When the NAIT Ooks took over top spot in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League standings last weekend it didn’t sit well with the RDC Queens.
The Queens believe they’re the best team in the conference and they showed it with a strong 6-1 victory over the Ooks before over 200 fans at the Arena Thursday.
“We had a good week of practice and pushed ourselves as we didn’t have the best weekend (a two-game split with Grant MacEwan) and we wanted to come home and play well. We did just that from Camille (goaltender Trautman) on out,” said Queens veteran forward Laura Salomons, who scored three times, her first league hat trick.
“I’m not sure about that last goal, as (Ashley) Graf and I were both whacking at it. But it went in and they gave it to me, so I’ll take it,” she said with a laugh.
“But every line was going tonight. Everyone is starting to jell right before Christmas and it’s good to have that chemistry before we get another long break again.”
The Queens dominated play from the outset Thursday, peppering NAIT netminder Emma Cooley with 42 shots and allowing 22 — 11 of which came in the third period.
The teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes as Janelle Henley opened the scoring for RDC at 9:14 with former Queen Chantal Froehler beating Trautman on a rebound at 10:31.
“That didn’t bother us as we’ve faced a bit of adversity before and we have a good mature group,” said Salomons. “We don’t doubt ourselves as we feel we’re the best team in the league.”
Queens head coach Trevor Keeper wasn’t worried when the Ooks managed to get out of the first period tied.
“We put together three solid periods. Outshooting them was a direct result of our forecheck and pressuring them with the puck. We kept telling the girls that if we kept the pressure on it would break open. To keep our shifts short and maintain our energy and that’s what happened.”
All three of Salomons goals came on short rebounds as she drove to the net.
“She does that all the time,” said Keeper, who had Salomons as an assistant coach last season. “We felt there would be some rebounds available if we kept pressuring their goalie. We noticed that when the puck was out of their zone she would lean over on her pads. We knew if we kept directing the puck on her we’d get our chances.”
Salomons notched the winning goal at 14:01 of the second period with Jessica Anderson making it 3-1 at 17:38 on the nicest goal of the evening.
Anderson tipped in a perfect feed from Henley on a two-on-one for her first league goal.
Salomons connected at 9:25 and at 11:38 of the third period with Jana Kitchen finishing the scoring at 12:33.
The Ooks loss came following a weekend sweep of SAIT that saw them record an 11-4 win in the second game.
“We knew they had some offence, but the biggest thing for us was to pressure the puck and not let them wind up and make plays . . . get in their face and frustrate them,” said Keeper.
“We beat them 9-3 the last time we played them so we knew could score on them,” said Salomons. “We really took it to them in the first two periods and wore them down. We kept peppering their goalie and she tired. As well we knew if we worked hard the goals would come.”
The Queens, 7-1-1-0, visit the Ooks, 6-2-0-0, tonight to finish the 2012 portion of their schedule.
RDC played without veteran rearguard Carlee Ness (back) with Rikki Leonard filling in nicely.