PENHOLD — The Red Deer College Kings men’s hockey team has received a valuable lesson in being careful about what they wish for.
The Kings lost 4-0 to the University of Alberta-Augustana Vikings on Saturday to complete a two game sweep and ending their second season since returning to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
This season just seemed like more of a struggle than their first year back in the league, as they had difficulty maintaining any positive momentum.
“Their goaltender saved 85 of 86 shots in two games, it’s pretty extraordinary. Maybe it wouldn’t happen very often,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper. “But the key was how hard we worked and battled and we wouldn’t question our work ethic and effort.”
Dane Bonish, Tanner Lorchinski, Dylan Coupal and Corey Kosloski all scored for the Vikings while Joel Danyluk stopped all 42 shots fired his way for the shutout.
Kraymer Barnstable stopped 42 of the 46 shots he faced in the RDC net, but could not really be blamed for any of the goals against.
Augusta scored power play goals in the final minute of both of the first two periods and then iced it 1:43 into the final frame as Coupal snapped one past Barnstable on the short side.
The final goal came at 13:32 with the Kings out-manned in front, and Bonish found Kosloski alone in front on the cross-crease pass for the easy tap-in goal.
As has plagued the Kings all season, an ability to score in tough games against tough, physical competition hurt them.
They were able to match up better against a team like the third place MacEwan University Griffins — who they were in line to play until the final day of the regular season — as they could expose their systems play.
Keeper, however, said their preference was to play Augustana in the opening round, but they could not solve the hard forechecking Vikings.
“We could have thrown a game at the end and try to play MacEwan instead of these guys, but we wanted to finish as high as we could, win as many games as we could,” said Keeper. “That last point we got in over time that put us above Keyano, that caused us to play Augustana instead of Grant MacEwan; you can’t mess around with Krama, you can’t play around with what might be, we just wanted to play our best hockey and where the cards fell they fell.”
Still there is much to build off of from this season. Every single player is eligible to return, including Barnstable, who Keeper said would be back for a fifth season, but changes are inevitable.
First step for Keeper is to determine who will be back through exit interviews, finding out who is walking away from the game and those who are looking to transfer. Then he has to fill those holes and try to improve on the roster he had this year.
But the potential is there with a strong group of players that has made the playoffs in each of their first two seasons in the ACAC, which is an accomplishment in and of itself.
“We have a pretty strong foundation back that should create a pretty good team here,” said Kings captain Mike Marianchuk, who added he is unsure of his future.
• The RDC Kings finished up a disappointing ACAC men’s basketball championship at Keyano College in Fort McMurray in fifth place with an 87-79 win over the NAIT Ooks.
RDC out rebounded NAIT 50-32 as Justin Jarvis had 14 boards to go with 17 points while Tyler Wise also added 19 points.
The two-time champs lost their opening game to the hosts 83-79 on Thursday, but rebounded to beat the Concordia Thunder 88-72 on Friday to advance to Saturday.