It was a weekend of milestones for the Prince Albert A&W Bears.
A pair of victories over the Melville Prairie Fire – 4-0 on Saturday and 4-2 on Sunday - gives the Bears a franchise record of 41 points and with three games remaining on the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League regular schedule, they can add to that total.
And, while the team surpassed its previous best of 40 points set in 2009-10, Kelly Regnier had a goal and assist in each game to give the third-year forward 100 points for her career. Regnier, who recently signed a letter of intent to play with the University of Regina Cougars next year, now has 22 goals and 19 assists this year to sit in third place in league scoring.
Goaltender Jessica Vance also added to her team-leading totals when she recorded her fifth shutout of the season on Saturday. The shutout, Vance’s second in as many games, is her seventh of her three-year career and 23rd victory with the Bears, a new team standard.
The two victories, which avenge a pair of setbacks to Melville in Prince Albert back in December, give the Bears a 19-3-0-3 record for the season and guaranteed the club at least a second-place finish and home-ice advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The victories also extended Prince Albert’s winning streak to nine games with their last loss being a 5-2 setback to the Saskatoon Stars in the semifinal of the Mac’s Invitational tournament in Calgary over the Christmas holidays. The last regular-season loss for the Bears is a shootout loss to Melville on Dec. 16 at the Art Hauser Centre.
Prince Albert is six points back of the league-leading Regina Rebels, but it is unlikely the Bears will catch the front-runners even though those two teams meet on the final weekend of the season for a doubleheader in Regina. The Rebels, who are undefeated this year and won their 17th straight game on Sunday with a 2-1 victory in Swift Current, also have a game in hand on Prince Albert.
The Bears will either meet Swift Current or Notre Dame in the opening round of the playoffs. Swift Current has just two games left with the last-place Battlefords Sharks and they will need to win at least one of those to overtake the Hounds, who still have doubleheaders against Regina, Weyburn and Melville.
Kaitlin Willoughby and Crystal Berube also scored once in each game against Melville on the weekend with Tylor Lindsay completing the scoring on Saturday and Amy Weightman netting one on Sunday. Willoughby also collected one assist in each contest to give her 95 points for her career, including 61 assists – the sixth best total in league history.
Sarah Olson stopped 27 shots to pick up the win on Sunday after Vance had turned aside 19 for the shutout one day earlier.
Prince Albert will now have a week off as they prepare for their final home game on Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre against the Saskatoon Stars. The trip to Regina for the final weekend of the season will be on Feb. 16-17.