PENHOLD — The Red Deer College Kings received another lesson in discipline in their Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s hockey season opener.
They gave up two power play goals on six chances to the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings en route to a 3-1 loss at the Penhold Multiplex on Friday night.
Zaine Walker, Adam Johnson and Scott Swiston scored for Augustana while Andy Williams made 27 saves for the win.
Riley Simpson had the lone goal for the Kings, also on the power play, while Kraymer Barnstable was solid in net making 31 saves.
“The team that scores the most power-play goals wins 90 per cent of the games, that’s a fact,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper.
“They got two power-play goals on six chances and we were 1-for-3. Our percentage is the same, but it doesn’t matter when they get more opportunities.”
Red Deer actually opened the scoring at 18:34 of the first period as Simpson chipped a shot up and over the blocker of Williams.
But the Vikings responded 1:13 later on a power play of their own as Walker’s point shot deflected off a RDC defenceman and over the Barnstable’s glove.
After a scoreless middle frame, the Kings appeared to be getting some momentum early in the third period. Augustana head coach Blaine Gusdal called a time out and then the Kings fell apart.
While on a power play of their own, RDC forward Greg Lamoureux took an undisciplined cross-checking penalty, but an unsportsmanlike misconduct minor was tacked on to it when he disputed the call with the ref. Seconds after the Augustana penalty expired, Kings defenceman Tanner Butler was called for another cross-checking penalty when he attempted to clear the front of the RDC net of a rebound, putting the Kings down two men for more than two minutes
The Vikings capitalized 10 seconds later at 9:54 as Johnson caught Barnstable leaning off the post and snapped it short side for the go-ahead goal.
They put it away ay 18:04 after Kings defenceman Blair Mulder mishandled the puck inside his own blue-line and Swiston broke in all alone on Barnstable and beat him with a deke, putting a backhand up over his outstretched glove.
“We’ve always had a good power play, for whatever reason, and a lot of it is just guys being creative and working hard,” said Gusdal. “Tonight we came in and knew it was going to be a tough road game, but what I liked is that we worked hard five-on-five and they would work even harder when we had that opportunity on the power play.”
The short-handed Kings appeared to lack jump for most of the game. They were down three of their top six forwards due to injury — Jeff Archibald, Clay Petrie and Brett Printz — and it showed as they struggled to create much offensively through the first 50 minutes of the game.
“We’re pretty deep and everyone can score … but no one is switching in and out when we have three guys hurt,” said Simpson.
“We couldn’t get the puck through, their D-men front the puck really well, but you’ve just got to get the puck through and hop on those second chances.”
The two teams meet again tonight in Camrose at 7:30 p.m. The Kings have now lost four games in a row, counting their final three exhibition games, and they are hoping to turn it around.
“You never want to lose more than two-in-a-row ever, but it’s been kind of a tough stretch,” said Simpson. “We can’t really dwell on that, we’ve got to think of the next game and do positives and we’ll get a win if we’re doing the right things.”