RDC Queens fifth-year captain Julia Murrell celebrates a goal with just six seconds left in the second period on Saturday night at the Centrium in the ACAC Women’s Hockey Championship best-of-five final. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

WATCH: Linnell scores twice, Queens even series with Griffins

Queens 4 Griffins 0

The RDC Queens executed to perfection Saturday night and tied their best-of-five Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Women’s Hockey Championship Final series at one game apiece.

The Queens scored early and often to earn a 4-0 victory at the Centrium over the Grant MacEwan University Griffins and third-year netminder Tracie Kikuchi stopped 21 shots for the shutout.

“Our execution was much better tonight, I was happy to see we got a power-play goal,” said Queens head coach Kelly Coulter.

“Getting to the net. Sandy (Heim) is a very good goaltender, so we have to get traffic around her. We executed our game plan for 60 full minutes. Game 2 is done, now we have to focus on game 3,”

First-year winger Kaitlan Linnell provided the spark for the Queens with two goals on the night.

Her first opened the scoring when she jammed a loose puck past Griffins goalie Sandy Heim.

The five-foot-seven freshman got her second of the game after she deflected in a Kristen Baumgardt point shot midway through the second period.

Linnell found some chemistry with a pair of Queens veterans up front, ACAC first-team all-conference forward Jade Petrie on the other wing and centered by fifth-year veteran Emily Lougheed.

“Moving her to centre has been such a huge help to our team,” Coulter said of Lougheed.

“She’s such a smart hockey player. You can see she’s got experience playing in this league and she doesn’t panic.

“It’s always nice to put a vet out there who doesn’t panic regardless of the situation. It’s a really nice calming influence. She’s a true competitor, nice to have that veteran molding are new Queens hockey players.”

Lougheed, who picked up a third-period goal and two assists, said the trio just had a good connection in the victory.

“We’ve been clicking really well since we were put together. Me and (Jade) are grinders, we like to make plays. Linnell is a big shooter, it works really well. She got a couple points tonight. She’s been great,” Lougheed said.

After Linnell opened the scoring, captain Julia Murrell scored with just six seconds remaining in the first on the power play to open up a 2-0 advantage.

Murrell, a fifth-year forward was named player of the game for the goal and her defensive efforts on the evening.

Linnell’s second goal came at 9:27 of the second, and Lougheed buried on a 2-on-1 with 7:55 to go in the game.

Kikuchi was named to the ACAC Women’s Hockey first all-conference team on Thursday, along with Petrie. Murrell and defenceman Cassidy Anderson were second team all-conference.

The Queens will travel to Edmonton for Game 3 of the series March 8. Game 4 will be played March 9 at the Centrium.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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