Queens 5 Ooks 0
The RDC Queens don’t have a lot of room for error if they expect to make the Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League playoffs.
And Thursday they looked like a team that wants to grab one of the four playoff spots with an inspired 5-0 victory over the NAIT Ooks at the Arena.
The win moved the RDC squad into a tie for third place with the Ooks with 20 points, two points up on the Grant MacEwan Griffins, who have two games in hand. The Ooks also have a game in hand on the Queens who have three remaining, including a return visit to NAIT tonight.
The Queens were full marks for their victory, grabbing control of the game 50 seconds into the first period on Karla Bourke’s first of two on the evening and never looked back.
“That first goal was huge,” said Queens head coach Rob Weddell. “You could feel it on the bench. Everyone felt it was going to be a good night.”
The Queens also played with the energy and grit Weddell has expected of them from the beginning of the season.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said.
“Actually we played a similar style in our two games at Mount Royal last week and it was nice to see us carry that over into this game. We showed that when we play a gritty game and use our skill we’re tough to beat.”
The Queens extended their lead to 3-0 by the end of the opening period on a pair of goals by Ashley Blacquiere and made it 4-0 early in the middle stanza on a breakaway goal by Bourke. Montana Noyes completed the scoring in the third period.
“We had a good bye week a couple weeks back and played well against Mount Royal, although we didn’t get the results we would have liked with only three points in the three games,” said Bourke.
“But we had an awesome practice last night and carried that into the game. Plus Rob laid it on the line that either we start winning or we’ll be done in a couple of weeks. That hit us hard and made us all realize we have to do something tonight and in the last four games.”
The fact that Bourke, who leads the Queens in scoring with 11 goals and five assists in 16 games, is back after missing most of January because of her needing to rewrite an exam, has made a big difference to the RDC offence.
“It was a hard month, especially keeping up my conditioning,” she said. “But all I could do was practice hard as I knew I’d be back. That first game (against Mount Royal) was a bit shaky, but I’m feeling good.”
Weddell also changed his lines around a bit, switching Bourke to a line with centre Blacquiere and rookie left winger Brittany Erlandson, and the trio just seemed to click.
“Ash and I played together some in the preseason last year and we fit well together,” said Bourke.
“We see each other well on the ice. As well Brittany fits in perfectly with us.”
Queens netminder Kaitlyn Chapman had a relatively easy night in recording the shutout, finishing with 15 saves. However, she did make the biggest save of the game with the Queens up 1-0 when she robbed NAIT scoring leader Kendel Jurista with a brilliant glove save from in close.
“She didn’t have a lot of work, but that was a big save at the right time,” said Weddell.
The Queens finished with 35 shots on goal, running NAIT starter Kerrie Horricks after two goals on only three shots. Meghan Witt went the rest of the way and was key in keeping the game as close as it was.
The Queens finish their regular season next week against SAIT, including a Thursday meeting at the Arena.