The Prince Albert Northern Bears have a brief two game homestand this weekend, as they welcome the Regina Rebels to the Art Hauser Centre for a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
It will be the toughest test of the season so far for Prince Albert, as they take on a Rebels team who sits first in the league with a 15-3-1-2 record. This will be the fourth and fifth time the two teams meet this season.
The Bears are most recently coming off of a weekend split in Weyburn against the Gold Wings. A 4-1 win and a 4-3 overtime loss gave Prince Albert four of a possible six points in those two games.
It may not have been the result they were looking for on Sunday against the league worst Gold Wings, but it allowed the Bears to climb closer to the Saskatoon Stars, who sit seven points ahead of Prince Albert in fourth place. It also gave them some breathing room on the Battlefords Sharks, who now sit eight points behind the Bears for fifth.
The Rebels were dominant in their first three games in January, but have since cooled off over their last two. They took on the Gold Wings in Weyburn for a pair of games, their first two back from the holiday break, and came away with two astounding wins. First was an 8-0 win, followed by an 11-2 victory the next day.
Regina has been ruthless against Weyburn this season, as they also laid a 10-0 beatdown on the Gold Wings back on Oct. 27th, making all three of those wins the largest margin of victory by any team this season.
The Rebels have also had the Bears’ number in all three meetings so far, going 3-0. They met in their first two games of the regular season on Oct. 9th and 10th in Regina, with the Rebels coming out on top with 6-2 and 4-1 victories.
Their lone meeting since then was on Nov. 20th, also in Regina, were the Rebels shut the Bears out by a 5-0 score.
January holds the most amount of games in a month that the Bears have played since the opening month of the season. They’ll play eight games in January, the same amount they played in October.
This month hasn’t been the best for Prince Albert, but it certainly hasn’t been the worst. They started things off with three heartbreaking losses to the Swift Current Wildcats, all by 2-1 scores, one of which was decided in a shootout. Coming so close to winning all three of those contests, the Bears shook it off in a big way, winning 6-1 over the Saskatoon Stars at the Art Hauser Centre. Take the two games against the Gold Wings last weekend, and Prince Albert has points in four out of six games this month, which is a good sign that this team is heading in the right direction down the stretch.
It will be a challenging weekend for the Bears against the best team in the league, and with the postponement of the Raider game on Saturday night, the games on Saturday and Sunday afternoon will be the games to watch at the AHC.
Puck drop for both games is 1:30pm.