In the presence of royalty (or at least a hockey team named after royalty), the Portage College Voyageurs put forward a noble effort Friday night – but it wasn't quite enough. The Red Deer College Kings used their prowess on special teams to beat the hometown Voyageurs 8-3 at the Bold Center in Lac La Biche.
The Kings capitalized on both of their powerplay opportunities, killed off a lengthy five-on-three disadvantage and netted two shorthanded goals to boot to take the crown on this night. Ross Heidt, who played some of his minor hockey in Lac La Biche, rose to the occasion, picked up three points and was named player of the game for his squad.
"They're a veteran team that is really well coached," said Voyageurs Head Coach Nate Bedford. "They definitely deserved to win."
After a sluggish start, the Voyageurs hung tough with their more-experienced opponents, potting two goals in the last few minutes of the first to tie the game up before intermission. Portage player of the game Kaleb Bell led the way, skating hard and leading some impressive rushes that resulted in more than a few scoring chances. Red Deer weathered the storm, however, and came out firing in the second period, scoring three goals to take a commanding 5-2 lead into the dressing room.
"Our first half was really good," said Bedford. "We were even halfway through with them but there was no panic on the other side. The Kings played really well and we couldn't keep up with their speed. Our guys realize that."
The game was just part of the learning process in a tough season so far for the young Voyageurs. Bedford maintains that his team is slowly improving and finding out what it takes to win in the very-competitive ACAC.
"We don't like the result," he said. "But we liked part of the journey tonight. It's definitely something we can build on."