© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
Battlefords Sharks' foward Morgan Fraser scores on a breakaway during second-period action against the Prince Albert A&W Bears on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre. Bears' rookie netminder Shayla Youngman turned aside 13 other shots in helping Prince Albert record a 5-2 triumph and momentarily move into second place in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League standings.
The Prince Albert A&W Bears weren’t sure what to expect coming off an extended break and then facing a struggling opponent in their first outing, but on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre the Bears responded with an inspired 5-2 triumph over the Battlefords Sharks and in the process momentarily moved into second place in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League standings.
“I’m pleased with the effort today and hopefully we can use that as a springboard,” commented Bears’ head coach Jeff Willoughby. “When you come off a long break you never know what kind of team is going to show up, but I thought we had good puck possession.”
If the shot clock is any indication then the Bears’ certainly had control of the puck a lot.
Prince Albert outshot the last-place Sharks 11-4 in the opening frame, but a Kaytlyn Chickowski goal was all they had to show for their efforts.
The Bears then peppered the Battlefords’ netminding tandem of Rachel Mitchell and Jamie Powers with 17 more blasts in the middle session with Ireland South notching a pair and Sierra Glass and Morgan Willoughby collecting singles. Willoughby also registered a pair of assists as did Bears’ rookie forward Kendra Winny.
The Sharks countered with seven shots in the second period as Morgan Fraser and Brooke Dudar got two past Prince Albert rookie netminder Shayla Youngman.
The Bears continued their dominance in the third period outshooting the Sharks 13-4, but the goaltenders at either end kept the shooters at bay. Prince Albert finished the contest with a 41-15 advantage in shots and the Bears’ head coach said he was impressed with that, among other things.
“Our goal every game is to get 30 shots on net,” said Willoughby. “We also won 77 per cent of the face-offs and again that comes down to puck possession.”
Prince Albert, which improved to 8-5-3-3 on the season, jumped past the Saskatoon Stars and Weyburn Gold Wings into second place in the standings, but Weyburn was to play in Melville on Sunday and they could reclaim that position with a victory in regulation time, overtime or a shootout. A Gold Wings loss in regulation or extra time would leave the two teams deadlocked as the season enters its final six weeks.
Prince Albert returns to action next weekend when they will host the Melville Prairie Fire in a doubleheader at the Art Hauser Centre. The Bears and Prairie Fire will meet on Saturday at 7 p.m. and again on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
The Bears will once again host the Sharks on Jan. 15 to conclude a six-game homestand with Prince Albert then playing five of its final six games on the road.