Prince Albert Northern Bears head coach Steve Young wanted his club to play with more urgency heading into Game 2 of their best-of-three series against the Notre Dame Hounds, and he got his wish.
Facing elimination on home ice, the Bears got goals from Jasmine Kohl, Julia Cey, and Sasha Malenfant, as they downed the Hounds 3-0 at the Art Hauser Centre.
“It was a Game 7 mentality, as we call it,” Young said afterwards. “It was a desperate game we had to play. I think early in the game we maybe played a bit tentative because we were more nervous, but as the game went on I thought we did some of the things we needed to do to have success.”
“We just kept the pressure on them,” added Bears goalie Brooke Archer, who stopped all 23 shots she faced to earn the shutout. “We knew going in that it could be anyone’s game. We’ve played them five times this year and it was pretty even. We just kept the pressure on and we didn’t give up at all.”
It was a particularly sweet turnaround for the Bears, who were shutout 4-0 in Game 1 Friday night. The club had a disastrous second period, giving up four goals while getting outshot 17-3.
On Sunday, it was the Bears who did all the second period damage, scoring two goals and outshooting the visitors 11-7. Young said they made it their goal to cause as much chaos in front of the Hound net as possible.
“Notre Dame is a very good defensive hockey club,” he said. “It’s important to get pucks to the net and try to create as much as you can. They don’t give you much…, so we felt we had to work harder that way tonight.”
The Hounds had their chances, particularly in the first period. Phoebe Roberts hit the post during a short-handed rushed, then Spring Mosset missed the net on a breakaway. Notre Dame also had six powerplay chances to Prince Albert’s three, but couldn’t score and even gave up a shorthanded goal to Cey late in the second period.
Archer and her defence slammed the door shut during a few frantic scrambles in front of the Prince Albert net during the third period to secure the win.
“I thought she was good,” Young said when asked about Archer’s play. “I thought she was challenging. She made the big saves. She made herself big during the scrambles and played a really good game for us tonight.”
Archer is one of a handful of Bears who will graduate after this season. She said the chance of extending her season by at least one more game was all the motivation she needed.
“I just went in there knowing it might be my last game and just left it all out on the ice,” she said.
The two teams played a scoreless first period on Sunday before Jasmine Kohl broke the tie nearly seven minutes into the second. Kohl deposited a rebound into an empty net just moments after Julia Cey hit the post on a breakaway.
Cey would get her goal with just 33 seconds to play in the second. She found herself all alone in front of the Hounds net, and slid a backhand between goaltender Schay Camphaug’s legs to make it 2-0.
Sasha Malenfant put any hopes of a Hounds comeback to rest early in the third when she poked a loose puck over the goal line following a Tristyn Endicott point shot.
The win means the two squads will play a winner-takes-all Game 3 back in Notre Dame on Monday. Both Young and Archer said the Bears need to play with the same kind of urgency they showed at the Art Hauser Centre.
“It’s a do-or-die game. We’ve got to approach it that way,” Young said. “They got to get their rest and everything tonight, and be focused and ready to go. It will be a different game for sure. Notre Dame plays a good game at home, and we have to be ready.”
“I think we’ve just got to play like we did here and not let up on them again,” Archer added. “Just keep the pressure on them again, just ignore everyone else who is there, and just play our own game in their rink.”
Puck drop is 7:30 p.m. at Duncan McNeill Arena.
News and Notes
The Bears-Hounds series is the only one of the SFU18AAAHL’s three first round match-ups headed to Game 3. The third place Swift Current Wildcats defeated the Weyburn Gold Wings 6-2 and 4-3 to sweep that series, while the second place Saskatoon Stars downed Battlefords 6-1 and 2-1.
The winner of Monday’s game in Notre Dame will face the first place Regina Rebels, who had a first round bye.