RDC Kings 5 Generals 4 OT
The RDC men’s hockey team took a positive step forward on the weekend, wrapping up play before the Christmas holiday with a 5-4 win in overtime in Lacombe against the Generals.
Tyler Berkholtz broke the deadlock in the extra frame on a deflection from Riley Simpson. The Kings won both games in OT in the two-game exhibition series against Lacombe, and head coach Trevor Keeper said it was the perfect test to finish off the first half for his group.
“Good, I thought we played really well both times we played them,” he said.
“There was lots of talent obviously, we tried to really use our speed and our conditioning. We tried to get a lot of shots toward their goaltender and quality shots as well. They ended up getting more shots than they did in the game prior.”
The RDC Kings head coach noted that he’s seen a ton of development in the early part of the year from his squad, including the power play where they went three for three and killed off both short-handed chances as well.
“It takes longer for the power play to develop and get in sync. Those are things we work on almost daily in practice,” Keeper said.
“We’ve really worked with our group this year teaching things like defensive zone coverage and positing and the one-on-one’s in the five-man system.
“We’ve been playing better and better every week. We got off to a bit of a slow start this year and didn’t have a lot of games early in our schedule but I think in our last 11 games we won eight of them. The key thing for me is the guys are getting better and better every week and we want to carry that into the new year.”
Defenceman David Health had one of the three PP markers for the Kings. Fourth year pointman Blair Mulder also added a goal for the Kings.
Mike Wirll had two goals for the Generals, Brett Robertson and Teegan Moore each also added one for the home side.
Keeper also added there’s a lot his team learned from two-game mini series, mostly how quickly things can go wrong if you don’t play well positionally against a skilled opponent.
“We have to be really good positionally,” he said. “It’s good reinforcement of our system, they are smart players and they make good plays. Their forecheck, their breakouts, their power play, things like that, if you aren’t really strict with your structure you can get burned. I thought it was good practice for us to reinforce things we’ve been working on against a highly skilled team.”
In net, Keeper was happy that each of his three goalies, Troy Trombley, Devon Fordyce and Mike Salmon all got work in the exhibition series. He said when the puck drops in the second half each goalie has to understand that he is going to ride the hot hand.
The Kings will be back on the ice Jan. 6 and 7 for a home-and-home against NAIT.