Bears fall in Saskatoon

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. The Prince Albert Northern Bears celebrate a third period during SFU18AAAHL action at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday.

The Prince Albert Northern Bears couldn’t maintain a strong start falling 6-1 to the Saskatoon Stars at Merlis Belsher Place on Thursday night.

Bears head coach Steve Young says Prince Albert started on the right foot, but momentum shifted after a call against the team.

“I thought we started really good. We got a power play goal early right away. They were up 2-1, and we got a goal that was disallowed. That was unfortunate, I don’t think it was the greatest call. If that puck goes in, it’s a 2-2 game and that changes a bit of the game plan of Saskatoon. They scored right away and they did what they did. They are very talented.”

Prince Albert would open the scoring less than six minutes in on the power play as Mikiya Anderson would strike for her fourth goal of the season to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead. Kinley Brassard picked up a helper on the play.

Saskatoon would knot up the score with a power play of their own with 3:41 to go in the opening frame. Shayla Koroll picked up her first career U18 AAA goal with Ireland Stein and Kolbee Ashe assisting on the play.

Shots favored the Stars 15-5 after twenty minutes of play.

Avery Bairos would give the Stars their first lead of the hockey game with her eighth goal of the campaign with 7:09 to go in the second period. Grace Millar and Halle Duchene assisted on the play.

A short handed goal from Peyton Gabruck would double the Saskatoon lead to 3-1 with 1:39 to go in the second period. Haley Braun and Madison Buziak provided the assists on the play.

Halle Duchene would strike just fifty seconds into the third period with her 11th goal of the season to extend the . Avery Bairos and Kelsey Ledoux assisted on the play.

Bairos would pick up her second goal of the game at the 16:08 mark to extend the Saskatoon lead to four. Grace Millar provided the lone helper.

Haley Braun would add another goal for the Stars with 6:23 left to go.

Overall, Prince Albert held the Stars to a one for seven clip on the power play on Thursday night.

Young says he saw plenty of positives out of the penalty kill unit.

“It starts with goaltending, obviously. I thought Annika (Neufeldt) had a strong game. Just the structure of the penalty kill on our zone was good last night as well. I believe there was even a five on three in that mix.

Annika Neufeldt stopped 42 of 48 Saskatoon shots she faced in net for the Bears. Mikayla Christensen made 17 saves for the Stars.

Heading into the weekend, the Bears will play a major role in Hockey Day in Saskatchewan in Kinistino on Saturday playing a home game in the town as part of the festivities.

I think they’re excited about it. I think it’ll really hit home or be a factor once they go to Kinistino tomorrow and get on the ice there and everything. Anything we can do to help support Sask hockey, we’re always willing to do.”

The Bears return to action on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Regina Rebels at the Kinistino Sports Complex. Puck drops at 1 p.m.