A quirky schedule has the Prince Albert A&W Bears finally returning to Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League action this weekend when they will host the Swift Current Wildcats in a pair of games.
Prince Albert’s first home game since Oct. 27 will be played on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre with the second match of the twin-bill slated for a 1:30 p.m. start on Sunday at the Kinsmen Arena.
A 10-day league-imposed break to accommodate the national under-18 women’s hockey championship in Dawson Creek, B.C., at the beginning of November, coupled with a lack of ice-time availability in the city, saw the Bears play just two league games this month.
Prince Albert won both of those contests – 4-2 and 7-6 in a shootout over the Saskatoon Stars – to stretch their winning streak to three games and improve their overall record to 8-2-0-1.
While idly sitting by, the Bears have watched the Weyburn Gold Wings win eight straight games to claim sole possession of first place in the league standings. Prince Albert shares second spot with the Regina Rebels, one point back of Weyburn, but Prince Albert does have a couple of games in hand.
To fill in the empty slate, the Bears travelled to Notre Dame last weekend for an exhibition game against the juvenile squad and despite losing 8-1, they were able to shake off some rust and play a game against a much older and higher-calibre team.
Prince Albert and Swift Current have met twice this year with each team winning once. The Wildcats, who are fifth in the league with a 5-7-0 record, surprised the Bears 2-0 in the first meeting, but Prince Albert bounced back with a 3-1 decision the following afternoon.
Kelly Regnier continues to lead the team and the league in scoring as the third-year forward has 11 goals and six assists in 10 games. Kaitlin Willoughby, who was the lone Prince Albert player to make the roster for Team Saskatchewan at the national under-18 event, is second with 11 points. The 17-year-old Willoughby, who has signed a letter of intent to play with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies next year, has played in 79 games over parts of five seasons and has 75 points.
The Bears will play all of their games on home ice in December with the Battlefords Sharks at the Art Hauser Centre on Wednesday and Melville in Prince Albert on Dec. 15-16. The Bears will then have a break from league play, but will head to Calgary on Boxing Day for the annual Mac’s tournament.