Bears win sea­son opener

Girls team outscores Bat­tle­fords 12-4, starts sea­son 2-0

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - EVAN RAD­FORD @EvanRad­ford • sports@pa­her­ald.sk.ca

The girls’ AAA Midget squad opened their 2017-18 sea­son at home this week­end

The Prince Al­bert Northern Bears are a per­fect 2-0 after open­ing their reg­u­lar sea­son over the week­end against the Bat­tle­fords Sharks.

The Midget AAA girls teams started the week­end se­ries Satur­day af­ter­noon from the Art Hauser Cen­tre with a choppy, penalty-filled af­fair that saw the Bears win 6-2.

The teams fol­lowed that game up with a Sun­day af­ter­noon tilt that again saw the Bears dom­i­nate the Sharks and win 6-2.

“Over­all we’re happy with the team’s per­for­mance. (Satur­day) was our first game in three weeks after two ex­hi­bi­tion games against Lloy­d­min­ster, so we’re happy. Ob­vi­ously we have some things we need to work on this time of year,” Bears head coach Jeff Wil­loughby said after the first win.

In that game, the Bears out­shot the Sharks 40-23 and dom­i­nated puck pos­ses­sion. Most of the play oc­curred in the Sharks’ zone, thanks to ef­fec­tive puck cy­cling and pass­ing from the Bears.

“We al­ways try to keep the puck low,” Wil­loughby said. “If they have a good an­swer to that, then you’ve gotta find an­other means of cre­at­ing of­fence,” he said.

Bears’ de­fend­ers like Jor­dan Ashe, Ja­dyn Kush­niruk and Ha­ley Ki­cia found suc­cess in get­ting pucks to their team­mates down low in front and to the side of Sharks’ goalie Chloe Burt.

De­spite the loss, Burt kept her com­po­sure and made some key glove and blocker saves to keep her team in the game.

The Bears fre­quently faked slap shots from the point and passed the puck down low to their for­wards.

Like­wise, the for­wards came up with sev­eral tip shots off of their team­mates’ slap­pers from the point.

“The defence were open a lot. Their for­wards weren’t re­ally pres­sur­ing them as much, so we got as many pucks to the point as we could and lots of ac­tion in front of the net,” for­ward Jasper Des­marais said.

She was cred­ited with two goals in the game.

Her sec­ond was a poignant setup from team­mate Kate Ball.

As if de­cid­ing on a bank shot, Ball skated around the cir­cle on Burt’s right side while spy­ing Des­marais sit­ting in front of the net.

She then deftly shot the puck at her team­mate’s skate and saw it bounce in for the score, mark­ing her team’s sixth goal.

As the game wore on after the first pe­riod, the Sharks man­aged to find some holes in the Bears’ play and score two goals, one at the end of the sec­ond pe­riod and an­other mid­way through the third pe­riod.

But nei­ther score gave the vis­it­ing team enough mo­men­tum to push for a win – the com­bi­na­tion of the Bears’ of­fen­sive at­tack and a flurry of penal­ties from both teams sti­fled much of the game’s flow and pace.

The Sharks com­mit­ted 12 in­frac­tions while the Bears com­mit­ted 14 in the game.

“Want to be more dis­ci­plined. It’s usu­ally kind of like that against this team. We def­i­nitely want to work on our dis­ci­pline and stay­ing out of the box,” Bears cap­tain Han­nah Koroll said.

As for im­prove­ment ar­eas, she said the team’s play in the neu­tral zone was in­con­sis­tent and too dis­or­ga­nized. “We just gotta work on clean­ing that up a lit­tle bit and be­ing more sys­tem­atic,” she said.

Brook­lkyn An­der­son, Rhea Peter­son, Alli Soyko and Kish­niruk also scored for the Bears in the game.

The Bears found equal suc­cess and more dis­ci­pline on Sun­day, beat­ing the Sharks again 6-2 while cut­ting down their penal­ties to eight in­frac­tions. They out­shot the Sharks 45-22.

The Sharks were up 1-0 after the first pe­riod, thanks to a goal from Keara Am­son.

But the Bears took a 3-1 lead in the sec­ond pe­riod on three goals from Jessie Herner, Cam­ryn Amund­son and Ball.

The Bears had third pe­riod goals from Kas­sidy Ki­cia and An­der­son, while Ce­lena Kis­sick scored for the Bat­tle­fords.

The Bears next game is Oct. 14 at the Art Hauser Cen­tre against Swift Cur­rent.

EVAN RAD­FORD/DAILY HER­ALD

Bat­tle­fords Sharks goalie Chloe Burt tries to cor­ral the puck against Jor­dan Ashe and Rhea Peter­son of the Prince Al­bert Northern Bears on Satur­day at the Art Hauser Cen­tre.

EVAN RAD­FORD/DAILY HER­ALD

Prince Al­bert Northern Bears goalie Ryan Fon­taine watches the puck bounce in front of her while a Bat­tle­fords Sharks player tries to bat it into the net on Satur­day.

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