After starting their 2020-21 Saskatchewan Female Under-18 AAA Hockey League season on a winning note on Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre, the Prince Albert Northern Bears were hoping to keep that momentum up on Sunday in Saskatoon.
Instead, the Saskatoon Stars turned the tables on their opponents as they rebounded from a 3-1 loss to the Bears a day earlier with a 7-2 victory at the SaskTel Centre.
“The Stars jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and we also missed a penalty shot in the first period,” Bears head coach Jeff Willoughby said afterwards. “We did come back to make it 2-1 in the second, but we found ourselves in penalty trouble again.
“We had just started to swing momentum back into our favour and then we kind of shot ourselves in the foot there with those penalties, which allowed them to score two quick goals. It kind of deflated us from there and we weren’t able to recover.”
Sydney Mercier led the way for the 1-1 Stars with two goals and two assists each, while Makena Kushniruk had a goal and two helpers.
Keyra Buziak and Emma Gaudet had a goal and an assist each for the hosts, who also got offensive contributions from Halle Helperl and Kayleen Baun.
Prince Albert product Kaitlyn Cadrain turned aside 29 shots in the triumph, including a save on Paris Oleksyn’s penalty shot attempt in the opening frame.
Taylor Leitch recorded two assists for the Bears as she helped to set up markers by Haley Kicia and Sophia Zuck.
Rookie netminder Brooke Archer made 27 saves in her first career start at the Under-18 AAA level.
The 1-1 Bears are now preparing for a weekend series with the Battlefords Sharks, who have yet to start their regular season slate.
“We just have to make sure that we can match their intensity, which is something you have to do against every team in this league,” Willoughby said. “Those first five minutes are going to be important, as you’ll end up spinning your tires for the rest of the afternoon if you don’t have a good start.”
The two sides will square off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre, with a rematch slated for 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Battleford Arena.