Northern Bears look to bounce back after three straight losses to start the season

The Prince Albert Northern Bears U18 girls are looking to rejuvenate their 2021-22 campaign. With 6-2 and 4-1 losses against Regina, as well as a 4-1 setback to the Battlefords on Thursday night, they sit at the bottom of the standings in the early going.

Jazlyn Petreman scored the lone goal for the Bears, while Brooke Archer turned aside 35 of 39 Sharks shots that came her way. Emma Beckman shut the door for most of the night for the Sharks, stopping 26 of 27 shots for the Battlefords first win of the season. Madison Guitard, MyKayla Pylypow, Alyson Hockley, and Ava Cole scored the goals for Battlefords in the victory.

This weekend, they have a chance to rebound with a game against the Saskatoon Stars on Sunday, who, dating back to the 2019-20 season, they had a 5-0 record against. The Stars have come out strong to start the regular season, winning back to back games over the Weyburn Gold Wings, by 5-2 and 3-0 margins.

Despite success in years past against a strong Saskatoon team, it is a much different looking Northern Bears team than the one from two years ago. The club has seven rookies dressed in their lineup this year, while three players—Sophia Zuck, Erin Kirkland, and Taylor Leicht—are back for their third season. Meanwhile Paige Dawson is entering her fourth year, making her the longest active player on the team.

The leadership group will continue the trend this season as it has in years past, with the longest tenured girls, Dawson, Zuck, Kirkland, and Leicht, serving as captain and assistants.

Zuck and Kirkland will be leaned on this year to produce offensively, as they are the oldest out of the forward group that contains five of their rookies. Meanwhile Dawson and Leicht will be the leaders on the backend of a defensive lineup full of second year players, with the exception of Kelsey Ledoux, who is playing her first season as a member of the Bears.

The Bear’s offense has been silent this year, scoring just four goals in three regular season games. However, two of those games came against one of the best teams in the province for the past few seasons in the Regina Rebels. The Rebels went undefeated (5-0-0-0) against the Bears during the 2019-20 season, en route to finishing first in the league with a 26-2-1-1 record, fifteen points above second place Swift Current. It’s the first full season since that 2019-20 season, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lot of the players are skating with their new teammates for the first time.

The Bears will drop the puck in Saskatoon against the Stars from Merlis Belsher Place on Sunday. Puck drops at 2:00pm.

The Northern Bears will play in Prince Albert for their first home game of the season next Thursday to take on the Battlefords Stars. Puck drop for that game from the Art Hauser Centre is at 7:00pm.

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