NAIT Ooks’ goaltender Tehnille Gard seemed to have an answer for almost every shot she faced.
Except the two that lifted the Red Deer College Queens over the visiting Ooks Thursday night. It wasn’t until late in the third period when the Queens grabbed the lead and never looked back, winning 2-1.
In the loss Gard stopped 43 shots including several good chances throughout the game.
“This year it’s been our goal to always get 30 or more shots on net and that leads to success,” said Queens head coach Kelly Coulter. “It’s about the quality of shots. In playoff hockey putting pucks on net you never know what’s going to happen. Good things can happen.”
Coulter said the Queens were good from the net out in the win.
It was forward Jessica Anderson’s one-timer at 16:13 in the third that put the Queens in front. She took a cross crease pass and knocked it past Gard. The goal was Anderson’s second of the series.
The Queens got on the board late in the first period when forward Jayna Kitchen made good on a golden opportunity. After deking a defender she had a few good strides to get to Gard in net. She beat the Ooks’ sprawling goalie with a backhander.
That lead held until halfway through the second period when three Ooks broke out for a 3-on-2 rush. Lindsey Roth banged home the rebound off of goalie Jen Wests initial pad save to even the score.
“You have to be ready for any situation and as a group we’ve worked on being ready to execute in any situation,” said Coulter.
“Kudos to the girls because they executed. Jen West played very well in net.
“It’s a war of attrition and we have to continue to do what we do well and that’s skate.”
With 1:48 to go in the third period, Gard was pulled and the Ooks went with the extra attacker. But West made several good saves and the defence held their ground.
The win gives the Queens a 2-1 series lead in the best of five. The next few games happen very quickly for the two as they resume hostilities this afternoon at the NAIT arena. Should the series need a fifth and deciding game it will happen tomorrow at the Red Deer Arena at 2:30 p.m.
With the quick turnaround, the focus on discipline and player habits could make a difference.
“It’s about the girls managing their time,” said Coulter. “Make sure they get a good meal in them and hydrate, get a good rest and get ready to go for the next game.”