RDC Queens head coach Bob Rutz wasn’t a happy man following a 1-0 loss to the SAIT Trojans in Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League play at the Arena Thursday,
In fact he didn’t even talk with his team until he was able to relax and calm down a bit.
“The frustrating part is that we’ve preached to them all season about playing 60 minutes and as a group we haven’t learned that,” said Rutz. “When are we going to learn? Until we decide to play 60 minutes and do all the little things, we as coaches talk about, then we’re going to run into trouble some nights.”
In the first period the Queens looked like a team that has been off for over three weeks as they were consistently beat to the puck by the last-place Trojans.
“The first 13 to 14 minuets we were simply out skated,” said Rutz.
It was a power play goal, and one that netminder Camille Trautman would like back, that provided the game’s only scoring. Bret Howe tallied for the Trojans at 12:28 of the first period after Sarah Botter shovelled the puck out from behind the net into Trautman’s feet, where the veteran netminder seemed to lose it. Howe was able to push it across the line.
The goal seemed to snap the Queens out of their early funk and from then on they dominated the game, but couldn’t solve SAIT netminder Laticia Castillo.
The Queens finished with 34 shots on goal and outshot the Trojans 14-8 in the second period and 14-0 in the third.
“We’ve worked on our shooting and scoring in practice, but we have to transfer that from practice into the games,” said Rutz. “We had chances but were shooting into her crest or glove. We’re not going to score seven goals a game, but the games we lose we’re being shut out. And the frustrating thing is we completely dominated the game for two periods and have nothing to show for it.”
Queens veteran defenceman Casey Nicholson came the closest to breaking the shutout when she hit the post on a screened shot in the second period.
“Damn posts,” she said. “But we peppered her with shots and just couldn’t put one in. We talked in the room about that and that at practice tomorrow we have to make sure that every puck goes in, no matter what.”
Nicholson has been one of the pleasant surprises on offence this season. She has four goals and five assists in 11 games after managing just one assist in each of her first two seasons.
“It was a big jump from midget to this league,” said the Saskatoon native. “It took a while for me to get comfortable and once I got that first goal it was a big monkey off my back.”
Nicholson has one of the best shots in the league from the point, something she continues to work on.
“Rutz has been showing all of us how to shift into the shot and to work on accuracy,” she said. “This year I believe my (offensive) success has a lot to do with my seniority and being comfortable on the ice. As well last year I tore my MCL and I worked hard over the summer to get it stronger and it helped me all around.”
Nicholson is one of five defencemen on the team, which means a lot of switching defensive partners.
“It does mean more skating, but that’s fine. I’m also comfortable with every one of my teammates (on defence). I believe we have the team to win this.”
The loss left the Queens with a 5-6 record and only four points up on the 3-8 Trojans. The teams meet again Saturday at SAIT.
“We can have success there if we play with consistency, keep our feet moving and communicate . . . let everyone know where we’re at,” said Nicholson.
• Trautman finished with 16 saves . . . The Queens return to action at home next Thursday against Grant MacEwan.