Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
RED DEER – Chantal Ricker scored the only goal the Griffins would need, and goaltender Natalie Bender stopped the only six shots she needed to as the Griffins women's hockey team remained perfect on the season with a 1-0 win over Red Deer College on Friday night.
Ricker's fifth goal of the season came just 4:19 into the contest, but it would stand up as the winner.
"It was a really nice powerplay (goal) on something we've been working on and talking about," said head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "It started up top, moved to the half wall, then a quick one touch down to Shyla Jans, who hit Ricker right on the trigger and she took a quick shot past (Karlee) Fetch."
MacEwan only managed 18 shots on Fetch but limited the Queens to just six on Bender in a defensive battle between two undefeated teams entering the evening.
Only the Griffins are left in that column, moving to 7-0-0-0 on the season, while the Queens are now 4-1-0-0.
"Both teams play a defensive-first style of game," said McAlpine. "Both of us focus on that D-zone system and I think you could see that in a low-shooting game, but I still think we dictated puck possession and pace of play for the majority.
"We could have scored more, but I was actually happy how we played for 60 minutes tonight."
Bender picked up the eighth shutout of her ACAC career.
"Like we alluded to in the game against Olds when they had very few shots and (Brianna) Sank got that shutout, it's tough as a goalie sometimes to stay in it," said McAlpine. "We actually had to kill a penalty in the last minute and 10 seconds, so she hadn't seen a shot for upwards of five or six minutes and then was pelted with two or three on a 6-on-4 opportunity for Red Deer late in the game that we were able to fend off.
"She played very well and made the saves she needed to."
The teams will meet again on Saturday night (6 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, ACAC TV).