Bears edge Sharks in overtime thriller

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Sophia Zuck celebrates with her Prince Albert Northern Bears teammates after scoring in the second period against the Battlefords Sharks in November.

The third time was the charm for Prince Albert Northern Bears captain Paris Oleksyn on Saturday afternoon at the Art Hauser Centre.

Moments after just missing the corner of the net on a last-minute rush in the third period and seeing her pass to teammate Haley Kicia be turned aside in spectacular fashion by Battlefords Sharks netminder Yelena Zaleschuk just seconds into overtime, Oleksyn would convert on a chance in front of the net at the 35-second mark of the extra frame to give her team a 2-1 victory.

“Our goal going into the overtime was to try and get the puck in their end right away and get as many pucks on net as we could,” Oleksyn said. “After we won the faceoff I tried to hit the puck on over to Haley for her to score on the one-timer, but their goalie made a really great save.

“We were able to get a second chance shortly afterwards though when Paige (Dawson) got the puck back. Haley almost thought she lost the puck when Paige passed it to her but she was able to get it back and put it right into the slot for me.”

Oleksyn’s overtime heroics might not have happened though if it wasn’t for the play of rookie netminder Brooke Archer.

The 15-year-old from Mossbank was excellent in her second career start as she made 21 saves, including three stops on breakaway attempts by Sharks forward Jordyn Blais in regulation.

“After that first game last weekend (which was a 7-2 loss on the road to the Saskatoon Stars), I thought to myself ‘well it can’t get much worse than that,'” Archer joked. “To be able to make those three big saves there and to help our team get the win was a really great feeling.

“I thought our team did a really good job of making sure that there wasn’t many scoring chances for our opponents today and I felt like I was able to keep the rebounds to a minimum today, along with doing a better job of knowing where everyone was out there.”

Sophia Zuck had the other goal for the Bears as she wired a shot into the top corner early in the second period.

Ava Cole had the lone marker for the Sharks in their season debut, which saw Zaleschuk turn aside 24 shots on goal.

The two sides are slated to square off again on Sunday in a 1:30 p.m. tilt at the Battleford Arena.

Following an off-week, the Bears are scheduled for two more contests with the Bears on Dec. 4 and 5 in their final games before Christmas.

Saturday’s Scores

  • Notre Dame 4 Swift Current 2 (Ryann Perrett – Two Goals and One Assist)
  • Regina 6 Weyburn 1 (Megan Hayhurst – Two Goals)

Sunday’s Schedule

  • Regina vs. Weyburn – 1 p.m.
  • Swift Current vs. Notre Dame – 1:30 p.m.
  • Prince Albert vs. Battlefords – 1:30 p.m.