Marjorie Roden/Herald contributor
Friday evening’s Saskatchewan AAA Female Midget hockey matchup between the Prince Albert Northern Bears and the Battleford Sharks proved to be a barnburner as it took double overtime for the hometown Bears to come away with the extra point. The final score was 4-3.
“Battleford had a good start, we kinda didn’t start on time,” said Bears’ head coach Jeff Willoughby.
“They had the set ups and were finding the great setups before we even had one shot on their net. We needed to have a better start, but as the game went on, obviously, fifty-some shots, we got the puck to their net, and we didn’t solve their goalie.”
The game’s scoring opened at 3:53 of the first period as the Sharks’ Sydney Rowley scored seconds after the Bears had killed off a penalty. The Bears answered at 9:35 as Miranda Heidt put in a nifty close-range shot to tie the game up. The Bears got the lead at 19 seconds into the second period from an unassisted breakaway from Abby Soyko.
Thanks hugely in part to the Sharks’ goaltender Haylie Biever, who handled over 50 shots in the game, the Sharks were able to score two fast goals less than a minute apart to start off the third period, first from Kiana McNinch at 3:24, then by Madison Sansom at 4:13. However, Abby Soyko potted her second of the night at 7:01, forcing the game into the double overtime.
“I think we controlled most of the play and I think we need to capitalize on our chances a lot more as we got a lot of shots,” said Abby Soyko, who had a pair of goals for the Bears.
“(Hailie Biever) made the saves that she had to make, and the rebounds were not out enough for us, she did a good job with her rebounds. We need to cause more traffic in front of her, make her move more and really challenge her to make the save,” said Willoughby about the Sharks’ goaltender, who was a huge challenge to solve as she faced 54 shots on the night.
Eventually, partway through the second overtime, the Bears earned the extra point. The victory came off the tape of Brooklyn Anderson’s stick during a goalmouth scramble resulting in the game winning goal at 1:22.
When asked about how the events from Friday night will affect Saturday afternoon’s rematch, Soyko was very positive, stating “We just need to bring our intensity from this game into the next one.”
Faceoff will take place at the Art Hauser Centre at 1 pm Saturday afternoon.