The Red Deer College Kings knew their opponents were of the weaker variety Friday at the Penhold Regional Multiplex, but they were determined not to take the winless Briercrest Clippers lightly.
The Kings scored early and often en route to an 11-1 thumping of the visitors in an Alberta Colleges men’s hockey mismatch.
“We made that kind of a priority at the start of the game, that we couldn’t take them for granted. We wanted to make a statement and I think we did that tonight,” said Kings forward Jeff Archibald, who scored twice and added a pair of assists. “It was a good game. We had a tough weekend last week against SAIT (two losses). We didn’t get the outcome we wanted against SAIT so to get back at it this weekend was important. Obviously Briercrest isn’t too high in the standings but it was still good to get a win.”
Archibald opened the scoring just 1:40 into the contest on a three-way passing play that involved Dustin Lebrun and Riley Simpson. Doug Jones scored on a backhand at 4:57 and Lebrun potted a power-play marker four minutes later for a 3-0 RDC lead before the Clippers potted their lone goal of the night when Micah Abbott beat netminder Mike Salmon from the high slot.
Archibald notched his second of the evening late in the period and the hosts fired four unanswered goals in the middle frame and three more in the third.
Neil Landry, Riley Point, Carter Page, Jared Ramstead, Mike Marianchuk, Doug Jones and Simpson were the other Kings snipers.
Archibald couldn’t remember the last time he recorded four points in a game.
“Probably not any time in junior,” said the former Dauphin Kings (MJHL) centre. “I couldn’t quite get the hat trick tonight but it feels good to get the four points, for sure. It was important to get back into the win column. We’re pushing for first place so we had to get the two points tonight.”
The Kings improved to 9-3-0-0 while directing 68 shots at Briercrest netminder Connor Dobberthien. Salmon faced 34 shots, including 14 in the second period.
“We’re happy with how we played offensively, getting 68 shots and scoring 11 goals, but our main goal tonight was limiting their shots from our home plate,” said Keeper. “We weren’t bad that way in the third period and the first was pretty good as well, but in the second period we gave up too many shots.
“As a coach you want to dwell on what you did well, but you also want to make sure the guys are chasing and trying to be as good as they can. Mike Salmon came up big for us. He stopped 33 shots and made the score look better than maybe it was.”
The Kings welcomed Simpson and defenceman Blair Mulder back Friday, but still out with injuries are top rearguard Shamus Graham and first- and second-line wingers Pat Martens and Djay McGrath.
The Kings and Clippers meet again today at 1:30 p.m. at Penhold.