Bears wrap up day one of pre-season tournament

Andrew Schopp
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Prince Albert A&W Bears player Faith Volk attempts to put the puck on net against the Norman Wild on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre. Herald photo by Andrew Schopp 

The Prince Albert Albert A&W Bears wrapped up the first day of their "Ice Breaker" pre-season tournament on Saturday as the Lloydminster WM Steelers and the Norman Wild rolled into the Art Hauser Centre.

Icing a finalized roster for their upcoming Saskatchewan Female Midget Hockey League season, the Bears lost their opening game to the Steelers 2-1, followed by another narrow defeat at the hands of the Wild to finish the day.

Playing their second game of the day, the Bears suffered a 4-3 shootout defeat despite outshooting their opponent by a wide margin.

While Brooklyn Hopkins scored the Bears lone goal against the Steelers, the team's offence came alive against the Wild as Brooke Hobson, Hannah Koroll and Abby Soyko each found the back of the net.

Although the Bears finished day one of the tournament winless on Saturday, no matter the result, tournaments such as the Ice Breaker are always useful tools heading into the regular campaign, said Bears coach Jeff Willoughby.

"We're very pleased with the girl's effort," Willoughby said following the Bears loss to the Wild. "We've got seven or eight new players and to get them to come together and play as a team like they did today shows lots of promise and a lot of potential."

The Bears entered the tournament with a finalized roster for their upcoming 2014-2015 season, which includes; defense -- Hannah Koroll, Cassidy Carlson, Jordan Ashe, Brooke Hobson, Breanne Neudorf, Morgan Willoughby; forwards -- Jayda Sachs, Brooklyn Hopkins, Jaci Weigers, Faith Volk, Ireland South, Sierra Parenteau, Katie Chickowski, Marlee Clarkson, Madison Casavant, Reigann McAuley, Ty Lindsay, Jessica Lutz; goalies -- Jessica Vance and Shayla Youngman.

Joining the Bears as extras for the tournament are Ryan Fontaine, Brooke Hausermann, Abby Soyko and Dana Wood.

Willoughby, who is entering his fourth season as Bears bench boss, said this weekend's tournament provides a good opportunity to experiment with different offensive line combos and defensive pairings.

"It's a good experience to see certain players together and see how they react," he said. "We noticed a big difference between the first and second games just mixing our forwads up, so it was useful tool."

The Ice Breaker tournament will continue on Sunday as the Bears take on the Wild at 12 p.m. followed by their final tilt against the Steelers at 3 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.

Following the tournament, the Bears next pre-season game will be a home-at-home series against the Saskatoon Stars on Sept. 13 and Sept. 14. 

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