Bears cruise to victory

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Ryan Fontaine and Brooklyn Elek combined for 120 minutes of shutout hockey as the Prince Albert Northern Bears swept their weekend doubleheader with the Notre Dame Hounds.

The Bears received contributions from eight different goals scorers en route to a 6-0 victory on Saturday and a 4-0 win on Sunday.

The wins were enough to push the Bears into second place in the SFMAAAHL standings. They jumped ahead of the Melville Prairie Fire, who lost 4-1 at home to the Regina Rebels on Sunday.

The Bears outshot their opponents by a wide margin, registering more than 40 in each contest, while giving up a mere 14 on Saturday and 15 on Sunday.

Kassidy Kicia and Brooklyn Anderson tallied the game winning goals for the home side, who now sit with a 16-6-4 record with two games left in the regular season. The Hounds dropped to 7-16-3.

The Prince Albert club will hit the ice next weekend for a pair of home games against the winless Weyburn Gold Wings. The first contest takes place at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m.

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca

Mintos hammer Argos, move into fourth place

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The goals came in bunches for the Prince Albert Mintos over the weekend, as the club extended their winning streak to eight games with a pair of big wins at the Art Hauser Centre.

Logan Barlage led the way with five goals and three assists, as the Mintos trounced the Notre Dame Argos 6-1 on Saturday and 10-3 on Sunday.

With the SMAAAHL season winding down, Minto head coach Ken Morrison said he’s happy to see his club heating up at the right time.

“I would say we’re playing the best that we’ve played all season,” Morrison said. “Hopefully we’re not peaking too early, but it’s good to come in with some confidence.”

Kyrell Sopotyk was the second most productive Minto, registering four goals and three assists, while Cale Elder stopped a combined 26 of 30 shots to earn both victories.

Braden Schneider, Wyatt Arndt, Cael Zimmerman, Ty Mosimann and Austin Lamotte also tallied for the Mintos, who improve to 26-15-1 on the season. The wins were enough to inch the Prince Albert club into fourth place in the SMAAAHL standings, just ahead of the inactive Saskatoon Contacts.

Morrison said the challenge is to now make sure his players stick to that successful formula.

“We tell the guys to never be too high when you’re winning and never too low when you lose,” he said. “Just try and be ready to play every game and be ready to work hard for 60 minutes. I think we’ve been playing the right way and guys are starting to figure out what we need to do to be successful.”

For the rest of this story, please see the Feb. 14 online or print edition of the Daily Herald

Raiders end road trip in style

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It took a tense overtime period and an eight-round shootout, but the Prince Albert Raiders are back on the winning track.

Cole Fonstad slipped a shot past Kootenay Ice netminder Payton Lee and Nicholas Sanders denied Dallas Hines to give the Raiders a 4-3 victory, and a happy ending to their Alberta road trip.

“We faced a lot of adversity and found a way,” Raider coach Marc Habscheid said after the game. “I thought it was really good.”

Saturdays contest didn’t start well for the Raiders, who were playing their third game in four nights.

Colton Kroeker opened the scoring for Kootenay a little over three minutes into the game, giving the home side an early 1-0 lead.

The visitors bounced back later in the period, when Simon Stransky tallied his 15th goal of the season, sending the teams into the first intermission deadlocked at one.

Goaltenders Lee and Sanders kept the score even until the third period, when both teams registered a pair of goals.

Kootenay took an early 2-1 lead on a goal by Vince Loschiavo, before Parker Kelly and Curtis Miske replied for the Raiders. The goals came less than two minutes apart, and looked to be enough to seal the win.

However, Kroeker struck again with his second of the evening, knotting the game up at three with just over a minute left to play.

“We weren’t happy giving up that late goal, because we gave them a point, but we got the winner, so it is what it is,” Habscheid said.

After killing off a penalty in overtime, the Raiders found themselves facing defeat in the shootout when Brett Davis beat Sanders on Kootenay’s second attempt.

Down to their last shooter, Cavin Leth responded with a goal for Prince Albert, setting the stage for the late-game marathon.

After nine shooters failed to find the back of the net, rookie Cole Fontstad slid a backhand underneath Lee to reclaim the lead. Sanders did the rest for the Raiders, who improve to 14-38-5 on the season.

“He’s a young guy but he’s talented,” Habscheid said when asked about Fonstad “He’s a goal scorer. It doesn’t matter whether your 16 or 20 if you’re a goal scorer, so we thought we’d throw him in there.”

The Raiders are back in action on Feb. 15, when they return home to the Art Hauser Centre for a date with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca

Rindal rink qualifies for provincial championship

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The second time was twice as nice for Bryan Rindal’s Prince Albert rink.

Rindal, along with Angus Hemsworth, Cliff Selander and Chris Bannerman, secured their place in the Saskatchewan Senior Men’s Provincial Championship with a 5-1 win at the Prince Albert Curling Club on Saturday.

The Rindal rink had a chance to grab one of the five qualification spots earlier in the day, but lost 6-3 to Brad Heidt’s Kerrobert rink in the A event qualifier.

They made the most of their second qualification opportunity, stealing three points in the final two ends for the victory.

Brian Humble’s Saskatoon rink earned the third qualifying spot with a 4-3 victory over Gordon Bell earlier in the day.

The final two qualification spots will be decided on Sunday. Action begins at 10 a.m. at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club.

The five qualifiers will advance to the provincial championship, which begins on Feb. 22 in Swift Current.

Mintos extend winning streak with 6-1 win

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The Prince Albert Mintos rode a red-hot power play to their seventh straight win on Saturday, beating the Notre Dame Argos 6-1 at the Art Hauser Centre.

Kyrell Sopotyk and Logan Barlage led the way, combining for four goals and two assists.

The home team was aided by some undisciplined play from the visiting Argos, who provided Prince Albert with a number of power play chances. The Mintos finished the game 4/12 with the man advantage, and improve their record to 26-15-1 on the season.

Wyatt Arndt and Braden Schneider also scored for the Mintos, who badly outshot the visitors by a 43-10 margin.

Netminder Cale Elder made nine saves for his 14th win of the season.

Edge Lambert had the lone goal for the Argos, who drop to 4-36-1. The two teams are back in action again on Sunday at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drop is 1:30 p.m.

Raiders fall to Hurricanes

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The Prince Albert Raiders continued their three game road trip with a scrappy effort on Friday, but it wasn’t enough to best the red-hot Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Goaltender Ian Scott turned in a solid performance, stopping 30 of the 33 shots he faced, while Curtis Miske and captain Tim Vanstone tallied for the visitors. Although they outshot the flu-ravaged Hurricanes 39-34, the Raiders ultimately fell 4-2 in front of 4,177 fans at the Enmax Centre.

Raider coach Marc Habscheid said his team played a strong game, but couldn’t finish when it counted.

“We pressured them. We played smart. We played disciplined. We played structured. We created a lot of chances, but we didn’t bury our chances and that’s what it came down to.”

After a flurry of icing and offside calls to begin the game, Lethbridge struck first following a Prince Albert neutral zone turnover. Winger Alex Baer beat Scott blocker side with a quick wrist shot to give the home team a 1-0 lead.

The Raiders answered early in the second when Vanstone broke free for a shorthanded marker five minutes into the frame. The Raiders had Lethbridge netminder Stuart Skinner under siege for most of the period, outshooting the Hurricanes 17-8, but were unable to notch the go-ahead goal.

“When you get a chance, you’ve got to bury them,” Habscheid said. “We had point blank chances and we just didn’t score.”

Prince Albert’s best opportunity to pull ahead came early in the third period when defenceman Vojtech Budik was awarded a penalty shot. Budik’s shot clanged off the post, and a few minutes later Lethbridge’s Matt Alfaro fired a quick wrister past Scott to give the Hurricanes the advantage.

Zak Zborosky padded the lead with a power play marker a few minutes later to make it 3-1.

The Raiders fought back to make it a one-goal game when Miske converted a beautiful pass from Simon Stransky for his 10th goal of the year. The tally briefly energized the Raiders, but the Hurricanes put the final nail in the coffin when Baer scored an empty-netter for his second goal of the night.

The loss drops the Raiders to regular season mark to 13-37-5. The Hurricanes improve to 33-15-7. Prince Albert returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Cranbrook to take on the Kootenay Ice. Game time is 8 p.m.

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca

City prepares to repair Little Red

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City administrators are putting the finishing touches on a plan to repair damage to the riverbanks in Prince Albert’s Little Red River Park.

The damaged occurred last year after the city was forced to dam the river during the summer water shortage brought on by the Husky oil spill.

Consultants have identified roughly 450 metres of riverbank in need of repair. The process is expected to take four to six weeks.

“It’s just going to be a process of trying to stabilize the Riverbank within the park, to make sure that the erosion that is visible there doesn’t continue,” said Jeff Da Silva, the city’s Engineering and Service Manager.

Work on the project will begin in mid-July, at the earliest. Parts of the park will be off-limits to guests during the summer as the repairs progress, but Da Silva doesn’t expect a complete shutdown.

For the rest of this story, please see the Feb. 8 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.

Cooper emphasizes healing and communication

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Troy Cooper began his remarks at the Prince Albert Masjid on Saturday with an apology.

The Prince Albert Police Chief was one of several community members invited to speak at the mosque, as community members came out to show solidarity with the city’s Muslim community.

Cooper took time to address a number of safety concerns during the event, but started by expressing sadness at the lack of communication between Muslim and non-Muslim residents.

“I’d like to begin today by offering an apology,” he said. “It shouldn’t have taken a tragedy to bring us together.”

For Cooper and others in attendance, Saturday’s event was a step in the right direction. Overall, Cooper said he’s optimistic that the community will pull together and embrace residents from different ethnic or religious backgrounds, however there are some worrying trends.

“Over the last year and a half or so, we’ve watched the international media and we’ve seen xenophobia and we’ve seen bigotry and racism in the national news,” he told attendees. “We could see the tension that must have placed on our Muslim community, and it should have been at that point that we reached out to you to tell you that you are a part of our community, and we care very deeply about you.”

For the rest of this story, please see the Feb. 8 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.

Clear the road

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Like many Prince Albert citizens, Barry Shefernack has seen his fair share of snow.

While clearing roads and sidewalks can be a nuisance, Shefernack said he’s never noticed any problems with the city’s snow removal service. That changed this year.

As a resident in Prince Albert’s Ward 5, Shefernack said he’s concerned about how long it takes the city to remove snow from Branion Drive and Muzzy Drive, two high traffic roads in the area.

It’s an issue that has him concerned.

“I thought that was not right, when you have two schools (on Branion Drive) and all that traffic,” he said.

Shefernack wants to see the city take another look at its snow removal policy, and he isn’t the only resident in the area worried about the problem. A number of attendees at the Feb. 2 Ward 5 Neighbourhood Meeting expressed concern about everything from how long it takes to plow city roads, to the way the cities prioritize which streets get done first.

School zones in particular are suffering, say residents, who are concerned about traffic pileups in a vulnerable area.

“Everything was cleared on Branion from one end to the other, except the school,” on resident said during the meeting. “As a parent in this area … a school zone should be the first thing that gets done. That’s your priority, because kids start running, they slip, they fall, and you can’t stop.”

For the rest of this story, please see the Feb. 7 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.

“Nothing I’ve ever done has been alone”

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For Sheryl Kimbley, Saturday’s Citizen of the Year banquet was like watching her life flash before her eyes.

Kimbley, a long-time community organizer and fundraiser, was officially named the 2016 Prince Albert Citizen of the Year on Saturday.

It was a humbling moment for her, and one she was eager to share with her friends, family, mentors and co-workers.

“Nothing I’ve ever done has been alone, and I would have been ashamed of myself if I didn’t mention them,” Kimbley said in an interview afterwards. “Truly everything I’ve done has been with their support or their standing beside me.”

Walking into the Prince Albert Inn for Saturday’s ceremony was a little overwhelming at times for Kimbley, who took every opportunity to credit the people around her for her success. Having so many of those people in attendance made it an emotional moment.

“There’s actually a point in time where you’re going through your life and saying, wow, look at all the great people I’ve met and have helped me get to where I am today,” she said.

For the rest of this story, please see the Feb.7 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.