Griffins 2 Queens 1 (SO)
The Red Deer College Queens women’s hockey team is in danger of losing their season to what ifs?
In a broken-record of a campaign that refuses to get on track, the Queens (4-5-4) lost another one-goal Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference game on Thursday despite controlling play for the duration. This time it was 2-1 in a shootout to the last-place MacEwan University Griffins (5-7-1) at the Red Deer Arena. The Queens dominated on the ice and the shot clock but could not capitalize on their opportunities.
“With all due respect to Grant MacEwan, they had no business taking two points from us tonight, not a chance,” said RDC head coach Bob Rutz. “But we’ve got to score more than one goal.”
Shayna Shwetz scored the Griffins’ regulation goal and then the clincher in the shootout while Brenna McNulty made 31 saves for the win.
Jayna Kitchen scored Red Deer’s lone goal and Moriah Andrews made 15 saves in the loss. The Queens failed to score on either of their shootout opportunities.
Both regulation goals came within 11 seconds of one another in the second period. MacEwan opened the scoring at 11:42 when Shwetz’s shot ricochetted in off an RDC defencemen’s stick. But the Queens came right back down the ice on off the faceoff and Kitchen picked the corner on McNulty off a rebound at 11:53.
RDC has now outshot their opponents in nine of their 13 games and have only four wins and four overtime and shootout losses to show for it. The reason is quite simple, a league-low 17 goals scored, that’s a crushingly-low 1.3 goals a game.
How they get to that stat, however, is the vexing issue for Rutz.
They have spent the entire season working on generating offence in practice, from capitalizing on chances in close to getting shots through the crowd from the point to banging home shots on the power play. But it has not transferred over into the games.
Thursday night was as frustrated as Rutz has been after a game all season after watching his team outshoot MacEwan 11-2 in the third period and 2-0 in overtime.
“We work on things in practice to help us generate more scoring opportunities and we get them, but we never capitalize on them. Really there’s not much more to say than that,” he said. “Nobody’s quitting, nobody’s pulling the plug, but Jesus …”
The positive for the Queens is they still have their grips on the final playoff spot, holding on to third place, one point ahead of the Griffins. Had RDC managed to sweep the weekend series they could have all but clinched the spot. Now they must win tonight in Edmonton to hold onto their position with five weeks left in the season.
“I don’t think all 20 of us have that urgency to say we’ve got to get over the hump,” said Rutz. “We work hard and I think we’re five or six plays away from being a good team, but for whatever reason we can’t get there yet.”