Northern Bears fall 4-0 to St. Albert Slash, face Quebec team tomorrow
It was the battle of the Alberts at the Esso Cup on Wednesday afternoon, as the Prince Albert Northern Bears were up against the undefeated St. Albert Slash.
Kaylee Vader scored once and added two assists and Camryn Drever made 27 saves as the Pacific champion Slash defeated the Bears 4-0 at the national female midget tournament at the Access Event Centre in Morden, Man.
“We certainly don’t feel like that was a 4-0 game by any means. We outplayed St. Albert as much as we could have,” Bears head coach Jeff Willoughby said.
“We did everything the way we wanted to. Our game plan was in place and just finding a way to get it behind their goalie was the only thing that was missing out of our game.”
The Bears entered the game on the heels of their first win of the tournament, a 6-1 thrashing of Prince Edward Island’s Mid-Isle Wildcats on Tuesday in which they outshot the opposition 63-14.
The Slash, however, were a more formidable foe.
The Bears fell behind early in the first when St. Albert’s Shyla Kirwer took advantage of a misplay in front of the P.A. net at the 1:43 point of the period. The Bears faced penalty trouble in the frame, allowing two five-on-three opportunities. The Slash capitalized on the two-man advantage with Tyra Meropoulis giving her team 2-0 lead.
“Right from the outset there just an unfortunate bounce for us. Even for the first 10 minutes I felt we held the play ourselves and then the penalties came and they were able to get a second goal in there,” Willoughby said.
Kaylee Vader extended St. Albert’s lead in the second period, deking past the P.A. defence to pot her team’s third goal of the game. The Bears had three power plays in the frame but were unable to beat Drever.
“Even when it was 3-0 we had a chance to make it 3-1, 3-2 for them and it just didn’t happen,” Willoughby said.
The Bears had a bit of a scare in the period when Brooklyn Anderson fell to the ice after driving to the St. Albert net. She needed help getting to the bench but she returned a few shifts later.
The Bears continued to press in the final frame, but with just over a minute to go in regulation St. Albert’s Isabelle Lajoie scored on a breakaway for the 4-0 win.
“We had the momentum and I felt we had a lot of offensive zone time in their end and we just couldn’t find the back (of the net),” Willoughby said.
“Their goalie played outstanding and we just had to be tougher in front of their net and maybe make the goalie work a little bit harder on some shots, but overall we’re happy. Even though we didn’t get the result, the effort was absolutely there.”
The Bears return to the rink on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.as they take on the top team in Quebec, the Harfangs du Triolet.