Sylvan Lake, AB – There was a lot of excitement at NexSource Centre Friday afternoon as the RDC Kings hosted the MacEwan University Griffins, in a charity game which supported Sylvan Lake Community Partners Association (CPA). Backed by the solid goaltending of Arik Weersink, the Kings shutout the defending ACAC champions 3-0.
It was a good pace to start the first period, but defence and goaltending highlighted the opening 20 minutes. MacEwan University's Marc-Olivier Daigle was a bit busier in net, stopping ten shots. RDC's netminder Arik Weersink made seven saves to keep the Griffins off the scoresheet.
At 17:40 of the second period, RDC's Ryley Smith broke the deadlock. The Open Studies student intercepted a pass and found himself in alone on Daigle, beating the netminder on the stick side for a 1-0 edge.
Then the Kings struck early in the third. Only 1:48 into the final frame, Sylvan Lake's Scott Ferguson capitalized on a rebound, providing the Kings a two goal edge. Lynnden Pastachak and Trevor Costello had the assists.
"I gave it to our D and I went to the net, and hoped that it got to my stick," said Ferguson. "Luckily it bounced the right way and I was able to tap it home."
The Griffins pulled Daigle with over two minutes left but Weersink stood tall. With 1:32 remaining, Lynnden Pastachak scored into the empty net, sealing a 3-0 victory.
Arik Weersink was selected as the Kings Player-of-the-Game. The Business Administration student made 31 saves to earn the victory in net. Mark-Olivier Daigle was named the Griffins top performer and turned aside 29 out of 31 shots.
The game took on special meaning for three RDC student-athletes. Chase and Dylan Thudium, along with Scott Ferguson grew up in Sylvan Lake. "It's probably been almost ten years since I played my last game in Sylvan and it was just how I remembered it," said Ferguson. "Always good fans out here and community support."
With the victory, the Kings (16-7-1-1) have sole possession of third spot with 34 points. MacEwan University (18-6-1-0) is second with 37 points and NAIT (20-6-0-0) leads the pack with 40.
The Red Deer College Kings will face the MacEwan University Griffins on Wednesday, February 27 at 6:00 p.m. in Edmonton and then will finish out the regular season next weekend against the Briercrest College Clippers. On Friday, March 1, the Clippers will host the Kings at 7:00 p.m. and then on Saturday, the two teams will meet at 2:00 p.m. in the Kings' final regular season game.
While the game was free for fans, the proceeds from the 50/50 went to Sylvan Lake CPA. Donations were also accepted for the registered non-profit charity that serves Sylvan Lake and neighbouring communities. The CPA hosts a variety of events, and offers many services and programs, some of which include emergency food hampers, medical equipment loan services and Tools 4 School.