Northern Bears all smiles after breaking slump with 6-2 win over Stars

Calla Kampen received first star honors, scoring a goal in the Northern Bears' 6-2 win over the Saskatoon Stars on Thursday night at the Art Hauser Centre. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

It was a night of two’s for the Prince Albert Northern Bears on Thursday night at the Art Hauser Centre. They scored two goals in each period, two players scored their second goals of the season, and two players picked up two points in a 6-2 win over the Saskatoon Stars.

For head coach Jeff Willoughby, he liked a lot of what he saw from his team, as the Bears snapped a three game losing streak.

“We kept doing the things that we’ve been trying to do all year,” Willoughby said. “All of a sudden everything came together tonight. Saskatoon is a team that’s right ahead of us in the standings, so the three point win tonight is huge.”

Prince Albert struck just 1:04 into the contest with Jazlyn Petreman’s second goal of the season. A shot from the blue line beat all the traffic in front of the net, and found its way past goalie Mikayla Christmann. After scoring just three goals in their last three games, the Bears got off to a good start early, going up 1-0.

Julia Cey added to that lead with a goal of her own. With 3:10 on the clock, Kassie Ferster sent a pass across to her linemate, and Cey made no mistake, blasting a shot that Christmann had no chance to stop. A strong first period let Prince Albert head into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.

With 9:24 to go in the second, Sophia Zuck jumped in on the fun. Working down the right wing, Zuck fired a loud shot that went bardown for her seventh goal of the year. Her top corner snipe gave her goals in back to back games, after scoring the only goal in a 2-1 loss to the Wildcats last Friday.

“We believed in ourselves tonight,” Zuck said. “We’re a hard working team and everything came together. Pucks were finding our sticks and everyone was ready to go.”

Calla Kampen broke a brief four game goal-less drought in the second period with 4:38 to go. A loose puck in the slot was picked up by the winger, and she was able to bang it home for her fourth goal of the season, and first since Dec. 4th.

Leading in shots 23-18 after 40 minutes, the Bears took a comfortable 4-0 lead into the third period.

Just 1:32 into the final frame, Prince Albert went up by a five spot. Jasmine Kohl dug a loose puck out of the corner and took a tough angle shot from just above the goal line. Somehow it found its way under Christmann and in, and the Bears went up 5-0 on Kohl’s second goal of the season.

The Stars didn’t go out without a fight however, scoring a goal 5:48 into the third. Leading a two on one break, Avery Bairos came down the right wing with two options, pass or shoot. Electing to choose the latter, Bairos gripped it and ripped it, scoring far side on Brooke Archer, making it a 5-1 game.

The Bears had enough of the comeback bid already, scoring right back just 1:04 later. Zuck had a breakaway with a chance to restore the five goal advantage. She was stopped by Christmann, but Erin Kirkland was right on the doorstep to clean up the garbage in front. That was Kirkland’s seventh goal of the season and second point of the night. With the assist on the play, Zuck grabbed her second point of the night as well, as Prince Albert went up 6-1.

“I really rely on Erin for getting pucks to me on the wing,” Zuck added. “She did a great job tonight, and we kept our legs moving. It’s awesome to see smiles on everyone’s faces again. I think the win got everyone hyped up and we have a new sense of belief now.”

Bairos added her second of the night for Saskatoon on the powerplay with 6:51 left in the third, but that’s as close as the Stars would get, as the Bears picked up the 6-2 victory.

With the win, the Bears improve to 6-11-1-2 on the season, climbing to just eight points back of the Stars for fourth place in the league. With two games in Weyburn against the last place Gold Wings, Prince Albert can be nipping at the heels of Saskatoon by the end of the weekend.

“We just have to do the same thing we did tonight,” Willoughby said. “I think as long as we stay close to our good habits, the better position it puts ourselves in to get wins.”