Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- For Josh's story -- Red Deer College Queens captain Rachael Hoppins is checked by SAIT Trojans defenceman Erin McLean during Game 1 of the ACAC women's hockey semifinal at the Red Deer Arena on Thursday

Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- For Josh's story -- Red Deer College Queens captain Rachael Hoppins is checked by SAIT Trojans defenceman Erin McLean during Game 1 of the ACAC women's hockey semifinal at the Red Deer Arena on Thursday

Queens open playoffs with win

Big moments are meant for big-time players and there may not be a more important player to the Red Deer College Queens than Rachael Hoppins. The fifth year captain, who was honoured before Thursday’s Game 1 of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women’s hockey semifinal, scored once and added an assist to spark RDC to a 4-2 win over the SAIT Trojans at the Red Deer Arena.

Big moments are meant for big-time players and there may not be a more important player to the Red Deer College Queens than Rachael Hoppins.

The fifth year captain, who was honoured before Thursday’s Game 1 of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women’s hockey semifinal, scored once and added an assist to spark RDC to a 4-2 win over the SAIT Trojans at the Red Deer Arena.

“It’s huge to win that first one, because if you lose, you’re facing elimination in their barn, right off the hop,” said Queens head coach Bob Rutz.

“If we can play that same pace and same intensity that we did in the third, then I like how we match up against them.”

Kaley McMurtry, Micaela Smith and Ashley Graf also scored for RDC while Moriah Andrews made 14 saves for the win.

Aly Pearsall and Cara Daudlin replied for SAIT while Laticia Castillo made 28 saves in the loss.

Hoppins made her impact in the second period.

With the Trojans up 1-0, she chipped home a pass from McMurtry to tie the game at 6:15. Then late in the in the frame with SAIT up 2-1, she set up McMurtry to tie the game once again.

“We were playing tense in the first, so to get that goal to tie it up, I think we were a lot more relaxed heading into the third and we just found that extra level and cranked it up in the third to finish it off,” said Hoppins.

Playing from behind is a skill the Queens have mastered in the second semester this season, having come back a number of times to win games.

“We get down, we’re confident, we know we can score, we know we can come back,” said Rutz. “We’re just believing in each other and believing in the process and it seems to be working for us.”

The captain has played a major role in the club’s reassurance this year, centring the first line, she finished third in the league in scoring and first on the Queens with 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 24 games. The 18 points is a career high, topping the 14 she scored last year.

She finished with 60 points in 108 games, placing her 24th on the ACAC’s all-time scoring list.

But she, along with the rest of her teammates, are not done yet. This was just the first game of the playoffs. Game 2 of the best-of-three semifinal goes Saturday at SAIT Arena in Calgary with Game 3, if needed, set for Sunday at 3:15 p.m. back at the Red Deer Arena.

“We don’t want to come back here, we just want to go down there and get it done,” said Hoppins.

NOTES — The Queens won six of the eight games the two teams played during the regular season … The first place NAIT Ooks await the winner of the series … The Queens were 0-for-1 on the power play, the Trojans were 1-for-3 with the man-advantage … Look for Summer Roberts to get the start in net on Saturday for RDC.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Samantha Sharpe, 25, was stabbed to death at Sunchild First Nation on Dec. 12, 2018. Chelsey Lagrelle was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for manslaughter in a Red Deer courtroom on Tuesday. Photo contributed
Central Alberta woman sentenced to 4 1/2 years for stabbing friend to death in 2018

Chelsey Lagrelle earlier pleaded guilty to stabbing Samantha Sharpe during argument

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Albertans need to keep making safe choices to start bending the curve back down. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, 257 additional cases province-wide

Red Deer sits at 459 active cases of the virus

Olds College logo
Olds College to host free, online agriculture celebration next month

Olds College will host a free live-streamed agriculture event next month. The… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services Logo
AHS upgrading online immunization booking tool

Alberta Health Services’ online booking tool for COVID-19 immunizations will be temporarily… Continue reading

Eric Rajah and Brian Leavitt were awarded with Meritorious Service Medals by the Governor General for co-founding the Lacombe-based charity A Better World. The agency’s goal is to reduce poverty and boost education in Africa and Afghanistan. (Contributed photo)
Co-founders of Lacombe-based charity receive one of Canada’s highest honours

Eric Rajah, Brian Leavitt of A Better World are honoured by the Governor General

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2020, file photo, FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during a virtual news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington. Wray is set to testify for the first time since the deadly Jan. 6 deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)
FBI chief warns violent ‘domestic terrorism’ growing in US

FBI chief warns violent ‘domestic terrorism’ growing in US

In this image from KYMA law enforcement work at the scene of a deadly crash involving a semitruck and an SUV in Holtville, Calif., on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (KYMA via AP)
California crash kills 13 of 25 people crammed into SUV

California crash kills 13 of 25 people crammed into SUV

FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 file photo, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures as he stands behind a grass of the cage in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia. Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was transported to a prison 100km away from Moscow. Navalny was taken to a prison in Pokrov city after Moscow city court rejected appeal against his prison sentence on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
US sanctions Russian officials over nerve-agent attack

US sanctions Russian officials over nerve-agent attack

Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), appears beofre a Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
Budget nominee Tanden withdraws nomination amid opposition

Budget nominee Tanden withdraws nomination amid opposition

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Unanimous committee report calls on Trudeau not to trigger election during pandemic

Unanimous committee report calls on Trudeau not to trigger election during pandemic

Jahmil French arrives on the red carpet at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 11, 2018. Canadian actor Jahmil French of "Degrassi: The Next Generation" fame has died. His agent, Gabrielle Kachman, confirmed the news to The Canadian Press through a statement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Canadian actor Jahmil French of ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’ has died, says agent

Canadian actor Jahmil French of ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’ has died, says agent

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2005 file photo, Bunny Wailer performs at the One Love concert to celebrate Bob Marley's 60th birthday, in Kingston, Jamaica. Wailer, a reggae luminary who was the last surviving member of the legendary group The Wailers, died on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in his native Jamaica, according to his manager. He was 73. (AP Photo/Collin Reid, File)
Bunny Wailer, reggae luminary and last Wailers member, dies

Bunny Wailer, reggae luminary and last Wailers member, dies

Eddie Murphy, left, and Arsenio Hall appear in a scene from "Coming 2 America." (Quantrell D. Colbert/Paramount Pictures via AP)
33 years later, Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall return to Zamunda

33 years later, Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall return to Zamunda

Most Read