Timely special teams play, and strong goaltending was exactly what the Prince Albert Northern Bears needed for a huge 3-1 win over the first place Swift Current Innovation Credit Union Wildcats in SFU18AAAHL action Saturday afternoon.
Northern Bears head coach Steve Young says the Bears knew they had a tough test coming into play on Saturday.
“I thought it was a good game. We knew Swift Current is a team that works hard in their zone. It was important for us to work hard for the whole game and not let little things worry us.”
Sasha Malenfant opened the scoring for the Northern Bears with an even strength goal from Jacquelyne Chief and Hannah Guttormson.
Swift Current would answer as Caitlyn Perlinger would get a clean break up the right wing and shoot one high blocker side past Northern Bears goaltender Brooke Archer to even the game at 1-1 after one period of play.
Swift Current outshot Prince Albert 14-10 in the first period.
The Wildcats had a golden opportunity to take the lead halfway through the second period as Tristyn Endicott was called for a four minute double minor for cross checking and unsportmanslike conduct. However, the Northern Bears successfully killed off the penalty.
The Northern Bears would get a chance to score on a 5 on 3 power play late in the second period as Ella Wingert and Olivia Kirwan were in the penalty box for Swift Current.
Julia Cey would redirect a point shot in front of the net past Wildcats netminder Karlee Lehner to give the Northern Bears a 2-1 lead.
Young says the Northern Bears handled the pressure well on specials teams.
“I think anytime you get in those situations, for the players it’s not always easy. I thought our girls did a good job with that power play goal and that four-minute kill was big”
Northern Bears goaltender Brooke Archer shut down the Wildcats after the goal she allowed in the first period, stopping 35 of 36 Swift Current shots in the victory.
Young says she gave the Northern Bears a great chance to win.
“I was very happy with her. We talked to our goaltenders about giving us a chance to win. No matter what the score is, if they’re giving us a chance that’s big. I thought Brooke played confident today. She saw the puck well and there was a reason she was named a star in the game today.”
Archer says the win over Swift Current is huge for the morale in the Northern Bears locker room and had some extra special meaning for her.
“We’re all thrilled. The energy in the room is unreal. We knew this was a tough team looking at the standings. After that win, it just uplifted our team, and it brought the energy that we need. And personally, I have a kind of a rivalry with the Swift Current team. So shutting down them down just feels awesome.”
With the win, the Northern Bears improve to 2-6-0-0 on the season.
Young says the team needs to be ready to compete every night.
“It’s important that they believe. There’s no question where we are. Every team we are playing is going to be ahead of us right now. We got to make sure we are ready to compete. Anything can happen in this game.”
The next game for the Prince Albert Northern Bears Is Thursday, Nov. 10 when they host the Saskatoon Stars at the Art Hauser Centre.