RDC Kings forward Chase Thudium battles for a loose puck with Concordia Thunder defenceman Ben Sowa in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference play on Friday night in Penhold. The Kings topped the Thunder 5-3 to earn the win. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Kings hockey top Thunder in return from break

The RDC Kings returned from a six-week layoff and continued to roll with a dominant 5-3 win over the Concordia Thunder in Alberta College Athletic Conference hockey action.

Despite missing their top scorer Dylan Thudium and defenceman David Heath, RDC managed to pick up the victory on home ice in Penhold.

Although it was a sluggish start and the Kings trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes, RDC found another gear in the second with three power-play goals.

“We didn’t like our first period, but (it was) understandable because we haven’t played since the end of November. We didn’t have any games over that six-week period,” Kings head coach Trevor Keeper said.

“It was a little bit of a slow start to a home game. We addressed that in between the first and the second. Then we came out and we used our speed. That’s part of our identity and being hard on pucks and forecheck. Then getting above so they can’t get out of their end. Becuase we did that we had a lot more opportunities with the puck to make plays.”

Scott Ferguson notched the first to tie the game at one for RDC. He fired a wrist shot from the bottom of the circle that snuck under the left pad of Thunder goalie Tanner McCorriston. The goal came just 71 seconds into the middle frame.

Phill Dillon scored for Concordia midway through the second to restore the lead, but 1:02 later Tyler Berkholtz tapped home a goal after a nice pass from Lynnden Pastachak.

Donovan Lumb gave RDC the lead at 13:05 of the second with a blast of a shot high over McCorriston’s blocker from just inside the faceoff dot.

Tyrell Mappin appeared to put the game away midway through the third when he converted a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal on the power play, but the Thunder battled back with the goalie out.

Dillon added his second of the night with 1:29 to play and the extra attacker on the ice.

The final minute was a mad scramble with the visitors pressing, but a couple key faceoff wins by Jason Miller helped secure the win for RDC.

“We knew that they were going to be stretching two guys. When they pulled the goaltender early, we had to have a quick man-on-puck to take away their options,” Keeper said.

“The other guys, watching the zone and plugging up the middle and trying not to panic and run out of position. Little things like winning faceoffs and winning all your one-on-one’s in that scenario are important.”

Landon Kletke sealed the win with an empty-net goal with only four seconds left.

Mappin finished the game with a goal and two assists and Mike Salmon stopped 16 shots to earn the victory in the RDC net.

The Kings are back on the ice Saturday in Edmonton against the Thunder.

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