Dramatic finish earns Bears a weekend split with the Hounds

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Jasper Desmarais celebrates with her Prince Albert Northern Bears teammate Miranda Heidt after the two teamed up on an overtime winning goal against the Notre Dame Hounds last month.

The Prince Albert Northern Bears couldn’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu at the Kinsmen Arena Sunday.

Having dropped the first half of their weekend series to the Notre Dame Hounds by a score of 3-2 Saturday, the Bears were once again trailing by an identical score as the clock wound down.

A late power-play proved to be beneficial, as Brooklyn Anderson capitalized on a scramble in front of Hounds goalkeeper Rayanne McKenzie to tie the game with 23 seconds to go.

It only took a minute and 37 seconds of play in overtime for the Bears to complete the comeback as Miranda Heidt scored on a nearly identical play to give her team a dramatic 4-3 win.

“After we won the draw, Jasper (Desmarais) made a beautiful pass over to me,” Heidt said. “I thought she was going to shoot it, so I knew that I had better score after she made that pass.

“Our team really came together at the end of this game compared to yesterday and I think that showed in the final result.”

This marked the second straight weekend that the two sides had gone head-to-head.

The Hounds had won a 2-1 overtime affair at the Duncan McNeill Arena in Wilcox on Friday, Jan. 4, but the Bears would rebound the following afternoon with a 5-1 triumph.

“I think after these four games and the one that we had at the (Mandi Schwartz) tournament down there, the goal difference between us is pretty much equal,” Bears head coach Jeff Willoughby said. “We’ve had some pretty good battles out there with them and it’s incredible to see how close both teams are after all those games.”

“It always feels like it’s a back and forth battle every time we play them,” Heidt added. “They always put up a fight and it’s a great feeling to be able to pull out a win like we did today.”

Tori MacDonald and Kate Ball also scored for the Bears Sunday, who improved their record to 12-8-2 on the season and are now four points ahead of the Swift Current Wildcats for third place in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League standings.

Kailee Peppler led the way on offence with a pair of assists, while Lexi Beuker made 32 saves.

The Hounds, who are seventh in the standings with a 6-9-3 mark and are three points back of the Melville Prairie Fire, got a goal and an assist from Raea Gilroy.

Ally Kosteniuk and Kaitlyn Gilroy also scored in the loss, which saw McKenzie turn aside 18 shots.

Lyndsey Janes turned an impressive performance on Saturday for the Hounds as she scored twice and helped to setup Kaitlyn Gilroy’s marker.

Kailey Ledoux was the pacesetter for the Bears as she found the back of the net and also had an assist on a goal by Heidt.

Kaitlyn Ross made 27 saves to earn the victory, while Scout Anderson turned aside 22 shots for the hosts.

The Bears are now gearing up for a trip to Shellbrook on Saturday as they’ll take on the Prairie Fire at 3 p.m. as part of the community’s annual Hockey Day in Shellbrook.

“We’re looking forward to being a part of the event,” Willoughby said.

“It’s always great when we can bring the league out to a location where they don’t have a team, especially as we usually have some pretty good crowds come out to watch the girls.”

The two sides will then square off at the Kinsmen Arena at 11 a.m. Sunday.