Bears advance to league finals

Prince Albert Northern Bears defenceman Hannah Koroll (20) and Notre Dame Hounds forward Jillian Schmit (11) follow the puck during the first period of the teams' round 2 playoff game on March 10, 2018 from P.A. -- Evan Radford/Daily Herald

P.A. club wins semifinal series vs. Notre Dame 3 games to 1

For the second consecutive year, the Prince Albert Northern Bears will play for a provincial Midget AAA female hockey league championship.

The Bears beat the Notre Dame Hounds 3-2 on Saturday afternoon, winning the semifinal series three games to one.

“We’re feeling good. We’re confident and ready to go, or anxious, for the series to begin,” Bears captain Hannah Koroll said of making the league final.

Like last year’s championship series, the Bears will play the Saskatoon Stars. The Stars swept the Regina Rebels three games to none in the league’s other semifinal series.

Playing in Wilcox on Saturday afternoon, the Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, after Koroll, Kailee Peppler and Alli Soyko scored in the opening frame, beating Hounds goalie Kaitlyn Ross. Koroll’s and Peppler’s goals were on the power play.

“Our other three (games) were definitely more even throughout the game. This one we really took control in the first period – we came out really strong. Then (we) kind of trailed off and they dominated the second period,” Koroll said.

The Hounds turned the tables in the second period, out-shooting the Bears 19-5.

Their efforts were rewarded: Hounds defenceman Anna-Liese King beat Bears goalie Ryan Fontaine at 10:30, and then teammate Lyndsey Janes scored a power play goal in the period’s final two minutes.

That made the score 3-2 after 40 minutes of play.

“They just came out stronger than us. They were ready to go and we were caught standing still a little bit. We were kind of up high on our three-goal (first) period.”

The third period was a tight, scoreless draw. Each team mustered only six shots on its opponent’s net, but to no avail. And there were no penalties incurred by either side.

“It was a defensive period for us, for sure … we had to continue the pressure, but we also had to be very aware that it was a one-goal game and play to that, like not give them the chances that we gave them in the second period,” the captain explained. That meant, “putting our own net as the priority.”

The Bears succeeded, winning 3-2 and winning the semifinal series.

Fontaine finished the game with 27 saves on 29 Hounds’ shots, while her counterpart, Ross, stopped 24 of 27 shots from the Bears.

A full schedule has not yet been set for the Bears-Stars league final series.

Watch the Daily Herald for a preview, full schedule and coverage of the Female Midget AAA Hockey League final series.