While the high winds that hit Prince Albert on Wednesday made it treacherous to be outside, it was also a bit scary being inside the Art Hauser Centre as the Prince Albert A&W Bears had to dig deep to double the Battlefords Sharks 6-3 in Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League action.
“Give the Battlefords credit, they played their tails off tonight,” said Bears’ head coach Jeff Willoughby. “They just don’t go away.”
On paper the game shouldn’t even have been close as the Sharks have won just once this year and in three previous meetings with Prince Albert were outscored 16-6.
When Tylor Lindsay scored her first of three on the night just six and half minutes into Wednesday’s game it looked like the rout might be on. That’s not how it panned out, however, as Morgan Fraser drew the Sharks even with a shorthanded effort late in the first period and Jetta Derenoski sandwiched goals by Caitlin Welder and Kendra Winny in the second before Prince Albert finally got untracked.
Lindsay broke a 3-3 deadlock late in the second period and then got a shorthanded marker of her own early in the third to give the Bears some momentum and in the process seal a win that pushed them into second place in the overall standings.
“Don’t ask me how, just ask me how many,” laughed Willoughby. “We’ve got to be better. We control our own destiny and the beautiful part is we do have control.”
“Maybe it was a lack of preparation before they game,” added Willoughby. “They see where they are in the standings, but we have to see it as we are playing the best team every night.”
Prince Albert, which has now won its last five in a row and seven of its last nine games, move one point ahead of the Weyburn Gold Wings in the battle for second place. Both teams have played 22 games and with just six left on the schedule it looks like it is going to come down to a doubleheader in Weyburn at the end of the season to determine who will get the higher seed entering the playoffs.
Lindsay, who also had a pair of assists for a five-point night, moved into the team scoring lead with 19 points while Jessica Lutz, who missed the start of the year, had the other Prince Albert goal to give her 12 points in just 17 games.
Shayla Youngman started the game in the Bears’ net, but was pulled after allowing three goals on 10 shots. Jessica Vance came on in relief and faced just four shots in the final 25 minutes of the game.
Rachel Mitchell had a strong game in the Battlefords’ goal turning aside 38 of 44 blasts.
Prince Albert will now have a 10-day break before they head to Saskatoon on Jan. 26 to face the Stars. The Bears play five of their last six games on the road with their lone remaining home game not until Feb. 12, again against the Stars.