RDC Kings forward Ryley Smith pots the game-winning goal in the third period against the Portage College Voyageurs Friday at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. The Kings won 5-3 and the two teams will square off again Saturday afternoon. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

RDC Kings hockey earn comeback win over Portage College Voyageurs

Kings 5 Voyageurs 3

The RDC Kings needed some third period magic on home ice.

Facing one-goal deficits after the first and second periods, RDC scored three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes to earn a 5-3 win over the Portage College Voyageurs Friday. The win improved the Kings to 16-5-2 on the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference season.

Down 3-2 in the third, Dylan Thudium brought the Kings even at 11:01 when he pounced on a rebound.

Just 2:46 later, Ryley Smith was johnny on the spot, collecting another loose puck before chipping it past Voyageurs goalie Taryn Kotchorek.

Jacob Wozney added an empty-net goal to round out the scoring.

“It’s important we got the two points because we worked hard in the third period especially,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper.

“We were creating offence throughout the whole game. Quite a bit ahead on the shot clock but down after the first and second. The biggest thing was our puck management. We’re in control and we have the puck and we’re advancing it up ice. On our half, we’re turning the puck over too much and it was an issue last weekend as well… it’s just a focus thing.”

Portage opened the scoring 5:52 into the contest, but Chase Thudium brought the Kings even on the power play less than 90 seconds later.

With 1:30 left in the frame, Cole Keenleyside scored his first two goals on the night to regain the lead for the visitors.

Just 3:44 into the second, it was Kings forward Mathieu Lapointe who notched a tally to tie the game.

Keenleyside buried again only 59 seconds after Lapointe.

Keeper said it was the line of Lapointe, Smith and Chance Longjohn that carried the load for his group in the victory.

“It’s a good combination. Longjohn is really good at protecting the puck. He’s hard to get off the puck downlow and Ryley (Smith) is so fast and agile. It’s hard to trap him,” Keeper said.

“Lapointe is really strong on the puck and he shots and outmuscles guys. The combination of those three skill sets seems to be really working. They’ve been one of our best lines, maybe our best line.”

Kotchorek held the Kings at bay for most of the night with 35 saves in the losing cause, while Arik Weersink stopped 16 shots in the win for RDC.

Smith was player of the game for the Kings and Keenleyside won the honour for the Voyageurs.

The Kings will host the Voyageurs Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

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