Bears fall to Saskatoon on alumni night

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 gave the Saskatoon Stars everything they could handle but couldn’t skate to a victory falling 2-1 in overtime on Saturday night at the Art Hauser Centre.

Northern Bears head coach Steve Young says the game was a strong performance for the team.

“I thought it was a good hockey game. I thought that the girls worked really hard this weekend in preparation to play Saskatoon. We know Saskatoon has a lot of talent and skill with them and I thought we were up to the challenge tonight.”

The two sides would play a close defensive game through two periods with both goaltenders making several key saves on the opposition.

The first goal would come at the 11:52 mark of the third period as Kolbee Ashe would strike for her seventh goal of the season. Brielle Minish and Halle Duchene provided helpers on the play.

Saturday served as the teddy bear toss game for the Northern Bears with all the teddy bears being donated to the Victoria Hospital Children’s Ward.

Nathan Reiter/ Daily Herald. Several Prince Albert Northern Bear alumni were in attendance for Saturday’s game.

Elizabeth Udell started the barrage of stuffed animals flying to the ice with her third goal of the season coming at the 7:28 mark of the third period on the power play. Julia Cey and Tristyn Endicott assisted on the play.

Young says it was good for the team to break through on the scoreboard.

“You never know if that puck is ever going to ever go in. It was good play, Lizz shot the puck and it found its way. Both teams had a lot of chances tonight. It was a good, entertaining game.”

The two sides would play a scoreless four on four overtime period, sending the game to a 3-on-3 overtime.

At the 2:39 mark of the second overtime, Kelsey Ledoux would score the game winning goal lifting the Stars to the victory.

Annika Neufeldt made 40 saves in the loss for Prince Albert.

Young says Neufeldt played a strong game and has improved immensely throughout the season.

“I think Annika’s really come along this year. I think Kelly Guard has done a good job with both our goaltenders.  I think there’s times earlier in the season where they would like some pucks back, but they’re working through that. It’s not an easy position. And tonight, she was really good.”

Neufeldt credits her performance to the work she put in during practice.

“It really builds it, like it’s a great game to build my confidence, but it really came down to how much practice I was doing before and all my goalie sessions that I was putting in the effort for.”

Ava Drabyk made 31 saves to earn the victory for Saskatoon.

In Sunday’s game in Warman, the Stars defeated the Bears 4-1. Tristyn Endicott scored the lone goal for Prince Albert.

The Bears return to action on Jan. 6, 2024 when they take on the Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox.