Brent Forster - RDC
Red Deer, AB – Even though they were pressured late, the RDC Kings remained composed. The visiting SAIT Trojans were within one in the third, but a late empty net goal helped the Red Deer College Kings earn a hard-fought 6-4 win at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
The Trojans opened the scoring at 7:50 of the first period on the power play. Mark Drohan found space behind Kings goaltender Arik Weersink for a 1-0 lead. Before the end of the frame, the Kings took back the edge. Mathieu Lapointe and Tyrell Mappin beat Trojans netminder Kyle Dumba within minutes to pull ahead 2-1.
Mathieu Lapointe (91)
Kings' forward Chance Longjohn was the only goal scorer of the middle frame, which bumped the home team up by a pair (3-1).
Early in the third, SAIT's Eric Krienke brought the visitors within one. Then there was a flurry of action. Kings defenceman Tyler Podgorenko and forward Jacob Wozney struck with the man advantage and then the Trojans scored back-to-back markers to remain within one (5-4).
Kings Head Coach Trevor Keeper identified a growing calmness with the team this season.
"We are getting a lot better this year at not panicking. There were some gaps in our d-zone coverage," he says. "There were some one-on-ones where guys got beat, but no panic, even right to the end when we had to call a timeout with 11-12 seconds left. We had to win a face-off, get it out and not ice the puck, and manage it that way. The guys were good."
SAIT pulled Kyle Dumba for the extra skater and with time winding down Sylvan Lake's Chase Thudium found the open cage from a sharp angle, sealing a 6-4 home win.
Jacob Wozney was named the Collegiate Sports Medicine Kings Player-of-the-Game, finishing with a goal and an assist.
Keeper felt the win included many significant contributions.
"Ross Heidt was really good. He drew a lot of penalties with his speed," he says. "There were several guys in the lineup who played with grit and competed hard tonight and that's one of the reasons we were successful."
Colton Carthy received the award for the Trojans.
Arik Weersink turned aside 25 out of 29 shots. Kyle Dumba also made 25 saves, on 31 shots.
"Goaltenders are looked at for timely saves and there were a couple timely ones from Weersink," says Keeper. "He was good."
Arik Weersink (31)
The Kings' special teams continue to roll and contribute to their success.
"We had 10 power plays. We were two-for-ten. The percentage doesn't really matter to us," says Keeper. "It's how many power play goals do you have in total on the year and to get a couple more tonight, we were happy with that."
The Trojans connected once on seven tries.
On Saturday, the RDC Kings (11-1-1-0) will play the Trojans (6-4-1-2) at 7:00 p.m. in Calgary.
"We have more speed. They are bigger than us," says Keeper. "They are gritty and it's a good battle."
Captain Scott Ferguson (17)