Provincial champions

The Prince Albert Northern Bears celebrate after defeating the Saskatoon Stars 4-2 in Saskatoon on Tuesday night, sweeping the championship series to win the SFMAAAHL title. (Photo courtesy Connie Fontaine)

P.A. Northern Bears sweep Saskatoon Stars to take 2016-17 SFMAAAHL title

The Prince Albert Northern Bears are the 2016-17 Saskatchewan Female Midget ‘AAA’ Hockey League Champions.

The Bears defeated the Saskatoon Stars 4-2 at the Agriplace Arena on Tuesday night, winning the best-of-five finals in three-straight games. They swept the quarterfinals and semis as well, taking the title in the minimum nine games.

“I can’t even put it into words actually how I feel, honestly. I’m just so very proud of them and they stayed so consistent throughout all the playoffs, not just the last round, and they just wanted to do the job right and they did it,” Bears coach Jeff Willoughby said.

“We built a team with a lot of speed and we tried to incorporate that in our game plan every night and that’s the way we’ve been playing since October and we just sort of tried to get our game a little bit better every time we stepped on the ice.”

Brooke Hausermann scored early in the first period to put the Stars up 1-0. P.A.’s playoff soring leader Abby Soyko tied the game two and a half minutes into the second, and shortly thereafter Brooklyn Anderson gave the Bears a 2-1 lead. Saskatoon’s Jordyn Gerlitz answered back later in the frame and the game was tied heading into Period 3.

Camryn Amundson got the go-ahead goal on the rush about half-way through the third. The Stars pressed for the tying goal but couldn’t beat Bears goalie Ryan Fontaine. Saskatoon pulled the goalie for the extra attacker in the dying minutes, but that’s when P.A. sealed the victory, with Jadyn Kushniruk firing the puck in the open net. It was a hands-off game for the officials, who only called one penalty in the match.

“After the first we were down 1-0, so you always think, ‘Are the girls going to tighten up here and forget to play the way they can?’ but no they didn’t. They kept plugging away and they tied it up and went ahead and they just showed lots of perseverance and got rewarded,” Willoughby said.

“The last eight minutes after we scored the third goal the pressure was off a little bit but until the empty net goal went in it was still pretty tense on the bench. But the girls stayed on task and got the job done.”

Willoughby said the Bears don’t have a parade planned quite yet because there is still hockey to be played.

The SFMAAAHL champs now advance to the West Regional Final, a best-of-three matchup against the Westman Wildcats, the top team from the Manitoba ‘AAA’ Female Midget Hockey League. The series will take place in P.A. from March. 31 to April 1. The winner qualifies for the national Esso Cup, which will be held in Morden, Man. at the end of April.


Game Summary

Prince Albert 4, Saskatoon 2.

Northern Bears win best-of-five series 3-0

First Period

  1. Saskatoon, Hausermann 3 (Parker) 3:21

Second Period

  1. Prince Albert, Ab. Soyko 4 (unassisted) 2:27
  2. Prince Albert, Anderson 3 (Ab. Syoko, Koroll) 4:34
  3. Saskatoon, Gerlitz 3 (Sperling, Dietz) 16:36

Third Period

  1. Prince Albert, Amundson 5 (Desmarais, Hobson) 11:19
  2. Prince Albert, Kushniruk 2 (unassisted) 19:36 (en)

Goalies: Prince Albert — Ryan Fontaine, 24 saves (W, 5-0-0); Saskatoon — Jordan Ivanco, 22 saves (L, 4-2-0).