Skip to content

RDP Kings hockey clinch second place, first-round bye in playoffs

Knock off top-ranked Clippers
RDP Kings Kevin Minnoch passes the puck to a teammate down low on Saturday afternoon in ACAC action against the Briercrest College Clippers at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Kings 6 Clippers 1

The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings hockey team clinched second place in a 6-1 win over the Briercrest College Clippers on Saturday.

The Kings bounced back from a 5-3 loss on Friday to the top-ranked Clippers in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) final regular season game for Red Deer.

With the win, the Kings overtook second place from the NAIT Ooks in the standings with 45 points and will receive a bye past the first round and into the ACAC men’s hockey semi-finals.

“It’s big,” said Kings head coach Trevor Keeper.

“We talked about it last year, too, that it’s a big advantage to get a bye into the semis. Everybody that’s won this league in the past 10 years, including us last year, had a bye to the semis… Too many things can go wrong if you play a best of three in three days in the quarter-finals.

“We wanted to finish first and we didn’t. I told the guys before the game congratulations to Briercrest. They finished first, but we have way more to play for.”

Forward Jacob Wozney, who scored his first-ever hat trick in the ACAC on Saturday, said he wanted to make up for getting kicked out of Friday’s game.

However, before Saturday’s afternoon tilt at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Wozney said they felt confident heading into the rematch.

“The emotion in the room before the game was really high, guys were pretty loose, and it almost felt like we weren’t going to lose,” Wozney said.

“We’ve been saying all week that this is like playoffs because that first-round bye is huge for us, especially since we’re down a couple of bodies. We knew we had a job to do and I’m really glad the guys were ready to go.”

Keeper explained Wozney is one of the most skilled players in the league and has one of the best work ethics.

“He buzzes like nobody else, and surprisingly, he’s had lots of two-goal games, but that was his first hat trick in his ACAC career, and he’s played 123 games,” Keeper added.

“It was good to see him get rewarded.”

The Kings were ready to go from the drop of the puck and scored four goals in the opening period. Kings captain Chance Longjohn scored midway through the first followed by back-to-back powerplay goals from Hayden Clayton.

Wozney added his first with just a few seconds left on the clock in the opening frame.

He added one more in the second period and another in the third to seal the deal. Wozney added four points with an assist earlier in the game and Longjohn notched three points with two assists.

“Today, we wanted a good start and then just consistency to keep that going and really just focus on 20 minutes, 20 minutes, 20 minutes and finishing the job,” Keeper said.

The Red Deer Polytechnic Kings finished second in the standings with a 15-9 record and the Clippers placed first at 17-7.

The top six teams in the ACAC will qualify for the postseason with the Kings and Clippers receiving byes to the semi-finals.

Depending on the result of the first-round matchups, the Kings could potentially face the third-place NAIT Ooks, fourth-place Alberta-Augustana Vikings, fifth-place SAIT Trojans, or the sixth-place Concordia University Thunder in the semi-finals.

Longjohn said postgame that the extra rest will help them get ready for whoever they face.

“It’s huge for us. We’re short bodies and we’re pretty beat up. For us to get a bye it’s big because we need that time to rest.”

The Queens’ hockey team also locked up second place on Saturday night with a 3-1 win over the Olds College Broncos.

After finishing the season with a 19-6 record, they’ll play the 17-8 NAIT Ooks in the first round of the ACAC playoffs in a best-of-three series.

A start date has yet to be announced but the Queens will have home-ice advantage in the matchup with a chance to advance to the finals.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
Read more