© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
Kaytlyn Chickowski sweeps around the Notre Dame goal during Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League action on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre. Chickowski and her teammates survived a scare to win the opening game 3-2 in double overtime and will be looking to grab a stranglehold on the best-of-five series tonight in Notre Dame.
It went from heartbreak to heartache to heart stopping, but in the end the Prince Albert A&W Bears were resuscitated when Tylor Lindsay scored 6:15 into the second overtime session to salvage a 3-2 triumph over the Notre Dame Hounds in the opening game of the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League playoffs on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre.
“We sure had to grind that one out,” understated Bears’ head coach Jeff Willoughby following the marathon contest.
The Bears were poised to grab the one-game lead in the best-of-five quarter-final series in regulation time until a poor clearing attempt as time was winding down allowed Notre Dame’s Robin Nimegeers to pot her second goal of the game with 1.5 seconds left on the clock.
Then, five minutes into the first extra session it appeared that the Bears had scored the winner as one official signalled a goal sending Prince Albert into a victory celebration. While the Bears were lining up to shake hands the referees conferred in the corner and then waved off the goal.
“When that goal was disallowed it was very deflating,” admitted Willoughby. “But, I thought we came out stronger after both of those events.”
The first overtime ended with the score still tied at 2-2, but Lindsay, who has enjoyed a great deal of success against the Hounds this year scoring three times in the four regular-season meetings and then again earlier in Saturday’s game, took a nice feed from Crystal Berube and sped in on Kylee Styles in the Notre Dame goal. A perfectly placed shot high in the corner emptied the Prince Albert bench for good as this time there was no doubt that the goal would stand.
“If we focus putting the puck on the net during the game then we don’t have to go through these heart attack moments,” laughed Willoughby.
Berube had the other goal for Prince Albert, who battled back from an early 1-0 deficit with an unassisted marker by Lindsay late in the first period. Berube’s power-play marker just 16 seconds into the middle session looked like it was going to stand up as the winner, but that was just a prelude of what was to come.
Jessica Vance turned aside 30 shots in the Prince Albert goal while Styles also faced 32 shots in the Notre Dame net.
The series switches to Wilcox tonight for Game 2 with the third contest scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
In other playoff matches, the regular-season-champion Regina Rebels have moved on to the semifinals after sweeping the Battlefords Sharks in three straight games. The Weyburn Gold Wings and Swift Current Wildcats could do the same with both of those clubs playing late games on Sunday against the Melville Prairie Fire and Saskatoon Stars, respectively.
BEARS NOTES: The Bears were without star defenseman Brooke Hobson, who is sidelined for another three weeks after suffering a broken rib blocking a shot while playing for Team Lakeland at the Saskatchewan Winter Games in Prince Albert last week. Hobson was second in team scoring for the Bears this year and like Lindsay had enjoyed a good deal of success against the Hounds picking up three goals and an assist in four regular-season meetings.