The RDC Queens celebrate a first period goal against the NAIT Ooks at the Next Source Centre in Sylvan Lake on Thursday night. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

RDC Queens pull off crucial win over NAIT

It took a early third period rally from their captain, but the RDC Queens pulled out a 2-1 victory over the NAIT Ooks in Sylvan Lake.

Queens fifth-year forward Julia Murrell broke a 1-1 deadlock for the Queens when she fired a shot from a tough angle past Ooks goalie Tara Bouvette at 5:21 of the final frame. It was the game winning goal in her final regular season Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women’s hockey home game as a Queen.

“The whole team was working together super hard. We’ve had two weeks off, but we said let’s just keep it simple and keep our feet moving and just get pucks to the net,” Murrell said.

“That’s what Kaely McMurtry did when she fed me the puck perfectly in front of the net. We were doing simple things and doing them right.”

Fifth-year Jade Petrie, who is third in the ACAC with 11 goals opened the scoring late in the first. She was player of the game for her efforts and head coach Kelly Coulter said she’s really grown her game in the three years he’s coached her.

“She’s just a smart player that competes all the time. Her three years here with me, she’s worked on her shot and it’s gotten better and better and that’s one of the reasons she can get timely goals,” Coulter said.

RDC goalie Tracie Kikuchi stood tall for the Queens in the second when they weren’t at their best. She made 29 saves overall, including nine in the second period when the Ooks were buzzing. NAIT scored their only goal of the game early in the second.

“I think we just have to not panic. If you put a puck on the wall and we can reset in the D-zone and stop and find your area rather than chasing the puck. The puck will always win,” Coulter said.

“I think being a young team at times, they want to take it upon themselves to be the champion and get the puck out. Just be a little more structured and disciplined.”

Murrell said the final home game was bittersweet, but full of fond memories from the time spent battling with her teammates.

“There’s so many good memories. I was fortunate enough to come in my first year (at RDC) and we ended up a championship. Probably one of the best memories I have from my whole hockey career, if not the best,” Murrell added.

“Just the legacy and what it means to represent the crown is what we all value and that’s what we strive for. The other fifth-year’s and I, we just had a blast today.”

With the Grant MacEwan University Griffins winning on Thursday, the Queens will finished third in the ACAC standings and the two teams will square off in the first round of the playoffs next weekend.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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