Ooks 7 Queens 0
The talent is not in question, but Red Deer College Queens hockey coach Rob Weddell wonders about his team’s inner drive.
Certainly, the Queens weren’t in a competitive mood Thursday night at the Arena, falling 7-0 to the NAIT Ooks in Alberta Colleges women’s hockey action.
Are the Ooks really that good or did the 0-3 Queens help them look like world-beaters?
“They’re good,” Weddell said of the visitors. “They’re a team that has played more games than us right now.
“They had a preseason full of games, so systems-wise, they’re definitely above us.
“I talked to Deanna (NAIT head coach Iwanicka) before the game and she said they have a lot of returning players.
“We have a lot of first-year players, but that’s not my biggest concern. You can handle it when a team is above you in systems at this point of the year because they’re a more veteran team or they’ve had more preseason experience.
“But it’s a fact with our girls that there’s a big hole under the crest of the jersey right now. There’s not a lot of heart out there.
“There were times where the NAIT girls were laughing at our girls because they pushed and we didn’t push back.”
Weddell said the lack of desire was also evident during the club’s home-opener against SAIT, a 4-0 loss one week previous.
“I’m sure a lot of coaches wish they had the answers as to how you instill that heart into a player,” said the Queens bench boss. “They’ll find it, hopefully sooner than later.”
The Queens held the visitors to a scoreless tie after one period, but NAIT scored twice in the middle frame then fired five goals in the final 20 minutes.
“We counted 41 scoring attempts by NAIT in the second period, which showed how much they were controlling the game,” said Weddell.
Sherri Bowles notched three goals for the winners, who pelted Queens netminders Courtney Rea and Kendra Lakeman with 50 shots while allowing just 18 at Ooks goalie Jill Diachuk.
Nicole Dunlop scored twice for NAIT, while Gabrielle Pelland and Nicole Gregoire also tallied for the visitors.
Rea entered the game with seven minutes remaining and faced just one shot after Lakeman had looked at 49.
“Kendra was playing great, but she wasn’t getting much help in front of her,” said Weddell.
“That was a little message to the team. You should feel terrible when you have a goalie playing that well being pulled.”
The Queens coach wants to remain positive while inspiring his players, however . . .
“You can’t sugar-coat it, we’re in bad spot right now,” said Weddell.
“The girls have to find the will to play and believe in themselves. The girls we have were in the top 50 percentile of their teams (in the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League) in terms of talent, which is similar to other ACAC rosters.”