October 1, 2019
Forty years ago, a wild card team became the first team that was not a conference champion to come out on top at a CCAA National Hockey Championship.
Following a heartbreaking 5-4 defeat at the hands of the Cape Breton College Capers in the gold medal contest of the 1977-78 CCAA Championships, the Red Deer College Kings responded with a record of 21 wins, 2 losses, and one tie during the 1978-79 campaign. For a time, it appeared that the Kings would go undefeated as they completed the half with 12 wins and 1 tie in 13 games.
In one best of three ACAC semi final series, the Red Deer College Kings met the NAIT Ooks. The Ooks overcame a 5-0 deficit en route to a 6-5 victory in the series opener. NAIT's Peter Skrabyk and RDC's Ron Pierce each tallied twice. Peter Skrabyk pocketed a pair and Dwayne Rausch notched the winner at 5:51 of the third as the Ooks edged the Kings 6-4 to complete the upset.
In the other best of three ACAC semi final series, the SAIT Trojans faced the Camrose Lutheran College Vikings. The Trojans received goals from five players en route to a 5-3 victory. Kirk McIvor then completed the hat trick as SAIT ended the series with a 7-5 win.
In the ACAC best of five championship final series, the Trojans did not take the Ooks lightly. Harold Nasserden's four goals proved to be the difference in SAIT's 9-7 win. Scott Kolewaski turned in his second straight two goal performance as SAIT shaded NAIT 6-5. Don Cairns nothced the winner early in the third as the Trojans doubled the Ooks 6-3.
At the 4 West Championships in Kamloops, the SAIT Trojans moved into the final as Don Cairns netted four goals in a 11-2 victory over the host Cariboo College Chiefs. Kim Hilkewich and Fred Vargo each pocketed a pair as the Trojans defeated the Red River College Rebels 8-2 in the gold medal contest. The STI Beavers doubled Cariboo College 4-2 in the bronze medal game.
At the CCAA National Championships in St. Georges, Quebec, the SAIT Trojans were surprisingly joined by the Red Deer College Kings. An application for a wild card bid made earlier in the season proved successful.
The Alberta teams played well in preliminary action. The Kings blanked the Cegep de St. Laurent Patriotes 6-0 with Peter Friestadt making 23 saves. Then, Dave Dietzen tallied twice as the Kings shaded the Cape Breton College Capers 5-4. Rod Gillespie notched the winner at 11:05 of the third after the Kings surrendered a 4-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Trojans edged the St. Clair College Saints 5-4 as Don Cairns netted the winner with 1:29 gone in OT.
In the championship game, the Kings powerplay clicked seven times en route to an 11-4 victory over the SAIT Trojans. Rich Odegard and Bill Wilkins each completed the hat trick for RDC. Ron Pierce pocketed a pair of goals for the Kings while Dave Tietzen, Bruce Small, and Mark Von Hagen added singles to complete the Kings' scoring attack. Criag Hughes replied with two for SAIT. Kirk McIvor and Scott Kolewaski also scored for SAIT. The Kings held period leads of 5-2 and 7-3 en route to capturing their second CCAA championship.