Queens ready for season opener
RDC Queens head coach Rob Weddell isn’t sure what to expect from his squad when they open the Alberta Colleges Women’s Hockey League regular season schedule at home tonight at 7 p.m. against the SAIT Trojans.
“We have more first-year players than last year, so I expect we’ll develop a little slower,” he said. “But I also hope we’ve progressed enough so that we won’t get off to a slow start.”
Weddell realizes a slow start could cost them later in the season.
“We lost to NAIT early last year and it almost cost us a playoff berth,” he said. “The league is so close that you can’t be giving points away. It’s not like a few years ago when everyone made the playoffs, now you need points whenever you can get them.”
Over half the Queens’ roster is first-year players, who have been hot and cold in the preseason.
“We’ve been up and down so far and a lot of that has to do with our age,” said Weddell. “The young girls are flying one week and then don’t have their heads in it the next. But I’ve been generally pleased with what I’ve seen. You have to take some of the inconsistencies at this time of the season.”
Weddell’s biggest concern comes on the defence with only two veterans returning— Kim Day and Caitlin Couronne, who also played some forward last season.
“The defence is a question mark, but we’ve done a lot of work to develop it and Kim has played exceptionally well. She’s really stepped up this year.”
However, the Queens will be missing Day this week.
“She’s in nursing and her program doesn’t start until next week, so she’s out until then,” explained Weddell.
The Queens will be solid in goal with sophomore Kendra Lakeman, who will be backed up by rookie Courtney Rea of Landis, Sask.
Weddell expects the team’s strength to be up front with the return of Megan and Jessica Abt, Chantal Froehler, Nicky Doiron, Brittany Erlandson and Montanna Noyes.
“I know we haven’t shown a lot of scoring in the preseason, but our strength should be being able to put the puck in the net,” said Weddell. “We have some excellent talent among our veterans and the new girls all have offensive ability.”
l Blackfalds native Rylee Scott , who played midget with the Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs, is SAIT’s new captain . . . The teams meet again Saturday at 7 p.m. at SAIT.