Brent Forster – Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics
After a six year hiatus, the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens are back on top of Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women’s Hockey. A third period goal from first-year forward Dylan Norrie turned out to be the game winner as the RDP Queens earned their fourth ACAC gold medal with a 1-0 win. The Queens swept the Olds College Broncos in the best-of-five final.
“We have been talking all season and we’ve worked so hard for this,” said first-year forward Norrie. “We wanted it to win it for each other. For me, I’m just so pumped that we got to win it for Cam Wallan and Mary Hirsch in their last season.”
Queens goaltender Tanya Disotell-Dunsmore and Broncos netminder Cienna Kinghorn were unbeatable over 45 minutes. The home team finally broke the stalemate at 14:12 of the third period. Norrie, who is from Olds, carried the puck into the Broncos’ zone, got Kinghorn moving to her left, and found space high on the blocker side.
“I remember going down the ice, then I saw that their d-man was right in front of me – we’ve mentioned all series that we had to shoot high on their goalie,” said Norrie, a Bachelor of Education Secondary student. “I used their d-man in front of me and whipped it top corner on her right side. I just had a feeling that I was going to score. We needed it.”
Wallan (21), Norrie (17), Skripichayko (6)
Norrie was named the North Star Sports Queens Player of the Game.
“I thought she had a very good game. We had a practice last week and we said that we had to work on shooting up top on Cienna,” said Kelly Coulter, Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Hockey Head Coach. “It was a great shot by Dylan and a great effort. Happy for her. She’s worked hard the past two weeks to make sure that she’s making an impact in the games.”
Broncos Head Coach Chris Leeming pulled Kinghorn for the extra skater with about two minutes remaining in the contest. Olds College made a strong push at the end. With the Broncos crashing the net and Disotell-Dunsmore seemingly out of the play, the Queens first-year netminder made a huge blocker save to keep the visitors off the scoreboard, sealing a 1-0 victory.
“I think she has been fantastic, as have the other two goalies, Madison [Fox] and Izzy [Palumbo], as well,” added Coulter. “It’s just something that we’ve been blessed with this year, with outstanding goaltending and timely saves.”
Disotell-Dunsmore earned the 14 save shutout. The Queens’ ability to lockdown games became their trademark and a big reason for their success.
“It seems to to be our M.O. all year, and as a coach that’s something I preach anyway, so it seems the way it started and the way it finished for us,” said Coulter.
First-year defender Kiera Mulder (5)
Kinghorn turned aside 15-of-16.
The last time the Queens won ACAC gold was in the 2015/2016 season, Coulter’s first year as the head coach of the RDP Queens. That team was filled with veterans.
“That group that won in 2015/2016 was a group of fantastic players,” he said. “A lot of those players I inherited and had to create a relationship with.”
The 2021/2022 Queens are nearly the polar opposite with 18 first-years and five second-years on the roster.
“This group, I recruited every single one of them. It’s a little bit special that way, that the relationship has been forged with some of them for five years now – with Cam and four years with Mary,” said Coulter. “This first-year group worked really hard and to me, hard work equals success, and that’s what they did all year. It’s a great group.”
Reegan Broadbent received the top player award for the Broncos. The Queens went 0-for-2 on the power play. The Broncos couldn’t score on three opportunities.
The Olds College Broncos earned ACAC silver and the NAIT Ooks picked up bronze.
The RDP Queens will have another strong team next year with only veterans Wallan and Hirsch planning to graduate from the Queens Hockey program.
“The vast majority are back. We’ve only added five players to our squad,” added Coulter. “We should have the majority of them returning which is nice for the first time in my career here. It’s just adding those new girls in and continuing what we do.”
Jailyn Bablitz (8)