If they hope to crowned champions this season, the RDC Queens will have to find another gear in the new year.
Head coach Kelly Coulter was not happy with his team’s preparedness and effort in a tight 3-1 victory over the SAIT Trojans Thursday night in Alberta College Athletic Conference women’s hockey action.
“Disappointed in the effort. I thought we didn’t look like we could execute and definitely didn’t look like we could skate. Thankfully Tracie (Kikuchi) was there to backstop us and we got some goals put in the net,” Coulter said.
“We need to be prepared to play and that has to start at the puck drop and unfortunately tonight I thought it was a poor effort. Happy with the W, but I expect more from our team.”
Coulter added that the sloppy effort was simply not a mark of where his team should be at this point in the season.
“Not skating, not hustling, not battling on pucks. Second effort just wasn’t there. Just kind of a nonchalant attitude tonight and fortunately we were able to put some goals in the net,” he said.
“Going forward, if you’re going to win a championship. You have to be prepared to give it your all for 6o minutes and tonight in my opinion we got lucky.”
RDC opened the scoring midway through the first on a weird play that ended in a Catherine Longchamps power play goal. The play was initially blown dead, but after the officials dug the puck out from inside the SAIT goal, Longchamps was awarded her third of the season.
When SAIT tied the game with 2:09 left in the opening frame, it broke an incredible shutout streak for RDC goalie Tracie Kikuchi. The streak totalled 235 minutes and 47 seconds before it was broken, a span of more than three games for the third year Queens goalie. Kikuchi finished the night with 19 saves.
RDC took back the lead on another power play goal from Emily Lougheed. The fifth-year forward from Spruce View fired a wrist shot past Trojans netminder Emma Greenwood for her second goal of the year.
The Queens appeared to take a 3-1 lead late in the third on a Longchamps point shot, but after a brief discussion the referees determined that the play was offside and the goal was called back.
“I’m not quite sure I understood the explanation. If it was offside, it should have been a delayed offside. It wasn’t quite clear because I thought we had puck possession for quite some time,” Coulter said.
Keinyn Nordell added an empty-net goal for RDC with 40 seconds left in the game.
The Queens are set to head into the Christmas break after their game with SAIT Friday and Coulter said he’s happy with what they’ve accomplished so far, but the team must have higher hopes heading into the second half.
“I think we have a very coachable group, I think we have a very smart group. When we play well and manage the puck, I think in this league on any given night you can win,” Coulter said.
“It comes down to the teams that can consistently execute and play a full, hard game. So far I’m happy with what I see in the development of our young players and we’re seeing some leadership from our older players.”
With a win in their final game before the break, RDC (8-3-2) could move into first in the ACAC standings.