One win away

Prince Albert Northern Bears forward Abby Soyko slices through the Saskatoon Stars defence during P.A.’s 2-1 win at the Art Hauser Centre on Sunday night. Soyko scored the game’s first goal. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

Northern Bears beat Saskatoon Stars 2-1; lead best-of-five finals 2-0

The Prince Albert Northern Bears are one win away from the Saskatchewan Female Midget ‘AAA’ Hockey League title after beating the defending champion Saskatoon Stars 2-1 in Game 2 at the Art Hauser Centre on Sunday night.

“Todays game, for me, (was) probably one of the fastest I’ve ever seen in this league,” Bears coach Jeff Willoughby said after the match.

“They came out flying in the first period and we were having trouble containing their speed in the first and we had to make a couple adjustments, just making sure we were on the right side of the puck a little bit sooner. It was an extremely fast game and the girls kept their composure and we’re really happy.”

Abby Soyko gave the Bears the lead on the power play in the first period, firing the puck into a crowd in front of Saskatoon netminder Arden Kliewer. Two minutes later Mackenna Parker responded for the Stars, tying the game 1-1.

The Bears’ go-ahead goal came in the second period while Brooklyn Anderson was in the box on a head contact penalty. Camryn Anderson carried the puck into the Saskatoon end and blasted the puck past Kliewer for the 2-1 lead. Willoughby said strong special teams are important against a team as offensively potent as the Stars.

“They play so structured in their own end … scoring five-on-five is not always at a premium, so every time you get a power play goal it’s helpful. Even shorthanded, maybe we caught them off guard a little bit,” he said.

“Five-on-five goals we need to score. We didn’t get one tonight and maybe, perhaps if we got a couple, it wouldn’t be so tight at the end.”

The Stars had many chances to tie the game but P.A. goalie Brooklyn Elek was perfect through the final two periods of play. She was also assisted by the posts and the crossbar, which Saskatoon’s shooters struck on at least three occasions.

“How many times throughout the regular season you can outshoot a team and you find yourself in a tie game and you need that bounce?” Willoughby said.

“Maybe we didn’t get it during the season and maybe it’s happening right now for us.”

Game 3 is back at the Agriplace Arena in Saskatoon on Tuesday night starting at 7 p.m. The Bears are undefeated in Saskatoon this year. Willoughby credits his team’s consistent play and “sticking to the plan.”

“We’re actually more at home playing in Saskatoon… It’s a little smaller rink, which maybe suits us because they’re an extremely fast team,” he said.

“It’s going to be the same game plan: just don’t think about the end too soon. Bring your work boots and it’ll happen.”


Game Summary:

Prince Albert 2, Saskatoon 1

Northern Bears lead best-of-five series 2-0

First Period

  1. Prince Albert, Ab. Soyko 3 (Ashe) 7:51 (pp)
  2. Saskatoon, Parker 6 (Leschyshyn, Sperling) 9:24

Second Period

  1. Prince Albert, Amundson 4 (unassisted) 7:15 (sh)

Third Period

No scoring

Goalies: Prince Albert –­ Brooklyn Elek, 18 saves (W, 4-0-0); Saskatoon – Arden Kliewer, 21 saves (L, 2-1-0).

Stars of the Game: 1. Camryn Amundson; 2. Chace Sperling; 3. Abby Soyko.