Kings 1 Vikings 0
PENHOLD — With many of their alumni on hand Friday was a night to celebrate for the RDC Kings hockey team.
For the first time since 2003 the Kings took the ice for a home opener in the Alberta Colleges Men’s Hockey League. And to put a cap on the evening the Kings recorded an highly entertaining 1-0 victory over the University of Alberta, Augustana Vikings before over 400 fans at the Penhold Regional Multiplex.
“It was really exciting . . . there was a great turnout and the fans were really into it,” said Kings netminder Kraymer Barnstable, who turned aside 28 shots for the shutout. “Sometimes when it’s 1-0 there’s not a lot of noise, but they helped us out a lot. It was energizing, something we hope continues.”
Barnstable, who played for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League in the 2009-10 season, helped energize the crowd with a number of outstanding saves.
“I didn’t have my best preseason, but then I used it to get the rust off after not seeing any game action with UBC last year,” explained Barnstable, who decided to look at the ACAC after last season in Vancouver.
“Things just didn’t work out, so after the season I sent out some feelers to teams in the ACAC and talked with Keeper (Kings head coach Trevor Keeper). I knew the city and I had some friends here and because of my past here it was an easy decision to make . . . it seemed like a good fit.”
Barnstable will share goaltending duties with Mike Salmon, which is fine with the 23-year-old native of Kelowna.
“Sammy is great and it’s going to be a fun season. We’ll push each other and hopefully share the games and get a lot of wins.”
Friday Barnstable had to share some of the spotlight with his defence, which was playing a bit shorthanded with Kirsten Odendaal out with a knee injury.
The defence did a great job of clearing any rebounds and was especially outstanding late in the third period when they killed off a two-man disadvantage for 1:47.
“That was a great team effort,” said Barnstable. “I only had to make two or three saves. The guys really stepped up and blocked a lot of shot. It didn’t go unseen.”
The coaching staff certainly took notice.
“We ran into some penalty trouble late, although not bad penalties, but the guys battled and battled to kill them off. I was proud of them,” said Keeper, who has worked hard on the defensive side of the game.
“We’ve worked on our defensive zone coverage since Day I. We know we have the speed and the offensive ability to create a lot of shots and when you have players like that you have to get them to buy in . . . buy into the fact that the harder they work on defence and getting the puck out of our zone the quicker they can go on offence. And they did a good job of that.”
Clayton Petrie provided all the offence the Kings needed with a outstanding goal at 4:30 of the second period. The Red Deer native grabbed a loose puck in the mid-zone, cut past a Camrose defender and whipped a backhander in off the far post past netminder Andy Williams.
That was all the Kings could get past Williams, who finished with 30 saves and received the player of the game away along with Barnstable.
Keeper admitted he didn’t really see how many fans were on hand, but liked the atmosphere.
“When I’m coaching I don’t notice the fans, but it was a good atmosphere and the guys showed everybody what college hockey is all about . . . how good we are and how good we can be.”
The Kings face NAIT in a home-and-home series next weekend — Friday at NAIT and Saturday at 7:15 p.m. at Penhold.
The Kings opened the Concordia University College men’s tournament in Edmonton with a pair of wins.
They beat Lethbridge College 25-17, 25-23, 25-14 and Keyano College 25-18, 25-17, 25-17.
Tim Finnigan had 16 kills in the first match while Chris Osborn had 14 kills and five stuff blocks in the six games.
Kings face the University Saskatchewan and Grant MacEwan today.
The RDC Queens have a 3-1 record in the Battle of the Rockies women’s tournament in Cranbrook.
They opened with an 18-25, 19-25 loss to the University of Calgary before beating Lethbridge College 25-19, 25-20, Grant MacEwan 25-14, 25-22 and Medicine Hat 25-14, 25-19.
“We were a bit sloppy the first match, but continued to improve as we went along,” said Queens head coach Talbot Walton. “The veterans played well against MacEwan and the younger players played against Medicine Hat and were solid.”
Queens face the College of the Rockies and Ambrose College to finish round-robin play.