Tired of playing extra minutes, the RDC Kings kept the pedal to the metal Saturday and rolled to a 6-1 Alberta Colleges men’s hockey win over the Fort McMurray Keyano Huskies before close to 150 fans at the Penhold Regional Multiplex.
The Kings avoided overtime for the first time in four outings by firing three unanswered third-period goals to easily secure the two points inside of regulation time.
“We made that mistake last night — we gave them two goals in just under a minute,” said Kings two-goal scorer Pat Martens, reflecting back on Friday’s 4-3 overtime win in which the Huskies sniped two third-period goals in 27 seconds to erase a 3-1 deficit.
“Today we turned around and played a full 60 minutes. We hadn’t done that the previous three games.”
The Huskies looked disorganized and undisciplined early, taking four penalties in the first six minutes and change. But the Kings quickly repaid the favour and were nailed with the next four minors before the period ended.
Kyle Lapenskie and Martens (power play) scored first-period goals for the Kings, who watched Huskies forward Blair Wilson cut the lead to 2-1 just 1:50 into the second stanza.
The Kings were assessed five of six penalties in the period but were able to restore their two-goal cushion late in the frame when Dustin Lebrun took a stretch pass from Brent Wold, broke in alone and banked a shot off the post and behind Huskies netminder Jeff Puddephatt.
The Kings’ penalty woes continued early in the third period as Clay Petrie was assessed a checking-from-behind minor and game misconduct and Riley Point was fingered for interference. However, RDC’s penalty killers were perfect, going 10-for-10 in total, and the Kings put the game away with third-period goals from D.J. McGrath, Wold (power play) and Martens, who swept around a Huskies defenceman, cut to the net and beat Puddephatt with a wide deke.
In addition to their excellent penalty killing, the Kings were two-for-six on the power play.
“Specialty teams win hockey games and today we won that battle. That was the difference,” said Martens.
“We took too many penalties, although not a lot of them were bad ones. They were a little soft, I thought,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper. “But whatever, that’s how it is.
“Our penalty kill is close to 90 per cent this season and it was better today because we were tighter on their points around the top of their umbrella.
We talked about that and the guys did a good job.”
As for his club’s two-for-six showing with a man advantage . . .
“That’s kind of where we’ve been sitting lately,” said Keeper. “We’re getting a couple of (power play) goals every game.”
The Kings bench boss reminded his team after 40 minutes of the Huskies’ comeback and strong third period the night before.
“We talk about not letting them stay in it today,” said Keeper. “Yesterday Keyano had a really good third period. They got more that half of their shots in the third and we allowed it to go to overtime.
“Overtime is good in terms of building confidence for later in the year, but we especially talked about coming out in the third today and dominating and controlling the puck . . . .just keeping it deep and out of the middle, and the guys did exactly that.”
The Kings fired 42 shots at Puddephatt. Mike Salmon made 29 saves for RDC.
The Kings improved to 8-2-0-0 and moved into a first-place tie with the 7-1-0-2 SAIT Trojans.
“Our goal is to get better every week,” said Keeper. “We’re a rookie team, inexperienced at this level, but the guys are really good at doing what we ask and they’re getting better every week.”
Next up for RDC is a home-and-home set with the Trojans, Friday at Penhold (7:15 p.m.) and Saturday in Calgary.