The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens won the ACAC women’s hockey championship this past Friday. (Photo courtesy of RDP Athletics)

The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens won the ACAC women’s hockey championship this past Friday. (Photo courtesy of RDP Athletics)

Red Deer Polytechnic Queens win ACAC women’s hockey championship

RDP Queens rookie forward Dylan Norrie managed to score only one goal in the ACAC women’s hockey championship, but there was none bigger.

Norrie’s goal at 5:48 of the third period stood up as the winner as the Queens edged the Olds Broncos 1-0 before a large crowd at the Gary W Harris Canada Games Centre Friday to sweep the best-of-five final.

Norrie, a native of Olds, stole the puck at the Broncos blueline moved in one-on-one and using the defender as a screen whipped a perfect shot high to goalie Cienna Kinghorn’s stick side.

“Honestly I kind of blacked out and don’t remember how I got the puck,” she said. “I just remember going down the ice and their D-man was in front of me. We mentioned all series to shoot high on their goalie and I used the D-man as a screen and whipped it in high.”

As a first-year player, Norrie shared time during the season, playing in 10 games with a goal – which happened to be a game winner – and one assist.

“I didn’t get a lot of points but that’s OK we spread it around. It’s awesome knowing anyone on the ice can score.”

It may well have been the biggest goal of her career.

“It may be considering what we got out of it.

“It was unreal but I just had a feeling I was going to score and I think it was a pretty nice shot,” she said with a laugh. “It was big for our team and I’m just happy I got it.”

So was head coach Kelly Coulter.

“Dylan had a good game. I’m really happy for her she’s worked hard the last two weeks in practice to make sure to make an impact.”

While Norrie did what was needed offensively goaltender Tanya Disotell-Dunsmore did it on the defensive end. Although she was credited with only 14 saves it was one of those that came in the final 20 seconds that had the stands in an uproar.

The amazing save came following a wild scramble that seemed to have everyone on the ice, except for the officials, in the crease. The puck suddenly popped out to an Olds forward standing alone 10 feet in front with an open net. As it appeared the game would be tied, somehow Disotell-Dunsmore propelled herself up and got a blocker on the shot.

“She’s a small girl (five-foot-three) but with a huge heart and compete,” said Coulter shaking his head in disbelief.

‘Tanya has been fantastic as have the other two goalies (Madison Fox and Izzy Palumbo). We’ve been blessed with outstanding goaltending and with timely saves all year.”

“My goodness that was insane,” added Norrie when asked about the save. “She held us in all year and that save hyped everyone us and the stands went crazy … it was awesome.”

While Disotell-Dunsmore was picking up the gold Kinghorn had nothing to be ashamed of as she finished with 15 saves, several on the outstanding side, including two breakaways, that kept the game close.

But in the end, it was the Queens’ ability on the defensive end that told the story. In the three-game sweep they allowed just one goal – that in a 2-1 win by Disotell-Dunsmore in the opener. Madison Fox was in net for a 4-0 win in Game 2.

“Defence first has been our MO all year,” said Coulter. “We coached that way from the start and it’s how we finished.”

Norrie gives the team’s defence a lot of credit.

“Kelly stressed defence all season and it paid off,” she said. “We joke at times during practice that we can’t score on our defence and goalies.

“But we as a team worked so hard all season. We were on the ice every day and every Sunday had a team workout. We all worked together. We wanted to win this for each other. I’m so pumped to win it for the two girls, Camryn Wallan and Mary Hirsch, who are leaving this year.”

It was the fourth ACAC title for the Queens and first since 2015-16, the first year Coulter took over.

“In 15-16 we had a fantastic group,” said Coulter. “I inherited most of them and had to create a relationship with them while this group I recruited every single one of them.. That makes it so special. It’s a relationship that’s been forged over time. For Camryn (Wallan) it’s been five years and Mary (Hirsch) four.”

One side of the recruiting Coulter has to take extra pride in is on defence where all but Brooke Skrypichayko are in their rookie season.

“And Brooke played all year with a bad knee,” said Coulter. “It just speaks of her commitment and work ethic. She’s such a good leader, talking with the younger players all year.

“The first-year girls were all dedicated. They all wanted to be pushed and wanted to get better.”

The vast majority of the team will be back next season.

“We’ve added only five players. It’s nice to have such a large group returning and be able to continue what we do.”

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