broncos, who finished third, defeated the second-place NAIT Ooks 2-1 in the semifinal, winning both games on the road.

“We saw one game and they did a good job of shutting down NAIT’s offence,” said Friestadt. “They just collapse in front of the net and didn’t let many shots get through.”

“It was definitely a surprise, but we prepared for both teams,” said Wallan. “Olds works hard, have some big girls and protect their house well. We’ve been working hard in getting in on their goalie and getting shots on net.”

Wallan, who is in her final season with the Queens, knows what to expect.

“It will be a battle every night, the playoffs always are,” she said. “Everyone is tired and doing whatever they can to win. For myself, it’s just getting the girls ready and help whatever way I can.

“But it’s certainly a good way to finish my (college) career,” she said.

The sec0nd game of the series goes Sunday in Olds with the third game March 25 at RDP. If the fourth and fifth games are needed they go March 26 in Olds and March 27 at RDP. All games are at 7 p.m.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter and member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame who can be reached at

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