RDC Queens goalie Tracie Kikuchi made 19 saves for her fifth shutout of the season on Thursday night at the Centrium in a 1-0 victory over the Grant MacEwan University Griffins. (Photo By BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Kikuchi pitches shutout, Queens win 1-0 over Grant McEwan

The RDC Queens hung on to earn a 1-0 shutout over the top-ranked Grant McEwan University Griffins Thursday night at the Centrium.

RDC handed the Griffins just their second loss of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women’s hockey season.

“Our puck movement was crisper in the first period then it kind of tailed off as the game went on,” RDC Queens head coach Kelly Coulter said.

“With a quick team like that, you have to move the puck quick because they take away time and space. I think it was gritty effort from our team tonight in the first two periods and a gritty effort in the third to hold off a very good hockey team.”

Fifth-year netminder Tracie Kikuchi made 19 saves to pick up the shutout, her league-leading fifth of the year.

Captain Julia Murrell, a fifth-year forward from Edmonton scored the only goal of the game for RDC late in the first period on a shorthanded breakaway. She cut wide and slipped a shot just past the outstretched pad of Griffins netminder Sandy Heim, who was the player of the game for GMU.

The Queens penalty kill was big in the victory, killing off three straight Griffins’ power plays in the first period, including a 5-on-3 late in the frame.

“Last week we gave up two short-handed goals and (tonight) we scored one back. Definitely, our penalty killers are doing a good job with the effort they put out there,” Coulter said.

“They’re very smart and they’re willing to block shots and they work well as a unit. They’ve been great for us and our penalty kill has been very good.”

RDC fired eight shots on Heim in the first, 10 in the second but weren’t really able to push the pace with just three shots in the final frame.

Scrambling late in the game, the Queens had a few opportunities to ice the game into an empty net but ultimately had to grind out the win in their own zone.

“We want to put pressure on the puck all the time. Don’t want to collapse and defend for 20 minutes,” Coulter said.

“When you have a good team that can come at you wave after wave, they’re definitely a team you have to be smart against when you’re defending.”

Fifth-year Queens defender Cassidy Anderson was named player of the game for RDC.

The Queens now sit third in the ACAC just three points behind NAIT and five back of Grand McEwan. RDC will head to Edmonton Saturday night for a rematch with the Griffins.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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