When RDC Kings head coach Trevor Keeper added three players during the Christmas break he knew exactly how important that would be for the rest of the Alberta Colleges Men’s Hockey League season.
He wanted to keep his roster close to 25 players, just in case things happened like this weekend. The Kings lost four players in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Grant MacEwan University Griffins on Friday.
Despite the fact two of them — defencemen Shamus Graham and Kirsten Odendaal — were back Saturday the Kings were still missing forwards Jeff Archibald (concussion) and Carter Page (suspension) plus several others still out with injuries.
“Archibald is concussed and Page came to Odendaal’s aide after he was hit from behind and got into a fight, so was suspended this game,” explained Keeper. “As well several others are out, so that’s why we have a 25 man roster.”
All three Christmas additions — forwards Brett Printz and Logan Sceviour and defenceman Davis Claffey — were in the lineup Saturday as the Kings dumped the Griffins 6-3 at the Penhold Regional Multiplex.
Printz has a hot hand, scoring twice, giving him four goals and an assist in four games. Sceviour has a goal and one helper.
“Brett received an honourable mention in our team awards as every game he’s contributed,” said Keeper. “He has game sense and uses his size and strength to get to the net. There’s nothing complex about his game, but he’s very effective.”
The Kings used the two goals by Printz and an opening marker by Clayton Petrie, to jump into a 3-0 first period lead. However, the Griffins came back with three goals in the middle stanza — two on the power play — to even the count after 40 minutes.
“We were in control after the first period, but the second we fell victim to their game plan,” said Keeper. ‘They’re a physical team and get in your face and do a lot of little things after the whistle. They get under your skin and our guys lost their composure and took too many penalties.”
The Kings took six penalties in the second period, and lost forward Pat Martens with a checking from behind call.
“We talked after the second period about controlling our emotions,” said Keeper, whose squad got third period markers from Jared Ramstead, Doug Jones and Petrie to put the game away. Ramstead and Jones scored at 8:32 and 8:49.
“We used one of our biggest weapons, our speed up front, to put pressure on their defence and create turnovers which we were able to convert. Once we got ahead we were able to control the middle of the ice, manage the clock and the guys were rewarded.”
The win gave the Kings three points against the Griffins and left them in a tie for second in the league with NAIT at 31 points, three backs of SAIT and three ahead of Augustana. NAIT has two games in hand and SAIT one.
“We can’t worry about other teams, just what we’re doing,” said Keeper. “If we control what we can control hopefully it will work itself out in the standings.”
Mike Salmon picked up the win in goal, making 30 saves while the Kings had 31 shots on Riley Feser.
The Kings face Concordia University College Thunder in Edmonton Friday and Saturday at 7:15 p.m. in Penhold.
The Queens turned in their second straight dominating performance against the Griffins, who came into the series in first place in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League.
The Queens, who beat the Griffins 6-0 at home Thursday, jumped into a 2-0 first period lead and went on to a 3-1 victory.
“We were all over them in the first period, holding a 20-2 edge in shots on goal,” said Queens head coach Bob Rutz.
“We created a lot of scoring opportunities and simply didn’t give them much defensively.”
Rachael Hoppins scored the opening goal at 3:31 of the first period then set up Emily Lougheed’s fifth goal of the season at 7:24. After a scoreless second period, Suze Vanderlinde made it 3-0 at 4:11 of the third period, The Griffins finally beat goaltender Camille Trautman for the first time in two games at 14:27 when Sasha Lutz scored with a two-man advantage.
“Five-on-five we dominated,” said Rutz. “It was a good weekend, but now we need to continue to build on that. We still have work to do to make sure we get into the playoffs and go from there. I think this weekend showed we’re as good as any team in the league when we’re playing like we know we can.”
Trautman finished with 12 saves while her mates had 43 shots on Morgan Glover.
The Queens have this weekend off before facing NAIT and SAIT to finish the regular season.
They’re in third place with 14 points, four behind NAIT and three back of MacEwan and five ahead of SAIT. Only the top three teams make the playoffs.