The RDC Kings had the game going almost exactly as planned against the MacEwan University Griffins, until the dying minutes.
With just over two minutes to play in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference play and the game tied at two, a seemingly harmless pass off the rush made the difference.
MacEwan’s Jordan Taupert hit Zach Webb who was driving the net hard and he deflected the pass in past Nathan Alalouf with just 1:54 to play.
The Griffins added an empty-net goal to close out the 4-2 victory at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in a game that the home side almost doubled them on the shot clock and dominated possession.
“We accomplished most of the goals we set out to do. We had the majority of the time with the puck. Lots of good offensive zone chances, lots of traffic in front of (Marc-Olivier) Daigle and we outshot them 38-17. Penalty kill was 4-for-4, power play was 1-for-5,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper.
“Tons of good opportunities. The only thing we were at fault of, a couple of times coming back into our zone, not having sticks picked up, not being right tight on them when we’re backchecking. They had an empty-net goal and a tip going back to the net. I thought our guys played well.”
The night got off to a tough start for the home side, as starting netminder Arik Weersink was injured in warm-up and Alalouf had to make the start in his place.
In the first, Cam Gotaas opened the scoring for MacEwan with the only goal opening 20 minutes.
Early in the second, Kings captain Scott Ferguson scored on the power play to tie the game, before burying again with 5:04 left in the frame. The Griffins notched the equalizer with only 24 seconds left in the period.
Despite the loss, Ferguson led the charge for the Kings in the loss and was player of the game for his efforts.
“He just brings his work ethic and competes hard. He goes to the front of the net and scores most of his goals from within five our 10 feet. He was leading by example that way. I thought everyone did a good job that way,” Keeper said.
Alalouf finished the game with 13 saves, while Daigle made 30 for the Griffins in the victory.
With the loss, the Kings dropped to 12-2-1 on the season and remain in second in the ACAC. They will travel to Edmonton Saturday to take on the Griffins.