The Prince Albert A&W Bears turned in a much better performance and the result gave them a stranglehold on their best-of-five Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League semifinal series with the Weyburn Gold Wings.
After a poor showing in the series opener on Friday, the Bears pulled even with a 2-1 decision in Weyburn on Sunday and then on Tuesday at the Art Hauser Centre put the Gold Wings on the ropes with a 3-1 victory.
“Their backs are really against the walls, but they have been in this position before,” commented Bears’ head coach Jeff Willoughby. “And, they pulled it off.”
Weyburn was down two games to one against the Swift Current Wildcats in the opening round, but recorded two straight victories to advance to the final four against Prince Albert.
The Gold Wings, who had won their last nine games of the regular season, got off to the good start with the win in Game 1, but ever since then it has been all Bears and with Tuesday’s win, Prince Albert needs just one more victory to advance to their first league final since winning it all in 2009.
“It (Friday in Weyburn) is going to be the biggest game of the season,” admitted Willoughby, the league’s coach of the year for the second straight season.
Tuesday’s game wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but the Bears did what they had to do and that was get plenty of shots at Weyburn netminder Jane Kish, the first-team all-star during the regular season.
Still, the Bears were only up 1-0 after 40 minutes of play despite outshooting the Gold Wings 22-7. Prince Albert then connected twice on the power play early in the third period before Bears’ netminder Jessica Vance had her bid for a seventh shutout of the season spoiled with just under two minutes to play.
“I thought we could have played stronger on the puck, but overall I’m really happy with the effort,” said Willoughby.
Shaylyn Constant opened the scoring for Prince Albert with a nice deflection off a Payton Ostrom shot late in the first period and then Kelly Regnier, with her 10th goal of the postseason, and Aleece Anderson put the game out of reach in the first half of the final frame.
Madison Colbow was the lone Weyburn goal scorer as her shorthanded effort late in the game completed the scoring.
Prince Albert will be looking to book their ticket to the finals on Friday in Weyburn and if that doesn’t work out they will have another chance on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
BEARS BITES - Bears’ rookie forward Tylor Lindsay sat out the game with a concussion suffered in Game 2. In her place, Prince Albert brought up affiliate player Tasha Sorenson…Weyburn’s Caitlin Dempsey picked up a five-minute major penalty for high sticking late in the game, but it is unclear if she will have to sit out Friday’s match…Final shots on goal were 32-21 for Prince Albert.