RDC Kings forward Dylan Thudium tries to tip a puck past Briercrest College Clippers goalie Dan Dekoning, who made 68 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss Saturday at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

RDC Kings need overtime to sweep away Clippers

Kings first in ACAC at Christmas break

In another 70 plus shot game, the RDC Kings required extra time Saturday to earn two points.

Despite firing 73 shots on Briercrest College Clippers goalie Dan Dekoning, RDC wasn’t ever able to break the game wide open.

Kings captain Tanner Butler finally scored the game-winner 20 seconds into the second overtime to earn a 4-3 victory at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

It was a stark contrast from the 12-2 drubbing the Kings put on the Clippers Friday night in Alberta College Athletic Conference Hockey play.

“It was a tough game, a hard way to get two points in double overtime,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper about Saturday’s win.

“We had another 75 shots on net. So, 159 shots in two games. Their goaltender was outstanding today. He can be and we let him get into a groove in the first period by maybe not being as urgent as we could have been to put them in. Some guys were making an extra deke or tuck it in between the pads, instead of just burying it.”

The Clippers took a 2-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes, even though the Kings outshot them 24-13. Keeper said at that point his group started to grip their sticks a little too tight.

“Goalie like that, he’s used to a lot of shots, he gets on a bit of a roll it makes it difficult on us,” Keeper said.

Still, the home side battled back with three goals less than 10 minutes apart in the second to take a 3-2 lead. Ryley Smith hit Chase Thudium for the first at 6:50, then Dylan Baer tied the game with a one-timer on the power play.

Mike Statchuk then banged in a rebound to help RDC earn the 3-2 advantage. The lead lasted almost to the end of the period before the Clippers tapped a rebound with 18 seconds left in the frame to tie the game at three.

RDC outshot the Clippers 18-6 in the third but couldn’t solve Dekoning.

“When a goaltender is making saves that he shouldn’t, you stop breathing and start to squeeze your stick too tight,” Keeper said.

“Start doubting whether you’re going to score or not, rather than just slowing your brain down and letting your mind work and let your body follow.”

In the second overtime playing three-on-three, Scott Ferguson hit Butler with a great pass and the captain slipped it in for the game-winning goal. Butler, with 19 points in 14 games is tied for the ACAC lead in scoring.

Statchuk, with a goal and an assist, was player of the game for RDC.

The victory also meant the Kings sit first in the ACAC as the Christmas break arrives.

“We want to try and keep getting better all the time. Little things like special teams have gotten better,” Kepper said.

“Some things in the d-zone and shots given up, we can clean up. I know our goaltenders want to be a little sharper. Overall, there are things we have to keep trying to refine and carry those through the last 14 games.”

The Queens hosted the Olds Collge Broncos and fell 4-2 Saturday.

Fiona Milligan opened the scoring for Olds in the opening frame. In the second, the Broncos grabbed a 4-0 lead with three goals in the first 10 minutes of the period. Tori Chenier, Hanna Wadlegger and Rayna Bonchuk had goals.

Mary Hirsch buried a power play goal to get the Queens on the board and Keinyn Nordell also added a goal. Hirsch was named player of the game.

The Queens outshot the Broncos 33-21 in the loss.

Next up for the Queens is the MacEwan University Griffins on Jan. 11.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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