RDC Queens goalie turned aside 45 shots in a 4-3 shootout loss to the MacEwan University Griffins on Thursday night at the Centrium in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference home opener. (Photo by Byron Hackett/Advocate Staff)

RDC Queens lose in shootout on opening night

Queens goalie Tracie Kikuchi makes 45 saves in the loss

The RDC Queens battled to the bitter end but came up short Thursday night in their Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women’s hockey home opener at the Centrium.

The MacEwan University Griffins eventually outlasted the Queens with a 4-3 shootout win, that included both four-on-four and three-on-three overtime periods. Griffins fourth-year defenceman Dominique Scheurer scored the only shootout goal.

Third-year goalie Queens goalie Tracie Kikuchi was the player of the game in the loss with a stellar 41-save performance.

Without her in net, the Queens might never have had a chance to earn a point.

“She was a warrior for our team tonight. Stood in there and kept us in it. Gave us an opportunity to win,” Queens head coach Kelly Coulter said. “Every night when she plays, she battles and I was very happy with her performance, she’s going to be a tired girl tomorrow.”

RDC fell behind 2-0 in the opening period, both power-play goals from the Griffins Carley Jewell, one of which was a five-on-three. The Griffins also out shot RDC 13-3 in the first.

Faced with that adversity, Coulter said the way his young team was able to bounce back in the second and tie the game at two was a testament to the type of players they have on their roster this season.

“It’s a good eye-opener for the new girls in our league that the speed at which teams attack you and take away time and space was a good eye-opener,” Coulter said.

“You have to manage and move the puck with a much quicker pace. Good learning experience for our girls. (MacEwan) is a very good team. You can’t win a lot of hockey games if you have less than 20 shots on net.”

Queens forward Celine Chalier scored her first career ACAC goal on a nice redirection and rookie Karissa Cullum got the game-tying goal in the second.

“Both new players in our league, scoring in their first game is a great thing,” Coulter said.

“I find with our young players they are very willing to learn the little details that will make them good college hockey players.”

Late in the second RDC took a 3-2 lead on a beautiful backhand goal while short-handed from captain Julia Murrell. They held the lead almost all the way to the end, until McEwan got a tally from Jessica Dyck late in the final frame.

The Queens only managed 16 shots in the game.

Neither team was able to produce in overtime and all three RDC shooters missed in the shootout.

Email sports info and tips to sports reporter Byron Hackett

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