Bears enter break on winning note
Less than 24 hours after suffering a heartbreaking shootout loss to the Swift Current Wildcats, the Prince Albert A&W Bears bounced back to edge their southern visitors 2-1 on Saturday in Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League action played at the Art Hauser Centre.
On Friday, the Bears had a 2-0 lead going into the final 20 minutes only to watch Swift Current tie it with a pair of third-period tallies and eventually win in the seventh round of a shootout.
Saturday’s game was eerily similar as Brooke Hobson and Amy Weightman staked the Bears to a 2-0 cushion, but this time they hung on with Swift Current’s lone marker coming from Kayla Kirwin with under five seconds left in regulation time.
“It was a nice three-point win for us,” commented Bears’ head coach Jeff Willoughby in reference to regulation-time victories being worth three points in the standings. “I guess it was a nice little Christmas present.”
“We were in the same position (as Friday) with that two-goal lead and we searched for that third goal for a long time,” added Willoughby. “We defended well and I thought we put the pressure on for the whole game.”
The win improves the Bears’ record to 7-5-3-3 on the season and vaults them into fourth place in the standings. Prince Albert enters the Christmas break just two points back of the second-place Weyburn Gold Wings and a single point in arrears of the third-place Saskatoon Stars.
Willoughby says having a few days away from the rink will help his squad as they get ready for the stretch run.
“Just after the Notre Dame tournament (at the beginning of December) we could see a bit of fatigue settling in,” says Willoughby. “We have to use this break wisely and come back rejuvenated. Hopefully it will push us on to some success in January.”
BEARS NOTES: Hobson’s goal was her team-leading 10th of the season and the 14-year-old defenceman also leads the club in points with 13; Saturday was Hobson’s first game back after sitting out two games for a checking-from-behind infraction she picked up in the final game of the Notre Dame tournament…Jessica Vance stopped 17 of 18 shots and was just five seconds away from her third shutout of the season and the 10th of her four-year career…Prince Albert fired 31 shots at the Swift Current tandem of Brooklyn Weisgerber and Jasey Book…The Bears, who will not participate in the annual Mac’s Invitational tournament in Calgary over the Christmas holidays for the first time in three years, return to action on Jan. 4 when they will host the Battlefords Sharks. Prince Albert plays its next four games on home ice as they will also host Melville in a doubleheader on Jan. 11-12 before once again entertaining the Sharks on Jan. 15.