The Red Deer College Queens opened their season with a tough 4-3 shootout loss to the MacEwan University Griffins.
The Queens had to battle back after going down 2-0 in the first period.
Queens Head Coach Kelly Coulter said the first period taught his first-year players about ACAC hockey.
“The speed of the game and the way teams attack you is an eye-opener for them,” he said. “They are understanding they need to handle the puck and move it with a much quicker pace.”
The Queens learned their lesson in a hurry—going on to score three unanswered goals in the second period. First-year players Celine Chalier and Karissa Cullum would score their first ACAC goals, and veteran Julia Murrell would score the third goal on a beauty top shelf goal past Griffins’ netminder Sandy Heim.
“Celine’s goal was going hard to the net and redirecting the puck and that was the same thing with Karissa—getting the puck on net,” Coulter said. “Our young players are willing to learn the little details that will make them good college hockey players.”
The Queens would play the Griffins tough in the third period before dropping a goal with under five minutes to Griffins’ defender Jessica Dyck.
The game was not decided in 4-on-4 overtime or the second 3-on-3 overtime, which led to the shootout—which MacEwan won in the third round.
“When you get tired in the third period —that’s where you start making those mental mistakes,” Coulter said. “Unfortunately a bad line change and turnover resulted in a goal. Skilled teams are going to score and it is a lesson for them going forward.”
Coulter was disappointed for his goaltender Tracie Kikuchi who stopped over 40 shots on the night
“She was a warrior for us in there tonight,” he said. “She gave us an opportunity to win. I am not a big fan of the shootout, because I don’t think one player wins or loses the game. That is unfortunately the way it goes.”
Despite the loss, Coulter was happy with the battle back in the second period.
“They are a very good team and you can’t win a lot of hockey games when you have less than 20 shots on net,” he said. “That is something we want to address—we talked about it through our pre-season.
“A hockey game is 60 minutes. Twenty minutes doesn’t make a hockey game, so you have a lot of time to battle back.”