The Red Deer College Kings Hockey team came back from the winter break a little sleepy in the first period of their game against the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder, but would quickly swing the game around in their favour eventually finding a way to win 5-3.
After not having played since late November, the Kings gave up the only goal of the first period to Tyler Benko on the powerplay.
“We didn’t like our first period but it was understandable,” Kings Head Coach Trevor Keeper said. “We addressed it between the first and second and we came out and used our speed. That is part of our identity, being hard on pucks and forechecking. Because we did that, we had a lot more opportunities with the puck to make plays.”
Red Deer would get three goals in the second period from Scott Ferguson, Tyler Berkholtz and Donovan Lumb, while Concordia only managed to notch a goal by Phil Dillon.
The Kings would head into the third period with added confidence and would add another goal from Tyrell Mappin with nine minutes left in the final frame.
Concordia would go down fighting, however, when Dillon scored his second goal of the game to put Edmonton within one.
The Kings would then take a penalty, which put them down two men, including the extra attacker.
Luckily for Red Deer, Jason Miller would win three crucial faceoffs which gave the home team critical possessions and kept the game out of reach. Red Deer would ice the game with an empty-net goal which led to the final score of 5-3.
Keeper was impressed with his team’s composure at the end of the game.
“Prior to the first half of the season, we might have panicked a bit, but now guys just find a way to get the job done,” he said. “Little things like winning faceoffs and winning one on ones in that scenario are important. The guys did that.”
He added he was pleased Miller, a glue guy, was able to win player of the game for his clutch play.
“He hasn’t played for awhile. He came back and he’s using his speed and working hard. It is not always the guys on the score sheet. It is a bunch of little things that add up,” Keeper said.
The Kings now travel to Edmonton Jan. 6th for the second of their home and home series. Keeper said the goal is to ensure they have a better start on Concordia’s home ice, which is an Olympic sized ice surface.
RDC may also be with their top scorer Dylan Thudium, who missed this game as a game time decision. The Kings will also be getting back more of their starters in the coming weeks.
“He (Thudium) is in the top two to three in league scoring and he was a game-time decision, so we have good players ready to step back in. In saying that, the guys who stepped into their positions played really well,” Keeper said.