Five different Bears score in win over Gold Wings

Prince Albert forward Erin Kirkland celebrates after putting the Northern Bears up 1-0, on their way to a 5-1 win against Weyburn Saturday afternoon at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Prince Albert Northern Bears returned home on Saturday, looking to rebound from an 8-4 loss in Swift Current on Sunday, and they did so in a big way, taking down the Weyburn Gold Wings 5-1 at the Art Hauser Centre.

“I thought we had a pretty good jump all night,” Bears head coach Jeff Willoughby said after the game. “Weyburn definitely didn’t hand anything to us, and that’s the way you have to play if you’re looking for a win to build your game.”

The win improves the Bears’ record to 3-5 on the season, while Weyburn is left still looking for their first win of the season, dropping to 0-5.

The Bears dominated the first period, outshooting Weyburn 14-3 in the opening frame. They would also find the first goal of the game, as Erin Kirkland potted her second goal of the year on a 4 minute powerplay, after Hailey Verhelst went to the penalty box for head contact. That was the only goal of the first period, and it’s been a rare occurrence for Prince Albert this season, but they headed to the dressing room with a lead after the opening frame.

“I think special teams is always a focus,” Willoughby said. “Whatever the powerplay can do, it just takes a bit of relief off of what you have to do 5 on 5, so if you can get a couple of powerplay goals in a game it helps.”

In the second frame, the Gold Wings responded in quick fashion, scoring just 50 seconds into the period. Paisley Arnsten was somehow able to jam a puck past Bears goalie Paige Fischer, through the legs and into the back of the net, tying the game at 1-1.

However, the Bears pulled in front again on the powerplay. A loose puck in front of the Weyburn goal was knocked into the net by Julia Cey, putting the Bears on top 2-1. The Bears would continue to dominate for the remainder of the second period, and they would head to the dressing room with the lead after the second, also commanding the shots on goal department 31-12.

The third period was when the Bears ran away with the game, scoring three times. 2:17 into the final frame, Sasha Malenfant gave the Bears a bit of a cushion, scoring her third goal of the year, making it a 3-1 lead.

With just over three minutes left in the game, Bears defenceman Brooklin Fry let a rocket go from the point, beating both the traffic in front of the net, and the glove of Wings goalie Lexi Peace, giving Prince Albert a 4-1 advantage. Since returning to the lineup after missing games earlier in the year due to injury, Fry has put up three points in three games since her return, including her goal on Saturday.

“I think we’re going in the right direction,” Fry said after the game. “We’re just going to keep working step by step each practice, but I think we’re getting there.”

Fry also described her play since coming back to the lineup.

“I’m just trying to find open ice and move the puck myself when I can, and trying to take every opportunity on offence that I can.”

The Bears weren’t done there, as Jasmine Kohl made a power move toward the Wings net, stopped up, and flipped a shot over the glove of Pearce, scoring a shorthanded tally, putting the Bears up 5-1.

5-1 would be the final score, and in dominant fashion, the Northern Bears picked up win number three on the season. They also led shots on goal by a convincing 45-18 margin.

“We’ve been putting in hard work,” Fry added. “At the start we didn’t play as good, but we kept putting in effort, and I think that’s definitely showing in our games now.”

Prince Albert gets a little bit of a break before their next game on November 13. They’ll visit the Notre Dame Hounds for a pair of road games on the 13th and 14th.

“I think our 5 on 5 play now becomes our focus,” Willoughby said in preparation for their next game. “We liked our special teams today, but we want to make better connections with our linemates, and just overall consistency.”

The next home game for the Bears is on November 27th, as they’ll welcome the Hounds.