Bairos and company too much for Bears to handle as Stars take down Prince Albert 6-2 in game 2

The Prince Albert Northern Bears celebrate Erin Kirkland's third period goal in game 2 against the Saskatoon Stars on Sunday night at the Art Hauser Centre. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

After dropping game one of their first round playoff series 7-3 to the Saskatoon Stars on Saturday, the Prince Albert Northern Bears dug themselves a deeper hole, as they fell 6-2 to the Stars on Sunday night at the Art Hauser Centre. Saskatoon took a commanding 2-0 series lead in the best of five, meaning Prince Albert will have to win their next three games in order to move on to the next round.

Despite playing most of the first four minutes of the game in their defensive zone, the Stars opened the scoring on just their second shot of the game. Keyra Buziak sent a pass from beneath the goal line into the slot for Avery Bairos. Left all alone in front, Bairos one timed a shot far side past Brooke Archer, giving Saskatoon an early 1-0 lead. After scoring a hat trick in the Stars’ 7-3 win in game one, Bairos continued her hot streak, scoring her fourth goal of the series.

After an opening 20 minutes which saw seven penalties called, the Stars took their one goal lead into the second period, despite trailing 18-9 in shots.

Sage Babey scored less than two minutes into the second period, doubling the Stars’ lead to 2-0. Stepping in from the right wing, Babey took a shot that Bears goalie Brooke Archer got a piece of, but not enough. Bouncing off of her blocker, the puck landed straight into the net, giving Saskatoon a huge two goal lead just after their powerplay had expired.

Less than three minutes after going up by two, Saskatoon added another goal to go up 3-0. Halle Helperl pounced on a rebound after a shot from Peyton Gabruck was stopped. With the puck lying in the crease, Helperl was able to beat Archer to it, burying a shot that put the Stars up by three.

Similar to their third goal, it was another bad rebound in front that led to the Stars scoring their fourth goal. A long range shot from Kienna Higgs was stopped by Archer, but the netminder left another rebound lying in front, as she couldn’t redirect the puck into the corner. Kendall Guenther was able to jump all over the rebound, burying a shot glove side. Trailing 4-0 with 14:13 left in the middle frame, the Bears made a goaltending change, as Paige Fischer took over between the pipes.

Jasmine Kohl temporarily brought the Bears back to within three, scoring a goal with 2:23 left in the second period, but the Stars restored the four goal cushion 1:01 later. Higgs worked her way in on Fischer, and made a forehand to backhand deke, undressing the goaltender and slipping a shot into the open cage. The four goal period for Saskatoon let them jump out to a 5-1 lead heading into the third period.

Bairos added her second goal of the game with 14:38 to go in the third. Ripping a shot shortside past Archer, who came in to finish the game, Bairos’s fifth goal of the series made it a 6-1 contest.

Erin Kirkland scored with 2:34 left in the third period, capitalizing on a rebound in front of the net. The late tally made it a 6-2 Stars lead, and that’s how the game would finish.

Mikayla Christmann stopped 39 of 41 shots thrown her way for the Stars, as Saskatoon took a 2-0 series lead with a pair of lopsided wins.

These two teams are back in action on Wednesday night in Saskatoon, where the Bears will be looking to avoid the sweep.