Bears host Stars on Wednesday
Daily Herald Staff
If the Prince Albert A&W Bears have any thoughts of finishing second in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League standings, then a win on Wednesday against the Saskatoon Stars in their final home game of the regular schedule will certainly put them in an ideal position to do just that.
The Bears enter Wednesday’s game four points up on the third-place Weyburn Gold Wings and with a win in regulation time would increase that advantage to seven points (regulation wins are worth three points, extra-time victories generate two points and a loss in overtime or a shootout nets a single point).
That would mean Prince Albert would need just one regulation or extra-time win over Weyburn this weekend to nail down the second seed and get home-ice advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. Regina Rebels are the runaway leaders and will have home-ice advantage for as long as they are in the post-season.
Anything less than a win in regulation time on Wednesday puts additional pressure on the Bears this weekend as they head to Weyburn for a season-ending doubleheader. The Gold Wings, who have not played in more than three weeks, will have a pair of games in hand after Wednesday’s match is completed at the Art Hauser Centre so they will be watching closely to see where everything shakes out. Weyburn has games in Notre Dame and Melville after this weekend, but they could be meaningless depending on how the Bears finish their season.
While Wednesday’s game is important for the Bears, it is equally as significant for the Stars as they trail the Swift Current Wildcats by three points for fourth place and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. Saskatoon has one more game after tonight’s tilt while Swift Current has completed its schedule and will wait to see what position they finish in when the dust settles at the conclusion of the regular season.
Prince Albert, which has also had 10 days off from game action as the league took a break to accommodate zone camps on the weekend, enters Wednesday’s game on an eight-game winning streak. The Bears have actually been one of the hottest teams in the league of late as they have won 10 of their last 12 with both losses coming in a shootout. They have also won all three meetings against Saskatoon this year, but all of those matches were decided by a single goal.
Individually, there is no one that even comes close to the streak Tylor Lindsay is presently on. The second-year forward has 17 points in her last six games including consecutive hat-tricks in a sweep of the Melville Prairie Fire earlier this month.
Goaltender Jessica Vance has also enjoyed a great stretch as the 16-year-old has established a new league mark for minutes played by a netminder (3848 and counting) and has matched the career total for shutouts at 12. Vance is two starts away from equalling the league standard of 71 set by Prince Albert product Jacey Akre and she is two wins away from catching Weyburn’s Jane Kish, who has 37 entering the weekend series with the Bears.
It should be a playoff-type atmosphere on Wednesday when the puck drops at 7 p.m.