For the first time this season, the Prince Albert Northern Bears shutout their opponent, as they beat the Weyburn Gold Wings 4-0 Saturday night at the Art Hauser Centre.
Paige Fischer stopped all 20 shots that came her way, picking up her first shutout in the SFU18AAAHL.
“It felt fantastic getting my first career shutout,” Fischer said. “It’s been even better watching the team build off of every game, and get better in front of me. I give all the credit to my team. Without them we wouldn’t have won 4-0 tonight.”
It was a slow start for both teams in the first period, as offensive chances were hard to come by in the early stages. However, in the final five minutes, Prince Albert put three goals on the board.
Julia Cey took a pass from Sophia Zuck and fired a shot that beat Gold Wings starter Hailey Sibbald, giving the Bears a 1-0 lead with 4:24 left in the first.
Just 35 seconds later, Brooklin Fry gave the Bears a 2-0 lead, converting on a pass from Julia Cey. Cey finished with a goal and an assist in the contest.
In the dying seconds of the opening frame, Taylor Leitch chipped a puck ahead for Sophia Zuck, and she had a clean break down the left wing. Zuck sniped a shot past Sibbald from the left circle, putting the Bears up 3-0 with 10 seconds left in the first. Prince Albert took that three goal edge into the intermission.
“When it’s 3-0 against any team you’d still like to keep pouring it on,” head coach Jeff Willoughby said. “Weyburn never went away. They were always in the game so you have to give them credit. You don’t know where the scoring is going to come from on any given night, but when the players score that you expect to score, that helps.”
After a scoreless second period, the Bears added another insurance marker in the third. Calla Kampen ripped a shot from the low slot, giving Sibbald no time to react. Kampen picked up her third goal of the year, snapping a five game pointless drought, putting the Bears up by four.
With the win, Prince Albert snapped a four game losing streak, after not winning any games in the month of November.
“I felt that it shouldn’t have been the first shutout win of the season, but it was,” Willoughby added. “It was nice to ice the cake tonight. Going back to last week, giving up two points to Notre Dame is still kind of sour for our players, so getting another three points tomorrow would be huge to make up for that.”
Zuck finished with a goal and an assist on the night as well, and added to her team lead in points with 14. She said her team was happy with their overall performance on Saturday.
“It feels really good,” she said. “We’re seeing the smiles on faces when we start scoring, and everyone seemed like they were having fun out there tonight. It was nice to see the offence stepping up tonight. Everyone works really hard. Fischer was solid out there tonight, too. If she wasn’t out there, and it would’ve been a totally different game if we weren’t good tonight.”
The Bears limited the Gold Wings to 20 shots, and Zuck said their gameplan was to come out aggressive and force Weyburn to make mistakes in the offensive zone.
“You have to come out strong and hopefully jump on them soon enough to see a win,” she explained. “That was the plan overall and that’s what you have to do to win, and we did that well tonight.”
The Bears are back at it on Sunday afternoon again against the Gold Wings, with a chance to pull within two points of the Battlefords Sharks, who host Swift Current on Sunday. Puck drop between Prince Albert and Weyburn is 1:30pm.