Eight months after they were to face each other in the quarter-final round of the playoffs, the Prince Albert Northern Bears and the Saskatoon Stars finally got to face each other on Saturday afternoon.
In the opening game of the 2020-21 Saskatchewan Female Under-18 AAA Hockey League season for both sides, it was the Bears that earned their first victory of the campaign as they skated to a 3-1 triumph at the Art Hauser Centre.
“To be able to get back here on home ice was honestly the best feeling that you can have,” Bears forward and team captain Paris Oleksyn said.
“I think we were a little nervous at the start of the game, but after we got those nerves out I thought we were all doing great out there.”
The Bears had to shake off a bit of rust during the first few minutes, as their only contest prior to Saturday was a 5-1 pre-season victory over the host Battleford Sharks on Oct. 18.
An exhibition match with the Stars on Oct. 25 was cancelled, while a home-and-home series between the two sides was snowed out last weekend.
“We were disappointed that those games didn’t happen, but we kept working hard as a group in practice like we have done over the last two-and-a-half months,” Bears forward Kiara Stewart said.
“We really worked together today and I think the connection that we’ve all made over the last month made a huge difference. Our team has become a lot closer lately.”
Stewart led the way for the Bears with a goal and an assist, while Kailey Ledoux had a pair of helpers.
Haley Kicia and Oleksyn also found the back of the net for the hosts, who received a 25-save performance from Janae Neufeld.
Sydney Mercier had the lone marker for the Stars and Prince Albert product Kaitlyn Cadarin turned aside 32 shots for the visitors.
The Bears will return to action tomorrow afternoon in Saskatoon as they’ll face the Stars in a 2 p.m. contest at the SaskTel Centre.
They’ll return home to the Art Hauser Centre next Saturday for a 4:30 p.m. meeting with the Sharks.
Saturday, Nov. 7 Scores
- Swift Current 4 Weyburn 2 (Calli Arnold – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Regina 2 Swift Current 1 (Payton Schlamp – 24 Saves)
- Notre Dame 6 Weyburn 3 (Ryann Perrett (Robert Morris Colonials prospect) – Two Goals)
- Regina vs. Swift Current – 12:30 p.m.
- Notre Dame vs. Weyburn – 1 p.m.
- Prince Albert vs. Saskatoon – 2 p.m.