The AAA Sharks found themselves on both sides of two one-goal games over the weekend, winning 2-1 in overtime on Friday evening, and then falling 1-0 on Saturday, both to the Notre Dame Hounds.
“Very different games,” head coach Gary Berggren said on Monday morning. “In our first game, we came out and we didn’t play very well. And then we ended up scoring in overtime and kind of redeemed ourselves by winning the game, but we probably won a game that we shouldn’t have. In the second game, we completely outplayed them and out-chanced them badly and ended up losing.
“It was an interesting weekend to say the least.”
Sharks captain Jordan Kulbida played the role of overtime hero on Friday night, scoring her 14th goal of the season. Those 14 goals place her in a tie for the sixth most league-wide.
The goal came shorthanded, as the Sharks were in the midst of killing off a tripping penalty in overtime.
“We were down 4-on-3 in the overtime and she just took the puck, found some room and just went outside, all the way around and scored on the goalie so it was pretty exciting,” Berggren said. “It was nice to win that one.”
Hounds goaltender Kaitlyn Ross was the other player to stand out, playing in both games and stopping 59 of 61 shots she faced.
Berggren said to give her credit, especially for her 27-save shutout on Saturday.
“She played really well and she’s a tough goalie to beat on a straight shot,” Berggren said. “So lots of tipping and lots of traffic in front is what we were trying to do.
“We just couldn’t bury it. [With] the amount of chances that we were having, I didn’t want to change too much because everything was going really well and usually when you have those kinds of games it’s just a matter of time before you end up scoring. But we ran out of time I guess.”
Berggren said the difference between the strong Saturday effort and poor Friday game was a matter of having jump.
The Sharks may not have won on Saturday, but they certainly outworked the Hounds for most of the game. It was the opposite on Friday evening, even if the result was a win.
“Our forwards were not very good on the Friday and we spent a lot of time in our own zone and in the neutral zone,” Berggen said. “[On Saturday] it was battling, it was beating them to pucks. We were just outworking them. We had the puck most of the time. We spent a lot of time in the offensive zone.”
Despite the split, Battlefords now has five regulation wins and one overtime win, which is already twice as many total wins as they had all of last season.
Their 6-14-1 record may not jump off the standings page, but it’s all about progress.
“Even this year’s team from the beginning of the year until now, the progress that we’ve made is huge,” Berggren said. “It’s really good to see that the girls are getting better and better.”
Next on the docket is a Wednesday date with the Prince Albert Northern Bears, who split their weekend games with Swift Current.
The last time the Sharks played P.A. was in early December, when they fell 6-1 and 7-2. They were shorthanded 21 times in the two contests.
“We need to be disciplined and we need to keep our sticks down,” Berggren said. “We still need to be physical but we need to play a smarter game. The last two weekends that we’ve played, in Regina and [against] Notre Dame, we’ve done that. We’ve taken a lot less penalties and it has really helped.”
In the last four games, the Sharks have only been shorthanded 15 times.
Their game against the Northern Bears is on the road, with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.
Nathan Kanter is battlefordsNOW’s sports reporter and voice of the Battlefords North Stars. He can be reached at Nathan.firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him @NathanKanter11
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